Obesity has many causes. It also has many solutions. Numerous people struggle in their attempt to lose weight. Whilst weight loss is always a challenge it should never be an unwinnable battle. With the help of the following suggestions it is possible to begin losing those excess pounds.
At its simplest weight loss occurs when your energy intake is exceeded by your energy expenditure. The traditional method of weight loss has as a result tended to focus on counting calories. Whilst this approach can be effective many people find that they cannot adhere to calorie counting over the longer term. A more sensible approach to losing weight is to gradually implement changes to your lifestyle that can be maintained for life. Those who are able to do this will not only lose weight but will increase the likelihood that the weight loss will be permanent.
There are two key elements in the weight loss equation that need to be examined – 1) what you eat, and 2) what you do. I will examine each briefly.
What do you eat each day? How much of it do you eat? What is the fat content of the food that you eat? What is the caloric content of your diet? These are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself if you are attempting to lose weight. It is often useful to keep a diary of everything that you eat. This will allow you to better answer some of the questions above. You may be surprised by what you consume over the course of a week.
There are a number of ways to reduce your energy input. Ultimately, your caloric intake will need to be restricted. This can be done by reducing portion size or by eating foods that are less energy dense. Foods that are energy dense include “fast food” such as hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza etc. Whilst less energy dense foods include vegetables, fruits and cereals etc. Energy dense foods are also often high in fat. By reducing your intake of food with a high caloric value and replacing it with food containing a lower caloric value you will reduce your daily consumption of calories. A good resource for those losing weight are the calorie counter guides that can be bought in any bookstore. These will give you a better idea of the energy content of various foods.
It is not necessary to strictly monitor the calories you eat if you eat sensibly. Your diet should be varied. It should consist mainly of fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, grains, and legumes. You should eat moderate amounts of dairy foods with low fat milk and cheese being eaten wherepossible. Meat, eggs and nuts should be eaten sparingly. Meat should only ever account for 10-20% of a meal. A good rule of thumb for gauging how much meat to include in a meal is that the piece of meat on your plate should be no larger than the palm of your hand. As long as your diet is reasonably healthy there is no reason why you cannot have the occasional treat if you so desire and still be able to lose weight. A good approach here is to reserve one meal a week as your fast food fix’. This will allow you to satisfy any cravings that you have. I would caution you to be sensible though. Consuming your usual daily calorie intake in a single meal is never a good idea!
2) Energy Expenditure
The most effective way to lose weight is to combine diet with exercise. It does not matter what form of exercise you choose so long as you regularly get up and move around. Consistency is the key. Four hours of exercise followed by a fortnight of inactivity will not help you lose weight. It is far better to go for a half hour walk every day and do this consistently. You should try and find a physical activity that you enjoy doing. If you can do this you are more likely to stick to an exercise routine. You are also more likely to increase your chance of success if you gradually ease in to an exercise program. It is unrealistic to expect to be able to complete a marathon if you have not moved off the sofa for the past decade. If your lifestyle has been fairly sedentary it is wise to start with about half an hour of exercise each day. This can be increased by 5-10 minutes each week until you are completing an hour of exercise per day.
Many people find it difficult to make the time to exercise. If this is the case you will need to take the opportunity to exercise whenever it arises. When you go to work you could leave ten minutes earlier and park ten minutes further away. This would give you an extra twenty minutes of walking per day. You could also routinely take the stairs rather than the elevator. I personally enjoy getting out of the office at lunch and going for a fifty minute walk. It gets me away from my desk, allows me to relax and I come back refreshed and ready for an afternoon of work. At home, there is nothing stopping you from exercising when you watch TV. Many people enjoy watching their favorite show whilst using an exercise bike or a treadmill. Even if you have no equipment you could still be doing pushups, crunches and other body weight exercises in the commercials. The bottom line is that you will find the time to exercise if losing weight is important to you.
Losing weight is less about fad diets and more about sustainable lifestyle choices. If you eat sensibly, don’t over indulge in junk food, and exercise moderately, you are well on your way to losing weight. By using this approach it is possible to lose a pound or more a week. This may not sound spectacular but those pounds add up. Before you know it you will have met your goals and lost a substantial amount of weight.