(WellnessPursuits.com) – Smart people know that diets don’t work. Sure, almost all of them will help you shed a few pounds, but long-term maintenance is difficult. As a matter of fact, most people stop losing and start regaining despite their best efforts. So, what’s a weight loss hopeful to do?
The answer is simple: don’t diet. Look for ways to lose weight without adhering to a restrictive diet. Here are some of the things you can do to lose weight and keep it off.
Slowly Change Your Habits
Radical, restrictive or abrupt dietary changes are difficult to maintain. Sure, you might find the willpower to do it for a few weeks, but that willpower will eventually run out — and you will be left with your old, unhealthy habits.
That’s why you should focus on changing your habits slowly. Implement small changes you can commit to long-term. Instead of swearing off pizza for life, for example, you may opt for thin crust pizza with light cheese and veggie toppings. Or you might choose to eat one slice instead of your usual two.
Focus on Your Food
Do you often find yourself scarfing down some pizza while you’re catching up on Grey’s Anatomy? Or maybe you find yourself munching on some tacos while playing your favorite computer game or catching up on social media.You’re not alone. We’ve all done it.
What you might not realize is that electronic distractions can lead to overeating. In fact, people who were distracted during mealtimes consumed an average of 10% more food and 25% more calories at later meals. To reduce your overall calorie intake, unplug from potential distractions and make your mealtimes more mindful.
Listen to Your Body
Above all, listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry — really hungry — and not when you’re bored or looking for a pick-me-up. If you’re not sure, try drinking a glass of water, since our bodies sometimes mistake thirst for hunger.
Make sure you stop eating when you’re full, too. Do not feel the need to clean your plate just because you were told you had to when you were growing up. Your body will tell you when enough is enough. Listen to it. Eat a healthy, filling snack if you get hungry in between meals.
Set an Eating Cutoff Time
Decide on a time that you’ll stop eating every night. Technically, the time you eat doesn’t make a lot of difference. The problem is that you’re more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks, such as potato chips or ice cream, when you eat at night in front of the TV. If this is something you struggle with, considering setting a cutoff time for snacking. Try brushing your teeth at that time so you’re less likely to give in to the munchies. After all, toothpaste flavored ice cream is pretty gross!
Losing weight all comes down to a simple math formula, says Harvard Health Publishing. To lose one pound, you need to consume 3,500 calories less than your body burns. This is theoretically easier than burning 3,500 calories more than you eat to lose that same pound. The good news is you don’t have to severely restrict your caloric intake to make this work.
Most of the calories your body burns goes to support metabolic functions, which means a huge chunk of your calories are burned while you’re at rest. The metabolic rate is about 1,600 for men and 1,490 for women. This means that you can start by eating just 200-300 fewer calories per day and still see consistent results.
Nourish Your Body
Instead of “dieting,” focus on nourishing your body. This means adopting a new mindset: food is fuel, and your body is an engine. To do this, you’ll want to make sure that all of your nutritional needs are met by eating a well-balanced diet.
Be sure to include plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality proteins, healthy fats, high-fiber whole grains and colorful, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet. You might also consider incorporating probiotics and fermented foods, which can normalize digestion and reduce any associated inflammation. This is important, since inflammation can lead to additional fat storage.
Over time, you’ll probably find that your cravings for junk food will subside, and your body will prefer the nutrient-rich, high-quality food that provides it with the most fuel.
Even though weight loss takes hard work and commitment, remember that it’s OK to indulge sometimes. In fact, it’s vital to your success. Always depriving yourself of the things you love — chocolate, cheeseburgers, french fries, ice cream and the like — will make you grumpy and frustrated. The key is to indulge but keep the indulgences to a minimum, no more than 10% of your overall diet.
Most people do not achieve long-term success with dieting. This is because diets are too restrictive and difficult to maintain. The key to long-term weight loss is to modify your lifestyle, mindset and eating habits. When you do this, you will lose weight and keep it off.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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