When losing weight the smart and healthy way, eating correctly and looking after your body should be your goal.
When you look at all the skinny bodies of the models, your first reaction might be to quit eating and live only on water. This is not only a bad idea, it is very bad for your health.
There is only one way to loose weight and only one way to look after your body while doing this.
I'd like to encourage you to develop a habit of healthy eating rather than dieting.
How many times have you tried out some kind of diet and it just did not work for you. There are many reasons why your diet can fail you, but the primary reason is the fact that the food is not what you like.
Remember small changes in your eating habits can lead to big changes in you health, your figure and your overall appearance. Not to mention your self-confidence.
The following guidelines are offered to help you on your path to a healthier, slimmer and more confident you.
The key to managing your weight is by balancing the energy from the amount of food you eat, with the energy you use through being active.
It is better to lose weight slowly over a longer period of time.
This results in a reduction of fat and limits the loss of important muscle tissue.
A healthy weight-loss is 2 to 5 kg a month. (4 - 8 pounds)
It is not necessary to attempt to stick to diets and meal plans, especially if you do not enjoy what you are eating.
There are no bad or good foods and you should continue to enjoy a variety - but keep in mind the portion sizes, frequency of meals, type of starches and type of fats.
Try to use fats from plants such as:
- Sunflower, canola, olive oil, nuts, avocado pear and peanuts.
- Soft margarine in tubs instead of hard brick margarine - spread margarine very thinly on bread.
Limit your intake on fats from animal sources such as:
- Chicken skin, full cream milk, full fat cheese, butter, fried foods, pies, lard, mayonnaise and red meat.
- Choose more chicken and fish instead of red meat.
- Buy lean meat and cut all visible fat away before cooking.
- Avoid frying food, rather bake, steam, grill, boil or microwave.
Increase your fruit and vegetable intake
- add vegetables to soup dishes
- eat fruit or vegetable salads as snacks
- use mixed vegetables when cooking meals
- make fruit smoothies
- double your normal vegetable serving size
- add a fruit to cereal or porridge for breakfast
- add lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes to sandwiches
- when planning meals, aim for a variety of colored vegetables
- buy fruits and vegetables in season, it is better for your pocket or grow your own vegetable garden
Reduce your sugar intake
The amount of sugar you take in also matters in weight management.
Sugar should be used in moderation as it increases the amount of energy you take in.
Because sugar is addictive and most of it is hidden in the foods and drinks we enjoy everyday, reducing sugar in our diets is not easy.
Here are a few tips on how to reduce sugar in your diet:
- Learn to enjoy foods that are naturally sweet, like butternut, without adding extra sugar.
- Instead of table sugar, use dried or fresh fruit to sweeten cereals and baked goods.
- Limit your intake of foods high in sugar, such as biscuits, chocolate (except some dark chocolate), soft drinks (soda's) and baked goods.
- Avoid heavily sweetened breakfast cereals, rather choose the ones that have 10grams (0.02 ounces) of sugar or less per serving.
- Energy bars and drinks are a common source of hidden sugar, therefore, look for ones that have less than 12-15grams of sugar per serving. (0.4 to 0.52 ounces)
- Be aware of low-fat and fat-free products because often sugar is added to mask the loss of flavor.
- If you must drink soft drinks choose the smallest size can or bottle and avoid the bigger 500ml bottles, which can provide as much as 12 - 15 teaspoons of sugar.
- Be aware of products labelled 'no sugar added' as this does not mean that the product does not naturally contain a lot of sugar.
- Try limiting dessert to once in two weeks.
- Use sugar substitutes like saccharine in recipes and hot drinks. Make sure they do NOT contain aspartame. You can read more about aspartame in this article by Dr. Janet Hull - aspartame side effects.
Tips to help your diet
- Avoid second helpings
- Eat small frequent meals
- Do not skip breakfast if you can help it
- Serve food on a smaller plate
- Snack on fresh fruit and vegetables
- Include beans, peas and lentils in your diet at least three times a week
- Do not combine eating with other activities such as watching TV
- Drink alcohol in moderation (one drink for women and two for men with meals)
Drink more water
This you know, it is recommended you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
When you are exercising, this amount should be increased to replace the liquids lost through breathing and sweating.
Very often when the body is craving something to eat, you are not hungry at all, but your body is simply asking for water.
Have a glass or two and you will find that the craving often disappears .
Try to get into the habit of drinking water at set times.
You will find that if you are not drinking water regularly at this stage that as soon as you start drinking water, you will want to drink more water. You get thirsty more often and it becomes a habit to grab a bottle or glass of water rather than thinking of sodas.
Exercise is an extremely important part of a weight management program.
Aim for an hour, at least 3 times per week.
You can do Aerobic exercises like:
- Brisk walking
If you choose to do strenuous exercises, remember that they use glucose as a source of energy instead of fat.
Everyone, including overweight and obese, can benefit from some type of Aerobic exercise.
Even inactive people or people with a history of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or cardiovascular conditions can improve their health through Aerobic exercise.
This is probably the most important part of your weight-loss program.
It is hard to stay motivated if you don't believe in yourself. You can read get your head in diet gear.
Be positive and set yourself realistic goals.
Keep in mind a picture of a slimmer, fitter, healthier and more confident you.
Remember - IT CAN BE DONE - by making the small changes I suggested above, you will be well on your way to your goal.