Over 100 million Americans are considered overweight or obese. This is predicted to increase to epidemic proportions by the year 2020. As you may already know, there are many health risks associated with being fat. These include not only heart disease and diabetes, but also stroke, cancer, arthritis, and hypertension. If you are overweight, it is important to get started now to avoid these conditions in the future. Losing weight is important, but how you do it is just as critical. Healthy weight loss is the only way to achieve lasting weight loss. With that in mind, here are 8 key things to keep in mind when starting your healthy weight loss journey:
1) Don't Go on a Diet
The knee-jerk reaction to needing to lose weight is "diet," which to most people means skipping meals or otherwise starving oneself. This is exactly the opposite to a healthy weight loss approach.
Starving yourself may provide a temporary loss of a few pounds, but you will gain it back quickly. Your body needs fuel for energy, and you will soon become tired and sluggish. You will be slowing your metabolism, which is the recipe for future weight gain. Sensible eating is the better option.
2) Start Your Day Right
Jump start your metabolism in the morning by having a healthy breakfast. Morning food intake is used by the body to burn fat all day long. Don't you remember being told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Add a cup of green tea, a proven metabolic booster, to your breakfast, and you'll start each day the healthy weight loss way!
3) Eat More Frequent Meals
Another trick to boosting metabolism is to eat more frequently. You should eat 5 to 6 small meals per day, never going more that 3 hours at a time without consuming something. This approach keeps you from bring hungry, which is the top reason for weight loss failure. It also insures that your internal "furnace" in continually working, keeping your metabolism up and burning calories even faster.
4) Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
Do not set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic weight loss goals. Remember, healthy weight loss is a gradual thing, not some hyped up Hollywood fad "diet" or nonsensical "rapid weight loss" pill regimen. These can have dire health consequences, also. Develop the mindset that you want to get healthy and stay healthy for the rest of your life.
5) Drink Lots of Water
Your body requires sufficient water to burn fat and keep your cells hydrated and healthy. Distilled or purified water is the best choice. This is especially important before, during, and after exercise. Water also helps to flush toxins from the body. In terms of quantity, a good rule to follow is 1/2 ounce of water per day per every pound of body weight.
6) Avoid Too Much Sugar in All Forms
Meal plans should include lean meat and protein-rich foods, whole grain breads, rice, and pasta, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid junk food of all kinds, except for an occasional indulgence. "Diet" soda is not a good alternative to sugary drinks. Opt for water, juice, or green tea instead.
7) Watch Your Fat Intake
Contrary to popular belief, fat is not the culprit to being overweight. It is the type of fat that you consume that you must keep an eye on. Healthy fats are found in such things as canola oil and peanuts. Tuna, salmon, and mackerel are rich in heart-healthy Omega-3 fats and are always a good choice.
You knew it was coming, the dreaded "E" word! Though we hate to admit it, healthy weight loss needs to have some form of exercise added to the mix. It really aids in fat burning and metabolism boosting. The good news is that this doesn't necessarily require hours in the gym. The exercise program that is best for you is determined by your current fitness level. Talk to your doctor or a fitness trainer for recommendations.
It doesn't matter how much weight that you want, or need, to lose. Follow these guidelines, and you will be well on your way to achieving healthy weight loss that will last a lifetime!