From pre-packaged shakes to calorie trackers, there is a whole industry of diet accouterments. But the truth is, most experts recommend a gradual weight loss plan that is sustainable for the long term.
The first step in a sustainable and realistic weight loss plan is choosing an overall diet that fits your preferences. And that includes giving yourself some leeway at social gatherings.
Sustainable weight loss involves creating a healthy diet and lifestyle you can maintain over the long term. This usually means eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, avoiding processed and sugary foods, and getting regular physical activity.
When setting your goals in a weight loss journey, be realistic about what you can achieve. Many dietitians and exercise scientists recommend losing about a pound or two weekly. This is an achievable goal; you can work up to it by making gradual changes over time.
It’s also important to be realistic about your motivation. Try to think of the reasons why losing weight is important to you and post these somewhere as a daily reminder. This can help keep you on track when you’re tempted to indulge or skip exercise.
Discovering a support system is another approach to staying motivated. This might be as easy as finding a weight loss-focused organization to join or asking a friend or family member to support you in your efforts. You may be held responsible by weighing yourself frequently and tracking your food and fitness advancements.
Once you have your end weight loss plan goal in mind, the next step is to create a detailed plan for how to get there. Sustainable weight loss requires healthy lifestyle changes, including a nutritious diet and regular physical activity.
Creating a meal plan is easy to help you stick to a healthy diet. Ensure to include healthy snacks so you don’t feel tempted to eat unhealthy foods when hungry. Healthy snack options like slices of apples with peanut butter or carrots and hummus are inexpensive, convenient, and nutritious.
Another great way to stick with your plan is to find a support system. Choose a friend or family member who will cheer you on and provide motivation when needed.
One of the biggest reasons many people fall off the weight loss wagon is that they don’t have the time or energy to prepare healthy meals. To help avoid this, create a schedule and stick to it. Decide on specific times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and try to eat at those times every day. It may also be helpful to include a snack and even a treat in your schedule to keep you from getting too hungry or overeating later on. Please also stick to your exercise routine, varying the types of workouts you do each day to make it more fun and work different parts of your body.
A key component of a sustainable weight loss plan is sticking to it. This means making healthy lifestyle changes you can sustain over time, including regular physical activity and a balanced diet.
This doesn’t mean cutting out all of your favorite foods – in fact, doing so can make dieting more difficult and unsustainable. Instead, try to eat healthily 80% of the time and let yourself indulge in the other 20%.
Another great way to stick to your plan is to plan and prepare your meals in advance. This can help you avoid impulse eating and ensure you have a healthy option when you’re hungry. It’s also important to avoid skipping meals or going too long between snacks. This can lead to low blood sugar levels, triggering hunger and cravings for high-calorie foods like donuts or cake.
People often rely on family members and friends to provide support when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes. This could include helping prepare healthy meals or joining a weight loss group. Other options include visiting a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, or using an online therapy service.
If you want your loved ones to offer emotional support:
They likely aren't intentionally being unsupportive, and you can still be there for them by asking directly for what you need.
Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of serious health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis. It can also help ease the joint burden, reduce chronic back pain, and improve sleep quality. The key is to make gradual, sustainable improvements to your daily routines. For example, setting a goal to drink more water instead of sugary beverages and eating vegetables with each meal is a great way to start.