Lose Weight: Eating healthy foods and exercising only for a few weeks, or even months, is not enough if you want to maintain weight successfully for the long haul. Instead of saying, I need to lose 25 pounds and overwhelming yourself with a seemingly impossible goal, consider the health benefits that may result from even moderate weight loss.
Limit Food Intake
If you are limiting food intake, exercising excessively, or thinking about food and your body constantly in order to keep a specific number on a scale, that is not the healthy weight for you, says one weight-loss dietitian. Healthy habits, such as those outlined above–eating smaller portions, increasing your intake of vegetables and protein, and cutting back on easy carbs, sugars, and alcohol–are far more realistic for maintaining.
This is not without reason, since tracking your weight-loss activity and progress as you go may be an effective way of managing your weight. Studies have consistently shown that people who record everything they eat–and particularly record when they are eating–are much more likely to lose weight and maintain that weight long-term.
Going to a gym to exercise is clearly a good idea. Exercising can make people hungry, and eating more of it lessens the weight impact. The inability to exercise alone to achieve substantial weight loss could stem from neurochemical mechanisms regulating eating behaviors causing individuals to offset calories spent exercising by increasing their intake of food (calories).
A different way of looking at weight loss pinpoints the problem as not eating too many calories, but the ways that the body accumulates fat following consumption of carbohydrates — specifically, the role of the hormone insulin.
When you burn more calories than you consume, the body draws energy (weight loss) from the fat stores. By lifting weights, you burn more calories and keep your metabolism from slowing, a common side effect of losing weight ( 13, 14, 15 ).
Losing Weight Faster
If you are trying to lose weight faster than 1 to 2 pounds a week, talk with your doctor about the safe calorie cutoff. What To Aim For In the first week of strict carbohydrate-restricted dieting, it is normal to lose 2-4 pounds (1-3kg) — then, on average, around a pound (0.5kg) a week — so long as you still have plenty of weight to lose.
If someone is usually eating 5,000 calories a day, but switches to 1,500 calories per day, everyone loses more quickly than if they switched to 4,500 calories per day. When researchers did a similar experiment, matching meals on calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and sugar, and letting people eat as much (or as little) as they wanted, they found people consumed roughly 500 calories per day more with highly processed foods – and gained two pounds, on average, over the brief period of study.
Those same folks lost about two pounds when given the whole-foods diet, suggesting that prioritizing whole foods may help regulate appetite and weight.
In addition, comparatively few of those who lost a lot of weight using VLCDs lost it, were able to maintain their weight loss when they returned to regular eating. Whatever weight-loss strategy you are trying, it is important to keep yourself motivated and avoid common diet traps, like emotional eating.
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