There are literally hundreds of diet plans and books on the market with information on how to lose weight. Many of the new weight loss plans that come out are similar to those that have gone before, with perhaps some slight variations. There is really no magic bullet or secret to shedding those extra few pounds. Weight loss comes down to healthy food choices, limiting portion size, and including exercise in your regular routine. The following information discusses in detail these basic principles of weight loss and how to incorporate a plan into your life that fits your individual needs.
How to Lose Weight: Creating a Healthy Diet
When figuring out how to lose weight fast yet in a way that is healthy, the best place to start is with healthy foods. The two categories of food that should make up the bulk of your diet are proteins and vegetables. Women’s Health explains the benefits of eating a diet rich in protein. The best sources of protein include lean meat, most fish, beans, and certain dairy products like cottage cheese. Food high in protein takes more work for your body to digest and use. This means more calories are used processing them in your body and it keeps you feeling full longer. Protein is also important in making sure you lose fat and not muscle.
Besides protein, vegetables should make up a large part of your daily diet. Nearly all vegetables contain beneficial nutrients and are good for most weight loss programs. There are some veggies, however, that not only offer amazing health benefits but can aid in weight loss. According to the website Food and Weight Loss.com the following are 10 vegetables that should be part of your weight loss plan.
- Cabbage – This vegetable fights cancer and is low in calories.
- Cauliflower – Cauliflower has Vitamin C, K, and B6. It’s also low in calories.
- Broccoli – This super veggie is high in Vitamin C and rich in fiber.
- Mushrooms – They are low in calories and contain a small amount of protein as well.
- Onions – These veggies are great for seasoning and go with almost anything.
- Peppers – Peppers are good sources of both Vitamin A and C.
- Celery – Celery consists mainly of water and is one of the lowest calorie vegetables.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes are high in lycopene and can be eaten in a variety of ways.
- Spinach – This vegetable is high in iron and tastes great hot or cold, or in a salad.
- Cucumbers – This high water veggie tastes good in salads or alone as a snack.
Besides lean protein and veggies, it’s a good idea to round out your diet with fruits, healthy carbohydrates, and dairy choices. While it isn’t necessary to completely cut out any particular food group when trying to lose weight, it’s usually beneficial to weight loss to stay away from too much white bread and processed carbs. Whole grains are a good choice when consuming carbohydrates. Brown rice, barley, granola, and rolled oats are examples of healthy carbs. Low fat cheeses and yogurts are good sources of calcium. Make sure yogurts don’t have a lot of added sugars, however.
Cutting Out Unhealthy Foods
Most fast food, junk food, and processed foods need to be eliminated when attempting to lose weight. While some foods in this category may be acceptable when eaten in moderation, you would need to pay careful attention to ingredients and how the food is prepared. Unhealthy foods not only cause weight gain due to fat and empty calories, but can cause us to retain water and become bloated. Sometimes cutting out excess salt in the diet is how to lose water weight. Consuming too much salt not only can cause water gain but can be unhealthy for blood pressure as well. The website Nutrition2success lists several items as some of the worst foods to eat and should be eliminated when trying to lose weight.
- Donuts – These delicious treats are cheap and easy to eat on the run. They are also loaded with sugar, flour, and are deep fried. Donuts leave you to “crash” after the sugar rush stops. This is turn leaves you hungry and more susceptible to overeating.
- Soda – The average soda has 8 to 10 teaspoons of sugar and about 150 calories. These are basically empty calories with little nutritional value.
- French Fries – Most fried foods are high in fat and calories and low on nutrition. Most of the oils used in frying are culprits that lead to a variety of health problems, including weight gain.
- Processed Snacks – Most chips and other processed snacks are high in trans fats.
Understanding Portion Control
Portion sizes, especially in restaurants, have grown larger through the years. Limiting portion sizes can be difficult at first. Not only do these massive portions make you feel tired and sluggish, but, ultimately, smaller portions will lead to weight loss. Some people may ask, how many calories should I eat to lose weight?
When it comes to figuring out how many calories to lose weight you need to consume, there are several variables to take into account. Most calorie counters that calculate the amount of calories that should be consumed in a single day take several factors into consideration. These usually include gender, height, weight, and activity level. For example, the Calorie King calorie counter figured that a 35 year-old female who was 5 foot 5 inches tall, weighed 180 pounds, and took part in light activity each day should eat between 1300 and 1500 calories each day to lose weight. When figuring out your own personal plan regarding how to lose weight, filling up with protein and veggies while limiting portions is still crucial to success.
Making Exercise a Regular Part of Your Life
Regular exercise is not only important for losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, but provides many other benefits as well. The Mayo Clinic lists metabolism. There is even evidence that your metabolic rate will remain elevated for sometimes several hours after you have finished exercising. The more intense the exercise becomes, the more calories that can be burned. It is important, however, to start out with moderate exercise a few times a week if you’re not used to participating in any type of exercise program. It’s also recommended to see your doctor before beginning a workout routine.
The best type of exercise routine to engage in is something you enjoy doing and will therefore stick with on a regular basis. Some people join health clubs and get fit using exercise equipment. This is a good way to get in shape, but there are lots of other exercise options to choose from. Playing tennis, swimming, dancing, or just taking regular walks are all great examples of ways to exercise. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, brisk walking is one of the easiest and best exercise routines to start. For most people walking is easy, inexpensive, it can be done almost anywhere, and people can create their own individual routine regarding how fast or long they walk.
Whatever combination of foods and exercise you choose, remember to keep your diet high in protein and vegetables while limiting bad carbohydrates, processed foods, and fast food. Incorporate moderate exercise that is enjoyable and is appropriate for your level of physical fitness. Keeping calories in the range that is necessary for your height, weight, and age are also part of a healthy weight loss plan. Finally, keeping portions small to moderate will enable you to maintain optimum levels of energy without feeling sluggish.