If you are a fan of the weight loss shows on television, then you know that the participants go through a thorough physical to determine their health and body mass index, among other things. The producers of these shows want to make sure that the participants start their weight loss program safely. The participants watch their calorie intake and have individual calorie burn goals. They also learn how to prepare healthy food and focus on portion sizes. You can use some of these strategies in your own weight loss program at home.
Where Do You Start if You Want to Lose Weight Safely?
Whether you have 20 pounds or 100 pounds to lose, if you follow these weight loss strategies, your weight will come off and will stay off. Most of us have been on yo-yo diets before. If you are not familiar with the term, it is when you attempt to lose weight and it goes up and down like a yo-yo. You lose five pounds, gain two, lose three, etc.
When starting your weight loss program, you can be enticed by those products guaranteeing fast weight loss with no exercise. There are also fad diets out there that an acquaintance swears their friend lost 50 pounds on! However, the truth is that these wonder diets and the popular diet pills can be very dangerous.
One of the things fad diets have in common, is they require the participant to fast. They can on occasion offer fast weight loss, however fasting, diet supplements and diet pills can affect some of your body’s organs adversely. You are better off to ignore the wonder diets that offer you a miracle and stick to safe strategies that can not only take the weight off but also help you maintain your weight loss program.
Strategies to Follow
One of the basic concepts in any weight loss program is to burn more calories than you consume. With this in mind, the first thing you should do is determine what your normal calorie intake is on any given day.
Simply start a list of all the foods you normally eat. Remember the snacks you consume and do not forget to include everything you drink. If you use sugar or butter on your meals, include that in your list also. Keep track for at least three weekdays and a weekend to get your average daily calorie intake. The USDA has a handy MyPlate website. It offers a handy food lookup feature that allows you to enter a food, like Macaroni and Cheese. It will tell you the calories in that particular food. You can also compare calories of different foods to help you plan your menu.
By determining the calories in each of the foods on your list, you will be able to determine your average daily calorie intake.
How Many Calories Can You Safely Reduce in Your Diet?
You need to determine how many calories you need to consume to maintain your ideal weight. There are many calorie calculators online that will assist you in determining what you daily calorie consumption should be to reduce your weight. These calculators are more accurate than using the old ten times rule. This dated rule suggests that if you multiply your goal weight times ten, that the answer will be the number of calories you need to consume daily. If this were an accurate measure, a goal weight of 160 pounds times ten would be 1,600 calories daily. We do not recommend using this formula because it does not consider everything. Find a calorie calculator online and try it. They are generally more accurate.
Now that you know how many calories you consume in an average day and how many calories you are allowed in a day, you simply review your list and cut calories. This can be accomplished by cutting certain foods from your list or replacing them with lower calorie foods.
A good rule of thumb is that a pound of body weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories. So, to reduce your weight by a pound a week, reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories a day. 500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories. Reducing soda, salad dressing, and simple carbohydrates can help you reduce calories from your diet quickly.
Food Substitution is a Good Option for Your Diet Program
One of the things that bother most people on a diet is the feeling of being hungry all the time, or at least not feeling satisfied after eating a meal. A great approach to consider trying is eating fewer calories without eating less food. If you can find the right combination, your diet will be more successful.
Following are some substitutions you should consider when planning your meals:
- Replace all high calorie drinks with low calorie drinks: Water is an excellent alternative to soda pop and rich coffee drinks.
- Replace Whole Milk and Dairy Foods: Virtually all dairy products offer a low fat alternative. Instead of drinking whole milk, consider drinking skim milk. Eight ounces of skim milk contains 83 calories. The same amount of whole milk contains 146 calories.
- Replace Salad Dressings and Condiments with Low Calorie Version: Most toppings offer a light or low calorie version that will help you cut calories while still eating a full meal.
- Replace Your Fried Foods with Non Fried Foods: Oil used in preparing fried foods is high in calories. Roasted or baked foods, like chicken, can be just as delicious but contain considerably fewer calories.
- Increase Your Vegetable Portions: If you are able to increase your vegetable portion by at least fifty percent, your calories will be reduced significantly.
- Replace High Fat Content Meat with Lean Meat: If you want to cut 60 calories from your hamburger, use 95 percent lean ground beef instead of 85 percent.
- Increase Your Fruit Portions: Consider replacing your afternoon snack with a serving of fruit. Fruit is also an excellent alternative to those high calorie desserts.
- Replace Sodium (salt) with Substitutes: Sodium helps you retain water weight. Substitutes adds flavor without adding salt.
- Reduce Simple Carbohydrate Intake: many low-fat foods are high in sugar or have other refined simple carbohydrates in them which spike blood sugar levels only to have them then crash & leave you hungry again sooner. This cycle with high blood sugar levels also makes people become more leptin resistant by having them create excess insulin, which blocks leptin at the brain. Leptin release from fat cells is a big part of what tells people they are not hungry.
Consider these suggestions when you start planning your weight loss menu. We suggest planning a week in advance, and sticking to it. You will be able to eat well-balanced meals and meal planning will help reduce the temptations that are around you daily.
It is very important not to skip any meals, especially breakfast. Just eat smarter and maintain your weekly plan and you will start seeing results!
Exercise Is an Important Part of Weight Loss
The best way to increase the number of calories you burn in a day is add an exercise regimen to you weight loss program. Exercising will help the pounds disappear quickly.
Following are some exercise activities to consider:
- Take an Evening Walk Around your Neighborhood: Make your walk a brisk one to help you burn calories. Your goal should be at least 30 minutes three days a week.
- Ride a Bike or Swim: A bike ride or swimming can be an alternative to walking. Your goal should be at least 30 minutes three days a week.
- Weight Training: Lifting weights will help you stay trim and can burn more calories than other exercise regimens.
- Join the Gym: Exercise bikes, treadmills, and free weights are just some of the equipment available at the gym. The staff will be glad to show you the correct techniques to get the most out of your exercise regimen.
Rest a day between exercise regimens and get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can reduce your body’s ability to loose fat.
As you continue burning calories through exercise and eating right, you should consider adjusting your regimen. Increase your exercise time or add weight training for example. You will feel better if you add activities like jogging or maybe even shooting hoops. The key to any exercise that you incorporate into your weight loss program is enjoy yourself and have fun!
Every pound you shed and every compliment you receive will give you the confidence and motivation to continue. This confidence will help reduce the urge to give into temptations when they arise. If you maintain consistency in your weight loss program, you will be able to meet your goals.
To summarize some of the things you need to accomplish your goal weight:
- Determine how many calories you currently consume and how many you can consume to maintain your goal weight.
- Cut calories by replacing foods you normally eat with foods that have lower calories.
- Plan your meals a week in advance and stick to it.
- Incorporate exercise into your weight loss program.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Do not skip any meals, especially breakfast.
- Use online calculators to help you meet your weight loss goals.
Do not forget to add vitamin supplements to your weight loss program. Vitamins and minerals are an important part to staying healthy.
Good luck with your weight loss program. If you share your success with others, you might motivate them to change their life also!