We all know the “secret” of successful weight loss: Eat less and exercise more. It’s not always easy, but by adopting healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine, you are sure to lose weight without depriving yourself of nourishing, satisfying food. And if you continue those good habits after you reach your goal, you will have an excellent chance of maintaining your desired weight. Also know that the body will try to work against you during this journey. Be sure to expect and embrace the plateaus and stay the course, don’t let them lead you to becoming more intense in a way that compromises your long-term success. Here are some tips for successful weight loss:
- Avoid artificial sweeteners and synthetic fat substitutes (especially hydrogenated oils). They are unhealthy and move you further from developing good eating habits.
- Dietary supplements or “fat-burning herbs” are usually just stimulants – don’t rely on them. The pounds will surely return once you’ve stopped taking them and you certainly put your heart and blood pressure at risk.
- Build lean body mass. Strength training burns excess calories and influences the way your brain regulates hunger, making you less susceptible to food cravings. Try lifting weights that are slightly heavier than you are used to six to eight times for a set or two, to challenge your muscles. If you are short on time focus on the largest muscle groups like legs, glutes and your back.
- Kick up your heels. Dancing is another great way to expend calories – an hour of fast-paced dancing can burn 400-500 calories, plus it’s fun!
- Pay attention to the mental and spiritual aspects of weight control. Use relaxation exercises, instead of food, to combat anxiety.
- Avoid late-night eating. The snack foods we consume when sitting in front of the television or to curb a craving tend to be heavy on processed carbs and inflammatory fats. Plan your dinner at a time that does not leave you hungry before bed, and if you must snack, opt for a piece of fruit or a handful of almonds.
- As you lose the weight, don’t become too impatient to reach your goal. You may be dissatisfied with your body, but remind yourself that it is beautiful just the same. Remember, a better goal to strive for is health, with weight loss being a great side benefit.