(Is there one?)
The title caught your eye, right? Many people (ourselves included) are eager to learn any tricks to healthy weight loss. Because let’s face it—whether we tend to pack on a few extra pounds around the holidays, find it hard to fit enough exercise into in our busy lives, do our best to keep stress eating at bay, or battle significant extra bulge, weight is something that a majority of Americans struggle to manage. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 70.7 percent of adults aged 20 and older are overweight or obese.
So what’s the trick to losing weight, STAT?
Healthy Diets To Lose Weight Fast
There are plenty of ways to lose weight fast. The problem is, most of them lack staying power. Fast, healthy weight loss is generally a misnomer, in that a truly healthy approach to achieving one’s optimal weight involves slow, steady weight loss and a long-term strategy for nutritious eating, paired with exercise. It’s cliché but true: the only real trick to healthy, sustained weight loss is through lifestyle changes with a focus on eating right and exercising regularly.
There are an endless number of fad deprivation diets that promise quick and easy results. And the problems with them are many. For one, losing more than one or two pounds each week can sap your energy. On the flip side, people who lose weight at that slow and steady rate have better success keeping it off over time. Fad diets often see a rebound effect, where cravings kick in and bingeing is common. When weight loss occurs too quickly, it is usually water loss or even muscle loss, rather than fat, which is hardly ideal. Fad diets can also deny your body critical nutrients.
Instead of hopping on the fad weight loss diet bandwagon, be patient with yourself and your weight loss goals in order to see payoff that lasts.
Healthy Diets To Lose Weight
OK, the fad diets are out the window. But how can you make weight loss happen, and make it stick? The best approach is multi-faceted. First, revamp your eating in a healthy way.
- Take an honest look at how many calories you consume daily, and cut back just a bit. Generally, to lose one to two pounds per week, you’ll want to reduce your daily calories by 500-1000.
- Choose healthy foods, including plenty of lean protein, fiber, healthy fats, fresh vegetables and fruits,and whole grains.
- Kick the junk food habit, and limit or eliminate highly-processed foods and added sugars. Don’t waste your calorie count on foods with no nutritional value, and that can easily cause spikes in blood sugar or cravings that lead you to blow your healthy eating plan. And remember, drinks like soda and alcohol all contribute to your caloric intake.
- Supplement your diet with high-quality protein or meal replacement shakes. While you’ll want to get a majority of your calories from real, whole foods, a daily protein or meal replacement shake is a great way to help reduce calories while providing critical protein and nutrients. What’s more, you can easily take it to go, therefore keeping good nutrition close at hand and avoiding the urge to reach for unhealthy snacks. A BlenderBottle® shaker cup is an ideal tool to support your healthy eating plan; plus, we offer a wide variety of delicious, nutritious protein shake recipes.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Your body needs fuel to perform at its best throughout the day. Additionally, if you limit or skip breakfast or lunch, for example, you’re far more likely to overeat at dinner. Rather than skipping meals entirely to reduce calorie count, cut down on portion sizes a little at each meal. Or, eat a healthy breakfast, supplement with a shake at lunchtime and a few small snacks throughout the day, and finish up with a healthy, portion-appropriate dinner.
- Read food labels so that you understand what you’re putting into your body, and the associated calories per serving.
- Drink plenty of water—both to stay healthily hydrated and to help you feel full.
Other Important Strategies to Achieve and Maintain Healthy Weight
We mentioned that healthy weight loss requires a multi-faceted approach. In addition to eating right, exercise is key. And, ultimately, it’s also important to assess and address any triggers that lead to overeating and weight gain.
Daily exercise has a myriad of health benefits, in addition to weight loss. And while exercise can seem daunting and intimidating—embarrassing, even—to anyone carrying significant extra weight, it will pay off and become part of a comfortable routine over time. The CDC recommends that a healthy and sustainable weight loss plan include 60-90 minutes of moderate to intense exercise, most days. Once you begin to lose weight, you’ll begin to reap the rewards through improved energy and health, and exercise will start to feel easier and even fun.
When you’re ready for harder training, or if you’re already active and looking to shed a few pounds, high-intensity intervals are the best way to burn fat. Also be sure to include strength training in your routine, to counter any muscle mass lost in your quest to drop weight.
Finally—and perhaps most importantly—take a good look at your life and your habits to determine the triggers that lead to weight gain in the first place. Are you an emotional eater, using food to fill a void or to counter depression? Do you turn to food to feel better when stressed or anxious? Do you use food as a reward, perhaps too frequently? It’s important to assess and understand your relationship with food in order to take control of its place in your life, rather than letting food control you. Food is meant to be the healthy fuel that enables us to live full and active lives, yet it’s all too easy for food to become an unhealthy emotional or stress-soothing crutch. If that’s the case for you—as it is for many others—do your best to address the underlying issues in order to help reconfigure a healthy relationship with food.
Above all else, be patient with yourself, and don’t hesitate to seek help—whether from a nutritionist, to nail down a specific healthy eating plan, or from a counselor, to find support in working through any underlying issues. It can be tough, at first, to adopt new and healthy lifestyle changes. But like any habit, once you get in the swing of eating healthy and exercising regularly, these changes will become your new norm. And with the weight loss and feel-good energy gains you’re likely to notice, you’ll soon embrace a healthy lifestyle like never before.
What additional tips do you have for healthy, sustainable weight loss? Share your success stories in the comments below.