If you're tired of yo-yo dieting and ready to drop those unwanted pounds for good, these 10 steps to losing weight might provide the inspiration and guidance you need.
10 Steps to Losing Weight
These 10 steps to losing weight include things to do and not to do. As you read through these steps, keep in mind your excess weight didn't appear at once and the best approach to losing it is slow and steady with weight loss of one to two pounds per week. If you look at the big picture that means you could lose 52 pounds in a year by just losing one pound a week!
Step One: Forget Fad Diets
Don't fall for gimmicky lose-weight-fast fad diets that promise drastic weight loss. These so-called diets don't work in the long run because they don't teach you how to change your eating for a lifetime. Plus most of them are unhealthy. Instead of a fad diet, talk to your doctor and have him help you pick a diet that's healthy for you.
Step Two: Drink Water
Water is an important part of any diet whether you're trying to lose weight or not, because even mild dehydration can slow down your metabolism! While drinking eight 8-ounce glasses each day is a recommended standard, the one-size-fits all approach doesn't always provide the right amount for you. To personalize your water intake to meet you needs, drink a half ounce per pound of body weight per day.
Along with improved metabolism, benefits of drinking water as part of your weight loss plan include:
- Fat breakdown by-products are flushed from the body
- Diminishes hunger
- Keeps your skin hydrated and looking younger
Step Three: Eat Less Sugar
Eating sugar leads to weight gain for most of us because we eat too much of it. Find a way to limit your sugar intake that works for you. For example, on the No S Diet, no sweets are allowed on any day that doesn't have an "S" in it. This means sugar is allowed on Saturday, Sunday and special days like birthdays and holidays.
Replace refined sugar with naturally sweet foods like fruits which also contain complex carbs that satisfy longer. They keep your blood sugar more stable and give you energy.
Step Four: Limit High Glycemic Foods
The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates in relation to their effect on blood glucose levels. Choosing low glycemic index foods allows glucose to enter your bloodstream slower so you are more satisfied between meals and have more energy.Glycemic Index Rankings
- 70 and above - High
- 56 to 69 - Medium
- 55 and under - Low
Step Five: Eat Fruits and Veggies
While fruits and vegetables are not magic foods that make you lose weight, they are low calorie, fiber dense foods that help you stay satisfied for longer. Along with those benefits, fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients to keep you healthy. The daily recommendation is five servings but on a weight loss plan, consider five the minimum.
Step Six: Don't Skip Meals
Don't skip meals or go so long without eating that you become ravenous, weak or dizzy. When these feelings overtake you, natural instincts tell you that you need food now! The problem is, when you feel like this, it is very easy eat anything handy and often leads to overeating or binging.
Another reason skipping meals is a bad idea is that your metabolism adjusts to less meals by kicking into survival mode. This means you'll burn calories slower as your body tries to preserve energy. So while skipping meals seems like it should help you lose weight, in the long run it does just the opposite.
Step Seven: Don't Eat Late
With today's busy lifestyles, one of the issues contributing to weight gain is eating late. A new study shows it isn't just how much you eat but when you eat that can lead to extra pounds. If you know you'll be eating later due to scheduling conflicts, eat a lighter meal in the evening rather than the traditional biggest meal of the day.
Step Eight: Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals sets you up for success rather than failure and nothing motivates like success! A realistic goal is one you have control over. For example, lose two pounds a week sounds alike a realistic goal but you don't really have control over your weight. If you lose 1.5 pounds instead, it means you haven't reached your goal. Realistic goals on the other hand would be like these sample goals.
- Drink 8 glasses of water daily
- Keep a food diary marking what you eat, how much you eat and how you're feeling
- Eat no sugar during the week
- Compose a menu from medium and low glycemic foods
- Exercise three to five days a week for at least 30 minutes
These samples are attainable goals. You can choose to do them or not.
Step Nine: Exercise
Exercise doesn't have to be dreaded. Choose an exercise you enjoy. If you don't know where to start, walk! If you've led a sedentary lifestyle work up to 20 minutes gradually, but eventually you'll want to exercise for 20 to 60 minutes a day.
Step Ten: Learn to Manage Stress
Emotional eating often leads to weight gain. Learning to manage stress, whether it's good, bad or otherwise, can help you avoid stress eating when you are happy, sad, upset, etc.
Put It into Practice
As you follow these steps to weight loss it is important to be disciplined, but to allow yourself a treat every now and again. It's not always easy, but it is rewarding to watch the needle on the scale gradually drop.