Everyone who has tried to lose weight during their lives will tell you that the process of long term weight loss can take a lot out of you……physically, emotionally and mentally.
You all know that euphoric feeling you get once you have reached you goal weight or lost the first ten kilos. You feel like those calories will never return.
But the sad truth is, we easily pack on the pounds soon after because we fall back into the same negative eating habits as before we started dieting.
Our die hard bad eating habits quietly slip back to our former lifestyle.
You see, it is not the diet that didn’t work……it is our fun filled lifestyle and eating habits that have done the damage.
That’s why I always say – Diets Don’t Work.
Follow these 5 Smart Tips to Guarantee Long Term Weight Loss Success.
1. Don’t Diet
Generally speaking, dieters gain back their weight within 6 months to a year. Some even gain more than they lost after they stop dieting.
So instead of following some 10-week eating plan, why not change your entire outlook on food?
Food shouldn’t be a substitute for anything.
That’s the first rule.
Food should be eaten for nourishment and sustainability. It should taste good and look good as well. It should appeal to all your senses without being loaded with processed ingredients and of excess sugar and fats.
Make it a habit to eat foods rich in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, and fish.
These give you the sense that you’re full for longer, and they contain few calories. Use aromatic vegetables like onions and garlic, as well as spices and herbs to make your food look, smell, and taste delicious. You can also use condiments (in moderation) to add flavour to your dishes.
Another great trick to boost your metabolism and keep those calories burning all day is to eat small amounts several times throughout the day. But remember, stay away from cakes, biscuits, and soft drinks. Think a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit and a cup of green tea.
Hummus with veggie sticks is also a great snack food.
Try this recipe for super smooth healthy hummus.
Use small plates and enjoy a nourishing dish every 3 – 4 hours. This helps maintain blood sugar levels, so you don’t feel that slump in the afternoon while keeping your energy levels up and calories at a minimum.
Also, try to really focus on what you’re eating.
Most of the time, we’re too busy or tired to notice how our food even tastes. This is one of the worst habits you can have because it forces you to eat more than you should and leaves you feeling bloated and heavy. Instead, take a few seconds to appreciate your food; its texture, and smell.
Taking in the whole experience of eating allows you to enjoy your food more without having the need to overindulge and eat more than you should.
Also, never underestimate the power of water.
Drinking lots of water daily, especially before meals, keeps your body hydrated, increases metabolism, and helps you burn off more calories.
Remember to add vegetable or fruit slices for a healthy kick.
2. Why Strength Training is SO Important
From around age thirty onwards we start to lose muscle mass – this is called sarcopenia and it is the reason why it’s crucial to start strengthening your muscles to prevent fatigue, loss of balance, and weak bones.
Strength training is particularly important for women as they start ageing.
I recommend everyone read this groundbreaking article to help you understand Why Strength Training is SO Important as You Start Ageing.
And here’s another bonus from doing strength training – muscle tissue burns more calories, even when you’re not working out, than fat. So start pumping some iron.
3. Learn to Accept the Setbacks
There will be days when you’re faced with difficult decisions, like a party at work or going out with friends.
If you can plan ahead, then you’re one step ahead of the game. You can fill up on healthy snacks before the event, or even have something in your bag you can munch on like carrot sticks or a few nuts.
There will also be cravings that gnaw at you until you can’t take it anymore.
More often than not, cravings are never really about the food. They can be a signal that your body lacks a certain mineral. For example, when you crave chocolate, what your body is really saying is it’s lacking in magnesium.
Cravings could also be a reaction to a stressful day at work or an emotional problem you’re going through. All cravings last about 20 minutes so find something to distract yourself; watch TV, read a book, even brushing your teeth will quickly kill off your craving.
4. Surround Yourself with Supportive Friends and Family
In other words……find a buddy to go on the journey with you.
People who believe in the same things as you make it easier to enjoy a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle.
They support you and believe in what you’re doing, and sometimes even take the time to be your workout buddy or prepare meals with you.
And, in turn, they become your accountability partner so that if, and when, you slip up, you have someone that provides understanding and support.
5. The Importance of Exercise
The suggested minimum for maintaining a weight loss is 250 minutes per week.
This comes down to about 45 – 50 minutes of moderate activity for 5 days. While these numbers may seem disheartening, it’s actually simpler than you may think.
Pick an activity you enjoy, like walking, swimming, gardening, and start at your own pace.
I recommend you also mix and match your activities…..so you don’t get bored. To make things even more fun, get a workout buddy, or join a gym and start meeting new people.
After a while, exercising will become a natural part of your daily routine, and you’ll even start to look forward to it.
And in conclusion, here is some more information I am sure you also find helpful in your search for long term weight loss: Why you’ll NEVER Lose Weight without Self Discipline.
And from HealthLine here is another evidence-based report: How to Lose 10 Pounds in a Month: 14 Simple Steps.
I also found this helpful article on Healthline: The Top 20 Biggest Nutrition Myths which is directly aimed at people who are interested in their (and their families) health, fitness, and overall wellness find out very quickly that the nutrition world is rife with misinformation, leading to public confusion, mistrust of health professionals, and poor dietary choices. Big Pharma has a huge part to play in this arena as well because it is very profitable regardless of the health benefits.
The situation becomes even more of a minefield when coupled with the fact that nutrition science is constantly changing. This makes it little wonder that many people have a warped view of what constitutes a healthy diet.
Nutrition myths are here to stay but having an open mind and educating yourself by separating fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition will help you feel more empowered to develop a nutritious and sustainable lifestyle that works for your individual needs.
I love how Michael Pollan brings it down to its simplest form: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. Help a friend to better health – like and share. Thanks.
“The first step to getting anywhere is deciding you’re not willing to stay where you are.”