Everyone wants to know the secret to weight loss. Well, I’ll tell you. The secret is changing your habits. It’s that simple. There are no fad diets or magic pills that will allow you to safely and effectively lose weight and keep it off.
The key to successful and healthy weight loss is balance. It’s about balancing the energy – or food – you take in with the amount of energy you burn. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
You can also help balance the scales by exercising to burn off extra calories. I like to eat. I especially enjoy snacks that may not be the best choices. I know that they come at a price. I will need to put in extra time exercising to burn off those added calories.
Here are some tips to help you find balance and lose weight the safe way:
Forget about short cuts
For many of us, it really is a matter of changing our mindset. There is no easy solution to losing weight and keeping it off. There are no shortcuts. It takes consistency. It means eating a healthy diet and exercising for the rest of our lives. Once you change your outlook, you’ll realize that finding a healthy balance is the only way to achieve long-term success.
Reduce your calories
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you are taking in. However, don’t cut your daily calorie intake below 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men. While you may lose weight more rapidly at first, it will eventually backfire on you. Your body will go into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism. You may also become deficient in important vitamins and minerals.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories than most meats, snack foods and pre-packaged foods. By eating fresh fruits and veggies, you will be less inclined to eat those unhealthy foods, and you will be able to reduce your calorie intake.
Chose whole grains
Whole-grain cereals, breads and pastas are much more healthy for you than processed foods. They contain fewer empty calories. Whole grains also add fiber to your diet which is good for your cholesterol, blood pressure and digestion.
You can eat fats, but it should be the right type. Saturated and trans fats can contribute to weight gain and should be left out of your diet. These fats are found in fried foods, potato chips and snack foods. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that can help you lose weight. These good fats are found in olive oil, salmon, nuts and avocados.
It’s okay to snack. You can eat three smaller meals a day and add in regular healthy snacks to keep you from getting hungry and making poor food choices. Eating at more regular intervals actually helps keep your metabolism working steadily so that you burn calories more efficiently.
Go with water
Drinking empty calories just adds to your daily caloric intake. If you avoid sodas, juices, sports drinks, and any sweetened beverages, you have more calories you can use for healthy, filling foods. Drink water, skim-milk or flavored waters with natural sweeteners to avoid adding unnecessary calories.
Get more exercise
Like we mentioned earlier, you can burn off more calories with exercise. It’s recommended to get 30 to 60 minutes a day to promote weight loss. Try to find activities you enjoy doing. I don’t like to run, so I don’t have much success when I try to start an exercise routine that focuses on running. I do like to play sports, such as volleyball and softball. I also like to bike, walk and do aerobics in the swimming pool. By finding ways to exercise that you find fun, you are more likely to keep at it.
Building muscles can help you burn more calories because muscle burns more than fat. Start lifting weights or doing other strength training exercises. You’ll not only become more toned and fit, you’ll also increase your metabolism and lose more weight.
Work in cardio
Make sure you are getting your heart rate up when you exercise. The simplest way to get the heart pumping is to run. However, you can also do a cycling class, swim, take a Zumba or kickboxing class, or play tennis. Giving your heart a workout helps you burn calories and lose weight.
Mix it up
One of the keys to maintaining a successful exercise routine is to continue to mix things up. Doing the same thing over and over can get monotonous. Add in new types of exercise. You may also be able to modify your routine based on the season. For example, go ice skating in the winter and rollerblading in the summer. Play tennis when it’s nice outdoors and racquetball on cold or rainy days. Try new things and mix it up!
I know we all wish there were an easy way to lose weight and keep it off. It comes down to balancing a healthy diet with plenty of exercise. Do you have any tips to help others lose weight safely and effectively?