Planning on finally losing (and keeping off) the excess weight that you have been trying to get rid of?
Initially, things may seem confusing to you. One point of contention many people get stuck in is whether they should go on a diet or start exercising.
Exercising is not enough
Fitness experts commonly say that you cannot outrun a bad diet. This simply means that no matter how hard you work in the gym, if you are on a bad diet, you won’t be able to see much results.
When your focus is solely on exercising, you might see results during the first few weeks or even months. However, after seeing those positive changes, you will eventually hit a plateau where the results begin slowly trickling in, until eventually, you observe none. In fact, it is not unusual for some regular exercisers to gain more weight than they initially lost.
One reason is that exercising stimulates your appetite. And when you are hungry after a tiring run outdoors or a challenging workout session in the gym, you can end up eating more. Often, avid gym rats rationalize their excess consumption of food by saying that they deserve to eat what they want after their hard work.
Small steps, big results
How do you modify your diet when your goal is to lose weight?
Before anything else, you should begin by setting clear, measurable, and achievable goals for yourself. You cannot create new habits and eliminate bad ones if you do not change how you think about and approach nutrition.
Next, you need to educate yourself, especially when it comes to portion control, nutrient content, and food labels.
Once you have successfully undertaken these steps, you can then begin to make small changes in your diet.
Here are good steps to consider:
Add more protein to your diet
Protein is beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight for a number of reasons.
For starters, increasing your consumption of this macronutrient helps you burn more calories while your body is at rest. At the same time, increasing your protein intake helps curb your appetite. Finally, proteins are vital for building muscles and strengthening bones.
When you are starting out, focus your attention on lean meats, fish, and veggies. From there, add other sources of proteins like eggs, dairy, seafood, legumes, and beans.
Sounds simple, right? Not for some people who skip this important meal altogether. But what should you eat?
Instead of cereals which are loaded with sugar and carbs, eat eggs. Eggs are the perfect breakfast meal because they contain vital nutrients like protein and fat.
If eggs are not available, you can swap other protein-packed foods for your breakfast.
Don’t be afraid of fats and oils
Fats and oils have earned a bad reputation in recent years. However, not all kinds of fats and oils are bad for you.
In fact, there are good ones that you should add to your diet. These include olive oil and avocado oil as well as whole nuts.
Avoid consuming trans fats and vegetable oils which contain high levels of omega-6. These fats and oils cause oxidative damage as well as increase inflammation in your body. In turn, these can increase your risk for life-threatening diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Avoid sugary drinks
A lot of health experts pinpoint sugar as one of the worst foods that you can consume. However, sugar in liquid form can do more damage, and you must banish this from your diet.
Swap out bad carbs for the good ones
Carbs are not necessarily bad. You just have to know which ones are good and which ones are harmful.
As much as possible, avoid processed sugar and carbs. Food products made with dwarf wheat, in particular, provide little nutritional value. You’ll fare better by consuming more fruits and veggies, potatoes, rice, oats, and legumes.
Apart from making the switch to good carbs, you should also know how much of these you should consume. That will vary from person to person and one’s activity level.
If you lead an active lifestyle and exercise regularly, you do not have to limit your intake of carbohydrates. On the other hand, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, limiting your carb intake can be highly beneficial for you. That means eating around 50 to 100 grams daily. Once you have lost a significant amount of weight, you can slowly increase your carb intake.
Banish processed foods from your cupboard
Processed foods like sweets, soda, and chips are delicious, if not downright addicting. However, they pose serious harm to your health and can be a significant stumbling block to the road to weight loss.
It will be easier for you to resist the temptation to feast on these if you keep your home free from such items.
Instead of eating these foods, consume high-quality and nutritious meals made with real ingredients.
It would also be helpful to identify and understand your food triggers which compel you to go into a mindless snacking mode.
It should go without saying that you should not rely solely on dieting if your goal is to lose and keep your excess weight off. It should not be a matter of either/or.
Exercise, by itself, cannot help you lose a substantial amount of weight. However, it can change your body composition by enabling you to gain more muscles. Apart from that, regular exercise has been known to provide a diverse array of benefits, from elevating your mood to strengthening bones and muscles.
Ideally, you should perform a combination of cardio and resistance-based exercises. However, if you are starting out, any type of movement can be beneficial. It can be as simple as walking or biking to work or gardening or even playing a favorite sport. Choose an activity that you love and think that you can perform regularly. Remember, the best exercise is the one that you do.
Trust the process
Losing weight is by no means a quick and easy process. Early on, you might face some struggles. But if you embrace and trust the process and keep at it, implementing even the smallest of changes in your lifestyle, you will find success later on.