The hardest part of losing weight isn’t taking off the pounds, it’s keeping them off. When asked, those most likely to keep unwanted pounds and inches at bay mention a number of factors associated with their long-term success:
They don’t skip breakfast. People in the habit of skipping breakfast often have a slower metabolism than individuals who consume this important meal. While asleep, you are fasting, the longest period of time your body goes without nutrients during any 24-hour period. If forced to go for too long without food, then the body begins to break down tissue for energy, converting protein, including muscle, to the sugar it needs for fuel. Exercising first thing in the morning before eating is especially hard on the body, further depriving it of energy when it needs it the most.
They don’t fall for fad diets or quick-fix claims. Fad diets are those that teach certain foods are “bad” and responsible for weight gain, rather than teaching all foods can be enjoyed with appropriate portion control, attention to nutrition and calorie intake. The bigger picture shows Americans are simply eating too much food (from all sources), and we are not physically active enough to burn off those extra calories. As a result of fad dieting claims, grocery store shelves are lined with a host of “low-carb” and “low-fat” candies, shakes, bars, cookies, ice cream, cakes, chips and other snacks. The result is we are not eating less, we are eating more, consuming more calories than ever in the form of processed foods, and sabotaging our health in the process, all in the name of losing weight.
Tip: Just because a product is labeled as low fat, low carb or “light” does not mean it is low calorie. Low-calorie foods are labeled as such. Your best bet is to check for serving size and calories per serving before deciding whether it fits into your weight loss plan.
They understand calories in and calories out. To lose weight and keep it off, calculate the number of calories you should be eating and compare this with your current caloric intake. The number of calories needed is based on how much weight you wish to lose, and various factors, including current exercise habits and body composition (ratio of muscle to fat). Calories are burned with activity, with digestion, and when you are at rest. You can reduce calories by eating less, exercising more or a combination of both. If you are not currently exercising, then opt for burning calories with regular resistance (weight training) exercise sessions along with moderate amounts of cardiovascular exercise. If you already participate in regular exercise sessions, then either up the intensity or reduce calories through modifying eating habits if weight isn’t coming off.
They establish a routine, engaging in some form of regular physical activity, either daily or nearly every day for at least 30 minutes. Generally speaking, it takes approximately three weeks for regular exercise to become a habit, so don’t give up too quickly if things aren’t going as well as planned.
They keep a daily food and exercise journal. Those who chart their progress are more likely to succeed long term. Keeping a journal helps keep you on track because it gives you structure, and allows you to look at your strengths and weaknesses and adjust goals when necessary.
They set smaller realistic goals and set new ones as challenges are met. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, vow to lose five pounds instead of 20. As you reach each new milestone, you will find yourself more motivated, with much less stress and anxiety about future achievements.
They remain proactive and assertive. This means not feeling guilty for taking time to exercise, not allowing other things get in the way of goals, making no excuses. Instead, stay focused on the positive, understand that occasionally there may be setbacks, but vow not to dwell on them. Remember that thinness is not a measure of good health, so focus on health rather than the scale.
Source: Marjie Gilliam, Middletown Journal