The Key to Losing Weight and Keeping it Off

Fad diets work for some, but only temporarily, if at all, for others. Excess weight may come off initially, but often when the dieter regresses to his or her normal eating habits, the weight gradually returns. Sometimes those who lose weight and revert back to their old eating habits ultimately find themselves heavier than ever.

Contrary to the commercials and ads we’re bombarded with each day, there is no magic diet, and losing weight is not easy. The only sure way to lose weight and keep it off is by eating sensibly. A person must permanently change their eating habits and remain active. Fad diets limit the types of food a person can eat, and although the diet may have worked at first, it soon becomes boring and intolerable. Sensible dieting is usually less painful than the typical fad diet because it allows the dieter to eat anything they want within moderation. The quantity of high-calorie foods is of course limited, but the variety is endless.

Snacking

Snacks are a great way to stave off hunger, but they must be chosen wisely. It is much too easy for the daily diet to get out of hand when mindlessly snacking. High calorie snacks are usually very accessible since they are generally convenience foods such as cookies, candy, or chips. When you are not ravenously hungry, take the time to prepare healthy low-calorie snacks such as raw vegetables or fruit salad. Dill pickles and sugar-free gelatins are considered “free foods” since they have no calories. Find low-calorie snacks you like, and keep them on hand. These healthy low-calorie and no-calorie foods will take the edge off hunger and enable you to successfully make it to your next meal.

Counting Calories

Begin a serious program of sensible eating by deciding how many calories you should be consuming each day. If you do not know how many calories are appropriate for your individual needs, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. They are your best source for information since they are aware of your medical history and any special considerations.

Since fresh foods and meats do not usually have nutrition labels that list calories, it is a good idea to obtain a calorie counting guide. Many people do not realize how much food and how many calories they are actually taking in throughout the day, and they are shocked when they realize the quantity they are actually consuming. Begin a program of sensible eating by measuring or estimating portions, and write down everything eaten throughout the day. Add up the number of calories after each meal, and keep a running total so you know how many more calories you are allowed for the day. This will enable you to make wiser choices. When a person knows they have a certain number of calories remaining for the day, they are more likely to make healthier decisions. Following this calorie counting program allows a person to eat anything they desire, but they are made accountable for those foods. They naturally make healthier choices in an effort to eat as much as they can and remain within their daily caloric limit.

Beverages

Since the human body is comprised primarily of water, it is important to drink between eight and ten eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Water helps maintain a feeling of fullness and keeps the system working properly. For those who don’t like the flavor of plain water, adding a slice of lemon or lime will jazz it up a bit. Adding a packet of artificial sweetener and a few ice cubes will create a refreshingly tasty glass of calorie-free lemonade or limeade.

Calorie-free drinks are helpful when on a plan of sensible eating, but drink containing caffeine can sabotage a diet. Caffeine causes hunger for some individuals. If possible, choose calorie-free artificially sweetened drinks that are also caffeine-free. Flavored artificially-sweetened water is an excellent choice. Many of these delicious drinks contain extra vitamins and minerals which are also beneficial to those watching their diet.

To Weigh or Not to Weigh

If weighing yourself each day motivates you to eat the right foods, then by all means do so. Many people, however, find dieting easier when they weigh themselves once a week or less. For some individuals, weighing-in daily becomes discouraging if the dial is not moving backwards quickly enough. Do what motivates you the most. If you find yourself becoming discouraged when getting on the scale each day, then avoid the scale for a week or so. The next time you weigh in, if you have been eating sensibly, you will more than likely see the results you were hoping for.

Exercise

Dieting is generally more successful when following an exercise program. It is important to find an exercise regimen you enjoy, and stick to it. Walking is a safe and healthy activity for almost everyone. Exercise videos are also helpful, especially during winter months and during times when the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities. Get moving and participate in an activity that you won’t get tired of. If exercise is a chore, chances are you won’t do it. Consider including a friend, and exercise will be something to look forward to. Talking to a friend while walking or exercising is enough of a distraction to make it more tolerable for those who don’t enjoy it.

Do not expect the weight to fall right off. It may have seemed to come on overnight, but it surely didn’t. Consider your diet more of a change in lifestyles. The word “diet” suggests a temporary unpleasant activity rather than a change for the better. Having a positive outlook will greatly increase long-term weight loss success.

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