When you are trying to lose weight it can be very challenging at the best of times, especially when there is so much information out there on the subject of weight loss. Many people feel confused about the messages they are getting, and it can be really disheartening when one 'expert' is telling you one thing and another is telling you the complete opposite. The good news is: I have sifted the wheat from the chaff for you, and I'd like to share 10 secrets that will help you to stay on track with your weight loss goals. Here they are:
ONE: Don't Starve Yourself!
The first thing most people think about when they want to lose weight is eating less food; but if you restrict your calories to below what your body needs (the average is 1800 to 2000 calories per day), you will end up slowing down your metabolism. Since weight loss is usually about calories in vs. calories out, it can be tempting to cut down to the point of starvation.
If you do this you might lose weight initially but eventually your body will rebel and try to protect you from starvation by slowing down your metabolism so that you are burning fewer calories. This means that when you finally go back to eating more (and you will....) you will gain even more weight than before. Whatever lifestyle changes you decide to make must be do-able long-term. Ask yourself: 'Can I see myself doing this for the rest of my life?' If the answer is no then you need to re-think your strategy.
TWO: Enjoy the Food you eat
Dieting is a negative word in my book. Lifestyle change is a much more positive concept. Eating healthy low fat food does not have to mean depriving yourself of taste. There are many great low fat recipes out there. Explore them! Become a master in the kitchen - you will be amazed at what you can cook up. You will feel better all round knowing you are doing something good for yourself.
THREE: Beware of the Rollercoaster
Perhaps you have found yourself trapped on rollercoaster that says: 'If I don't do it perfectly all the time, I have failed'. This is simply not true. If you do the right thing most of the time, you will lose weight and you will stay slim. Forgive yourself for slip-ups. Get right back on track and understand that nobody can do everything perfectly all the time. You are human. Embrace your humanity.
FOUR: Feed your Hunger, NOT your Feelings
The Cravings you get when you are lonely, angry or sad are not true hunger. They are emotional cravings that signify the need for something else. Sustainable weight loss is about recognizing your emotional triggers and bringing them to the surface. As you do this you will no longer be a slave to your emotions.
FIVE: Slow Down
Do you rush through your meals, all the while thinking about the next task at hand? Slow down. Focus on what you are eating and chew your food thoroughly. This will make the meal last longer and you will feel full sooner. Add to that the fact that your body will digest the food more efficiently and you're onto a winner!
SIX: Stay Away from Trans-Fatty Acids
Trans-fatty acids are found in deep fried foods and a lot of processed foods. They suppress the thyroid hormone and interfere with insulin receptors. Start checking nutritional labels. If a product contains vegetable oil it is probably riddled with trans-fats. Take control of your health.
SEVEN: Don't Believe Everything You Read
I mean it. Don't even believe this article. Try it for yourself. See if the things I have suggested help you. If not, discard them. This goes double for food labels. If it says 'fat free' that doesn't necessarily mean it is low in calories. Some foods that claim to be 'fat free' are loaded with sugar. Sugar = calories = weight gain. Take responsibility for what you are putting into your body. ALWAYS read the nutritional content.
EIGHT: Eat Fresh Food
This one is a no-brainer. The basis of your diet should be fresh unprocessed foods. Stay away from the protein bars and shakes and packaged stuff. Not only are they expensive, they really are no substitute for the real thing. Eat fresh.
NINE: Eat Protein with Every Meal
According to nutritional experts, our metabolism needs one gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day. I suggest you eat a small amount of protein with every meal. For example, I cook 8 different vegetables in water and a splash of olive oil and combine this with one egg for breakfast. For lunch I eat 100g of cooked free-range chicken with fresh salad. Dinner is more vegetables stir-fried with 200g tofu and chili sauce. YUM! Of course you have your own specific tastes but you get the picture.....protein makes for a lean physique.
TEN: Never EVER Give Up
If you have always struggled to lose weight in the past, then the first few weeks of your weight loss journey will probably be the hardest. During this time your subconscious will be in the process of creating new neurological pathways which will make healthy eating normal to you. Navigate the flow and recognize that creating new habits takes some time. When you see the results you will be glad you stuck it out.