Tips To Help Make Weight Loss Successful
Here is a post from Tara Heath, a freelance writer on health and wellness, offers a fun personal take on some common tips and knowledge that she’s found useful in her own weight loss journey.
About three months ago, having indulged in a delightful—albeit, not especially healthy—summer of margaritas, barbecues and yes, I’ll admit it, the occasional GIGANTIC ice cream cone, I found myself standing on the scale in my bathroom and staring at a truly disturbing number. My mind flashed forward to the pending holiday season and I shuddered. I could just imagine all my well-meaning-but-judgmental relatives whispering behind their hands about my new . . . uh. . .voluptuousness.
It was time to go on a diet.
I confess I was not especially optimistic. After all, I’ve done the dieting thing once or twice (or seventy billion times). Who amongst us hasn’t? And, while I could usually drum up some impressive motivation at first, after a few weeks I’d decide that I didn’t really need to get all the way to my goal weight. Sometimes I’d manage to keep off the weight that I’d lost up to that point– more often I did not. So, this time, I decided to do a little research and find some changes I could actually stick with.
And you know what? I learned a lot.
For one thing, losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean immediately dropping all the foods I love and replacing them with nothing but salads and skinless chicken breast, nor does it mean hours in the gym every day. Gradual changes in diet and exercise can actually be much more effective, because they’re easier and don’t make you feel deprived and discouraged. Healthy weight loss takes time.
Here are a few other things I’ve learned:
1. Focus on what you’re adding to your diet, rather than what you’re taking away.
For me, this was really important. In the past, I’ve often struggled because I’ve felt frustrated at having to give up the things I loved and replace them with things I really didn’t love, and I hated always feeling hungry. When I started putting my attention on simply adding more good stuff –like fruit, spinach and healthy smoothies—rather than sacrificing all things yummy, I immediately felt better about the whole concept of dieting.
2. Eat when you’re hungry
There are actually two parts to this little gem. One of them, of course, is the need to really stop and examine your motivations for eating. Am I actually feeling hunger, or am I just giving in to that craving for some salty potato chips? However, the second part of this equation was more surprising for me. “Eat when you’re hungry,” means just that: eat. when. you’re. hungry.
When you feel those pangs, stop what you’re doing and take the time to eat. So often we wait until we’re ravenous. And what do you do when you’re starving and faced with a whole refrigerator full of food? If you’re anything like me, you pretty much eat everything in sight– not good for the weight loss thing.
3. Choose healthier nighttime snacks
I know. Some people swear that in order to succeed, you can’t eat anything after 6:00. Unfortunately, I’ve just never been able to make that happen. However, I have found that I can choose healthier snacks. Rather than buttery popcorn or a cookie, I’ll have a low-fat yogurt or a fruit smoothie.
4. Don’t eat your stress away
Sigh. I am a stress eater. There’s no two ways about it. Things get crazy in my life and I immediately head for the freezer. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s has gotten me through more hard times than I care to admit. So, I had to find new ways to deal with my stress. Long walks have proven to be a surprisingly enjoyable substitution for me.
In the end, for me, it’s worth it. Judgmental relatives aside, I want to live a long, full life. According the National Institutes of Health, obesity can cause high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and perhaps most alarmingly, heart disease, which is the #1 cause of death in America. Simply ignoring heart disease won’t lower your risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and exercising regularly can dramatically reduce the risk of these problems and so many others. and I like my life– love it, in fact– and I’m not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.
Tara Heath is a health enthusiast and freelance writer living in Southern California, and her writing covers everything on personal wellness and lifestyle. While she may indulge in the occasional treat now and then, she makes sure to remember that moderation is everything!