How many times have you lost weight only to gain it all back within a year? We’ve all been there. Even with the best of intentions, life gets in the way and makes it hard to stick to a diet.
Popular fad diets don’t make it any easier. The internet and health magazines promise quick “miracle” results with little effort. Many of these diets may work in the short-term by drastically changing the way you eat. But big changes aren’t sustainable.
Once you stop following their plan, you’ll likely gain back any weight you had lost. Even worse, you may also have caused negative health side effects. Strict fad diets can throw your metabolism off balance, alter hormone levels, or lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Don’t let this discourage you. There are safe, effective ways to lose weight and keep it off. Instead of the latest fad diet, try these tips for long-term success.
1. Adopt a healthier long-term lifestyle diet
The biggest thing you can do to help your weight loss is to change your mindset. When deciding what and how to eat, don’t think of it as ‘going on a diet.’ Think of it as making healthier lifestyle choices.
The diet mentality says, ‘I can never have bread or ice cream.’ This poses a challenge if you, like most people, enjoy eating bread and ice cream. A healthier lifestyle choice would be to have ice cream or bread only once or twice a week in moderation.
This mind shift is much easier for your willpower to handle. You’re more likely to stick to it and see results.
2. Drink Water Everyday
Water is critically important if you’re trying to lose weight. Staying hydrated is the first step to keeping your body functioning with efficiency. It allows you to clear toxins, power through a workout, and make healthier choices.
Drinking water is also a great way to help you cut calories and stay satisfied between meals. Swapping out a single sugary drink a day for water can save you almost 5000 calories per month. That packs a big punch to stubborn belly fat.
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3. Walk, do yoga, and workout every day
If you want to lose weight and belly fat, you’ll need daily physical activity. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym, though.
The US Dept. of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. That equates to approximately 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. Find an exercise that you enjoy, like jogging, yoga, or even dancing. Schedule it into your day and make it a priority.
Aside from defined exercise, walking is a great way to stay active throughout the day. Even a quick lunchtime walk around the block can boost your health and fat loss efforts.
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4. Build a support network – find friends to help keep you motivated.
Weight loss is hard. There are sure to be times when you feel like giving up. When you start to lose motivation, lean on a support system to keep you going. Workout with a friend or meal plans together to hold each other accountable.
If you’re on a solo mission, it can be helpful to share your goals with others. Tell your family what you hope to accomplish, or even post on social media. The more public your goals are, the more likely you are to stick to them.
5. Cook your own food, avoid eating fast food
Fast food may be delicious, but your body doesn’t love it quite as much as your taste buds do. That cheeseburger and fries are loaded with sodium, fat, and processed chemicals. Regularly eating this type of food can lead to weight gain and diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The best way to ensure the quality of your food is to cook it yourself. In your kitchen, you have more control over ingredients and portion sizes. This allows you to make smarter, healthier food choices.
It may be a challenge to get started, but there are many ways to make cooking less of a chore. If time is an issue, consider batch cooking or meal prepping. If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, look for simple recipes to follow. Find what works best with your schedule and abilities.
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Weight loss doesn’t have to be a never-ending cycle. Put some of these tips into practice to lose weight and keep it off permanently!