Perhaps when you were younger and needed to lose weight, it was a simple matter of making a temporary change in your eating habits, and then waiting for the pounds to disappear effortlessly. For many people, though, losing weight can be a real struggle, despite what appears in the media, and particularly in advertising. Ads touting a specific diet, service, or piece of exercise equipment abound. If you take such ads at face value, then it’s easy to think that losing weight is a simple matter. The truth is, though, that despite the billions spent each year on weight loss products and services, many people are still overweight. In addition, there’s another whole class of individuals who are dangerously obese. For these people, losing weight continues to be a struggle. So, why are we always told it’s easy? Read on to learn more.
A Complex Problem without a Simple Solution
Most of us learn when we’re quite young that there’s a relationship between the food we eat and our weight. So, the experts say, if you want to lose weight, then cut down on the amount and type of food you eat, particularly foods that are high in fat. Fat contains more than double the calories found in protein and carbohydrates. We’re also counselled to get some exercise, ideally a combination of strength training and aerobic conditioning. Even when exercise is added into the equation, people continue to fail when undertaking a weight loss regimen. The reasons are legion.
A Strong Commitment is an Essential Component
Many of us have learned that there is a myriad of factors that conspire to keep us overweight. While eating too much and not exercising enough are the obvious ones, there are others. Many weight loss experts agree that a true commitment is needed — a commitment that helps us make the right decisions to stay healthy and lose weight. Ready to get back on track? Well, the first thing you’ll need to do is to take a look at your current attitude, especially at the duration of your commitment. Many people set weight-loss goals that don’t address their long-term problems. So, saying to yourself that you want to lose ten pounds in two weeks only sets you up for disappointment. A healthy and safe rate of weight loss is two pounds per week. Don’t expect immediate results, and try to expand your thinking about weight loss to include motivations such as having more energy, avoiding health problems, and living longer.
The Importance of Exercise
A regular exercise programme is an essential component of a successful weight loss programme. If you don’t have one, it’s likely you won’t lose weight consistently, and might even gain what you’ve lost back. In fact, without exercise, you’ll probably reach a plateau that can be difficult to overcome. You don’t need to spend hours working out. Just set up a reasonable workout schedule that you can stay with. If you haven’t exercised in years, or have health concerns, then it’s wise to see a doctor before beginning an exercise regimen, however modest. You also should choose an exercise modality that you like, because you’re going to need to exercise for the rest of you life to stay fit and at a healthy weight. Remember, the key is staying active on a regular basis.
Tracking and Modifying Your Eating Habits
Changing the way you eat is perhaps the most important aspect of a successful weight loss programme. You need to commit to altering your diet, replacing unhealthy, high-fat foods with healthier, low-fat options. To do this requires some effort. One idea is to keep a food journal that helps you discover eating patterns. It’s also a good idea to read food labels when you’re grocery shopping or cooking. Food labels can be real eye-openers for many people. Committing to healthy eating often requires you to spend more time preparing meals to eat at home than eating out. Another tactic is not to eat large portions or second helpings at meals. You need to pay close attention to what and when you eat to develop new, healthier eating patterns and habits.
Lifestyle Changes are Essential
You can’t expect to lose weight and live a healthy life if you’re not willing to make changes to support those goals. Open yourself to creative ways to think about lifestyle changes, and eventually they’ll become the positive habits you’re looking for. For example, you’re likely to have to change your daily routine to support your commitment. This means finding time to work out, even if it means getting up early to do so. Another tactic is preparing your own lunch to take to work, so you won’t be tempted to eat out. If you’re the sort of person who just settles in to watch TV after dinner, why not take a walk instead? Your strategy also should include setting limits, such as how long to watch TV. If your lifestyle is sedentary, then seek to bring it into balance with a few well chosen, healthy activities. Avoid keeping tempting foods around the house or workplace. It’s too easy to grab a bag of crisps and eat the entire bag. Take a minute to think about the unhealthy or high-fat foods you just can’t resist. Then, clear them from your cupboards, and replace them with healthy alternatives.
To lose weight and keep it off permanently, you’re going to need to be quite vigilant about what you eat. You must commit to making better choices about what foods will support your weight-loss goals. Even if you’re on a structured diet, that eventually will end, and you’ll be left on your own. Within reason, you can eat foods like pizza, provided you don’t overdo it. Although you sometimes might feel deprived, try to maintain a positive attitude, even if those around you are overindulging. Only then will your weight loss programme succeed in transforming you.
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