Now be honest. Hands up if you’ve ever successfully shed XYZ amount of fat, only for it to find its way back a little down the line.
If your arm is raised, you aren’t alone.
You see, it’s one thing to lose weight (or, more specifically, fat), but managing to lose weight for good is quite a different ball game.
The problem? Non-sustainable diets that encourage unhealthy habits (such as removing entire food groups from your diet despite no evidence of a food intolerance).
Read: 8 mistakes people make trying to lose weight quickly.
Because the way most industry professionals see it: Cutting carbs, fat or any food group, for that matter, out of your diet is an unsustainable shortcut. Eventually, you’ll cave to a craving which could result in binge eating, which over time could result in you regaining the fat you lost.
However, it isn’t just a lack of willpower that’ll see the return of the fat. You’ll be relieved to know that there’s actually a biological reason that you may be struggling to lose weight for good: Your body weight set point.
“Diets advocate restriction and are founded on the idea that you just need the willpower to lose the weight,” says Dr Nick Fuller, the University of Sydney and author of Interval Weight Loss. “We all know that a large weight change is possible through dietary restriction, however, your body is far smarter than we give it credit for and will always return accurately to its starting point. Eventually, the weight will come creeping back.”
But the silver lining: There is a healthy way to lose weight for good that works in tandem with a healthy social life.
Let’s break it down…
- WHY YOU MIGHT BE STRUGGLING TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD
- HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD:THE INTERVAL WEIGHT LOSS PLAN
- WHAT TO EAT TO HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD
- How can I lose weight for good?
- How can I tell which diets are safe and healthy?
- How can exercise help me lose and maintain weight?
- 10 tips for successful weight loss
WHY YOU MIGHT BE STRUGGLING TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD
In brief, your body weight set point is the weight at which your body feels most comfortable. It’s the number of kgs you’ve weighed for the longest time in your adult life, and it’s the reason that, while you may be able to lose fat quite easily, you might struggle to lose weight for good.
“Anyone can lose weight,” says Dr Fuller. “However, you could find it hard to keep it off because your body starts to work differently when you lose weight. Your metabolism (the amount of energy burnt at rest) will decrease and your appetite hormones will change (telling you to eat more),” he says, meaning regaining weight is highly likely. Sorry.
“Your body weight set point is great news for people trying to maintain their weight day-to-day, but this area of the brain (the hypothalamus, which is responsible for your weight largely staying the same over time) works against us when we try and shed the kilos,” he adds. “This is the result of human evolution. What once was beneficial for survival during periods when food was scarce is no longer required; our evolutionary propensity for weight gain dominates over a sustained loss.”
So, the killer question: How do you lose weight for good?
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD:
THE INTERVAL WEIGHT LOSS PLAN
Ever heard of Interval Weight Loss? Unlike many fad diets, it doesn’t encourage restrictive eating.
Instead, it promotes consuming wholesome food sources that provide necessary nutrients and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
“We have been taught that restriction is the key to weight loss success but this is the exact opposite of what someone should be doing when attempting to lose weight for good, and you certainly shouldn’t exclude foods altogether,” says Dr Fuller. “Interval Weight Loss (IWL) is not a diet. It’s a scientifically proven plan that helps you rediscover – or discover for the first time – your optimal weight. It allows a person to redefine their ‘set point’ so that they can achieve a lower body weight and stay there.”
The programme is perhaps a little more complicated than others upon the first introduction, however, thanks to its anti-restriction vibe it’s pretty easy to put into action.
In short, the idea is to lose a small amount of weight over the period of one month. Dr Fuller recommends 0.5kg per week or 2kg total, but it generally depends on your starting weight and fat loss goals.
“You are then are required to maintain that weight loss for the second month, before being allowed to go on and lose additional weight (another 2kg-odd) in the third month, and so on, until you reach your goal weight or body fat percentage,” says Dr Fuller. “This allows the body to have rest periods every second month and prevents the usual response to weight loss, letting the body get used to its new set point along the way,” ergo: Sustainable weight loss.
And the best news? No need to cancel dinners out or only eat grilled protein and steamed green vegetables.
“You can include all foods (yes, including carbs and chocolate),” says Dr Fuller, “but some foods need to go in the ‘occasional’ or ‘treat’ category of once per week.”
Whilst the plan is predominately food-focussed it does encourage activity which – as we know – is key for long-term fat loss, not to mention general health. However, what you won’t find is an unrealistic exercise regime.
“The Interval Weight Loss Plan encourages people to mix up the activities and intensities they are doing during the weight loss months, and reduce the intensity and variety – instead of focusing on adherence to their exercise plan – during the weight maintenance months,” Fuller adds.
So on your weight loss months, book in classes and smoothies with your friends. The following month, switch to a dinner out and let your fancy choose your food.
WHAT TO EAT TO HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD
Sold? Here’s what a week’s worth of eating looks like during a weight loss month on the IWL plan. Recipes can be found in Interval Weight Loss (£9.99, Amazon).
Day 1: Monday
Breakfast: 2 poached, soft-boiled or fried eggs on 2 slices of wholegrain toast, with avocado, milk-based coffee and 250 ml water.
Morning snack: Low-fat yoghurt (natural or flavoured) with 250 ml water.
Lunch: Pumpkin couscous and 250 ml water.
Afternoon snack: Celery or carrot sticks with beetroot dip or beetroot hummus with 250 ml water.
Dinner: Spicy meatball and broccoli pasta.
Day 2: Tuesday
Breakfast: Oats with cinnamon, yoghurt and berries on top, milk-based coffee and 250 ml water.
Morning snack: 1 slice of wholegrain toast with peanut butter or jam and 250 ml water.
Lunch: Salad made from rocket, avocado, cherry or grape tomatoes, tinned tuna or salmon, and a drizzle of olive oil, wholegrain crackers and 250 ml water.
Afternoon snack: Handful of unsalted dry-roasted or raw nuts, a piece of fruit and 250 ml water.
Dinner: Greek-style lamb sliders.
Day 3: Wednesday
Breakfast: 2 slices of wholegrain toast with avocado, no-fat or low-fat yoghurt (natural or flavoured) and 250 ml water.
Morning snack: Milk-based coffee, a piece of fruit and 250 ml water.
Lunch: Chicken and salad wholegrain sandwich (this can be bought from a sandwich shop if it is made on the spot so that you
can control what goes in it) and 250 ml water.
Afternoon snack: Boiled egg with a slice of wholegrain toast and 250 ml water.
Dinner: Japanese-inspired salmon.
Day 4: Thursday
Breakfast: Breakfast smoothie, a slice of wholegrain toast with honey or jam and 250 ml water.
Morning snack: Milk-based coffee and 250 ml water.
Lunch: Tinned tuna on 2 slices of wholegrain bread or toast and 250 ml water.
Afternoon snack: Handful of mixed nuts and seeds and 250 ml water.
Dinner: Roast lamb with roast sweet potato, squash and courgette.
Day 5: Friday
Breakfast: No-fat or low-fat yoghurt (natural or flavoured) with a piece of fruit and 250 ml water.
Morning snack: Milk-based coffee, a handful of nuts and seeds and 250 ml water.
Lunch: Tuna or salmon and salad wholegrain sandwich and 250 ml water.
Afternoon snack: Chopped carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter and 250 ml water.
Dinner: Barbecued or grilled steak with green salad.
Day 6: Saturday
Breakfast: 2 eggs with avocado on 2 slices of wholegrain toast, tea or milk-based coffee and 250 ml water.
Morning snack: Smoothie and 250 ml water.
Lunch: Grilled beef, aubergine and pomegranate salad and 250 ml water.
Afternoon snack: Natural yoghurt with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and 250 ml water.
Dinner: Takeaway or dinner out – this can be classified as your ‘treat’ meal and therefore no restrictions apply.
Day 7: Sunday
Breakfast: 2-egg omelette (including diced pepper, spring onions, parsley, spinach and mushrooms) with 2 slices of wholegrain toast, tea or milk-based coffee and 250 ml water.
Morning snack: Fruit bowl with berries, chopped seasonal fruit, no-fat or low-fat yogurt, and ground cinnamon sprinkled on top, milk-based coffee and 250 ml water.
Lunch: Roast chicken (skin removed) and salad with 250 ml water.
Afternoon snack: 1 slice of wholegrain toast with your spread of choice and 250 ml water.
Dinner: Pumpkin, tomato and ginger soup.
Evening snack: 1 row of dark chocolate.
Whilst you’re here, you might like to read up on how you can lose fat without doing workouts.
Your weight can make a difference to your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Being obese (having a BMI of 30 or greater) is a risk factor, but weight is also linked to other conditions like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, which can also increase your risk of CHD.
If you’re not sure if you need to lose weight, calculating your BMI can be a good starting point and help you work out whether you are at an appropriate weight for your height. Check your waist circumference too as your body shape is also important. Carrying too much weight around our middle increases risk, even if your BMI is within the healthy range.
When it comes to getting the weight off, everyone wants to lose weight quickly, and there are many diets out there promising instant results. But while they might work in the short term, more often than not they are difficult to stick to and so the weight quickly comes back on.
When choosing a diet look out for some of these common diet myths and fads to help you spot the types of crash diets that are best avoided.
How can I lose weight for good?
We asked Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, for her top tips for losing weight in a healthy way:
‘While any weight loss will require a change to eating habits, it shouldn’t mean missing out on nutrients or cutting out whole food groups. Aim for regular meals and a balanced diet but also take care with your portion sizes. You might be eating a healthy balance of foods, just too much of it. Changes to your food aren’t the only thing to consider either. The most effective weight loss approaches combine changes to diet with increased physical activity and also address some of your behaviours around food to help you understand your own eating pattern and responses to food at different times or in certain situations.
Diets that involve removing – or severely limiting – specific foods or food groups that are nutritionally important are not going to be a long-term solution. The more extreme high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets limit fruit, vegetables and fibre, particularly in the early stages, while faddy diets based on single foods (cabbage soup, anyone?) involve eating a lot of one type of food and not much of others. Some diets also drastically limit calorie intake so you get results fast. However, a very low-calorie intake can leave you tired and hungry, so you give up, regaining the weight as quickly as it came off.
National guidelines recommend that, for sustainable weight loss, a reduction in calorie intake of about 600 a day is needed. This could lead to a weekly weight loss of around 0.5kg (1lb). While it may not sound a great deal next to the promises of many quick-fix diets, it allows you to incorporate healthy eating habits into your lifestyle permanently, so you’re more likely to keep it off for good.’
How can I tell which diets are safe and healthy?
If you are considering starting a diet, make sure that you have all the facts first, and always consult your GP before restricting or changing your diet.
Our expert tips on how to eat a balanced diet is a good place to start if you’re looking to improve your nutrition in general, ensure you’re getting key nutrients and perfect your portion sizes.
If you’re tempted to follow one of the many diets on the market, read the six things you should consider before starting a diet which explains how to spot an unsustainable or fad diet.
We’ve also looked into some of the most well-known plans in our popular diet guides. Read our analysis of the 5:2 diet, Paleo diet, Dukan diet, Atkins diet, Sirtfood diet, dopamine diet and many more.
Finally, if you’re looking for a balanced, healthy eating plan that is nutritionist-approved, sign up to our free Healthy Diet Plans. They’re a great way to kickstart healthy habits and try out delicious and nutritious recipes. We bring out a brand-new Healthy Diet Plan twice a year, plus plenty of extra recipes, fitness tips and healthy eating inspiration – and if you sign up, you’ll get this all sent straight to your inbox.
How can exercise help me lose and maintain weight?
Staying fit and active is important for overall health, and can help you to lose excess weight in combination with a balanced diet. Read our top exercise tips for weight loss and learn about the relationship between fitness and fat burning, plus how many calories you’ll burn through different activities.
If you’re a beginner who is looking to take your first steps in fitness, find out how to exercise for free and how to workout at home to discover simple and cheap ways to increase your activity levels.
We’ve got plenty of tips to help you fuel your fitness, too. Discover what to eat for different types of workouts, including yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), endurance training or aerobic activities. If you’re into running, cycling or swimming, our expert fitness tips will help you to get the most out of every session.
Six things you should consider before starting a diet
How to eat a balanced diet
10 common diet myths – busted
More health and nutrition inspiration
For more information on heart health visit The British Heart Foundation website.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
Have you successfully lost weight or are you trying to? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Everyone knows the keys to losing weight — eat less and exercise more. Sounds simple enough, but in the context of real life and its demands, it can be anything but simple. So how do successful losers do it?
1. Drink plenty of water or other calorie-free beverages.
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. So you can end up eating extra calories when an ice-cold glass of water is really what you need.
“If you don’t like plain water, try adding citrus or a splash of juice, or brew infused teas like mango or peach, which have lots of flavor but no calories,” says Cynthia Sass, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
2. Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you should take away.
Start by focusing on getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
“It sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it, because at the same time you are meeting your fiber goals and feeling more satisfied from the volume of food,” says Chef Laura Pansiero, RD.
You’re also less likely to overeat because fruits and vegetables displace fat in the diet. And that’s not to mention the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. More than 200 studies have documented the disease-preventing qualities of phytochemicals found in produce, says Pansiero.
3. Consider whether you’re really hungry.
Whenever you feel like eating, look for physical signs of hunger, suggests Michelle May, MD, author of Am I Hungry? “Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you need fuel, so when a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it,” she says.
When you’re done eating, you should feel better — not stuffed, bloated, or tired. “Your stomach is only the size of your fist, so it takes just a handful of food to fill it comfortably,” says May.
Keeping your portions reasonable will help you get more in touch with your feelings of hunger and fullness.
4. Enjoy your favorite foods.
“I think putting your favorite foods off limits leads to weight gain because it triggers ‘rebound’ overeating,” says Sass.
Instead of cutting out your favorite foods altogether, be a slim shopper. Buy one fresh bakery cookie instead of a box, or a small portion of candy from the bulk bins instead of a whole bag.
“You can enjoy your favorite foods, but you must do so in moderation,” says Sass.
5. Eat several mini-meals during the day.
If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. But when you’re hungry all the time, eating fewer calories can be challenging.
“Studies show people who eat 4-5 meals or snacks per day are better able to control their appetite and weight,” says obesity researcher Rebecca Reeves, DrPH, RD.
She recommends dividing your daily calories into smaller meals or snacks and enjoying as many of them as you can early in the day — dinner should be the last time you eat.
6. Eat protein at every meal.
Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, and thus may be the new secret weapon in weight control.
“Diets higher in protein moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise, have an excellent potential to help weight loss,” says University of Illinois protein researcher Donald Layman, PhD.
Getting enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while keeping you feeling full. So be sure to include healthy protein sources, like yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans at meals and snacks.
7. Stock your kitchen with healthy convenience foods.
Having ready-to-eat snacks and meals-in-minutes staples on hand sets you up for success. You’ll be less likely to hit the drive-through or call in a pizza order if you can make a healthy meal in 5 or 10 minutes.
Here are some ideas for a healthy pantry:
- Fat-free microwave popcorn
- Frozen vegetables
- Bags of pre-washed greens
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Canned beans
- Whole-grain wraps or pitas
- Pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts
- A few containers of pre-cooked brown rice
8. Eat food in season.
“If you don’t love certain fruits or vegetables, it could be because you ate them out of season when they have little taste or flavor,” says Pensiero. “When you eat seasonally, fruits and vegetables are more flavorful, at their best, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
9. Swap a cup of pasta for a cup of vegetables.
Simply by eating less pasta or bread and more veggies, you could lose a dress or pants size in a year. “You can save from 100-200 calories if you reduce the portion of starch on your plate and increase the amount of vegetables,” says Sass.
10. Be physically active.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, don’t use exercise either to punish yourself for eating or to “earn” the right to eat more.
“When you do, it sets up a negative thought pattern, which is why so many people say they hate to exercise,” says May.
Instead, focus on how great you feel, how much better you sleep and how much more energy you have when you exercise. Physical activity is good for you whether you are trying to lose weight or not, so keep it positive and build a lifelong habit.
Eating healthy can be easy, affordable and delicious. It’s all about making smart choices to build an overall healthy dietary pattern.
After all, a healthy diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and lots of other things you’d rather avoid. The good news is, eating right doesn’t have to be hard or require you to give up all of the foods you love.
Here are some tips to help you and your family adopt a healthier eating style:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Fish (preferably oily fish with omega-3 fatty acids)
- Skinless poultry and lean animal proteins
- Plant-based proteins
- Sweetened drinks
- Sodium and salty foods
- Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol
- Fatty or processed red meats – if you choose to eat meat, select leaner cuts
- Refined carbohydrates like added sugars and processed grain foods
- Full-fat dairy products
- Tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil
- Trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils – found in some commercially baked and fried foods
We can help you make healthier choices:
- At home
- At work
- At the grocery store
- In restaurants
- Choose mindfully, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot.
- Read labels Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
- Watch your calories. To maintain a healthy weight, eat only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, take in fewer calories or burn more calories.
- Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served, especially when eating out.
- Cook and eat at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients and preparation methods.
- Look for the Heart-Check mark to easily identify foods that can be part of an overall healthy eating pattern.
- Healthy Swaps for Common Foods – Healthy home cooking and smart shopping puts you in control of what goes into your recipes and your body. Follow these healthy guidelines to update your eating style and improve your nutrition profile.
- Daily Tips to Help Your Family Eat Better – Try these daily tips that will help your family take a step-by-step approach to eating healthy.
- Food Diary – How to Keep Track of What You Eat – Learn how to keep track of what you eat in order to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
- Get Smart About Superfoods Infographic – So-called “superfoods” alone won’t make you healthier – but adding these nutritious foods to an already balanced diet can bring health benefits.
- Healthy Foods Under $1 Per Serving – Eating healthy on a budget can seem difficult; but it can be done! Being creative can help you stick to your budget and incorporate nutritious foods into your diet. Try these tips to incorporate some of these inexpensive foods into your weekly menu.
- Healthy Post-Play Snacks – All too often, kids are rewarded with unhealthy foods and sugary drinks and desserts, but there are lots of healthy choices that taste great!
- Healthy Snacks for Summer Vacation – By Devin Alexander – Chef for NBC’s Biggest Loser and author, Devin Alexander shares her personal perspective as a chef in this blog entry with great ideas for healthy snacks for the whole family to bring on their summer vacation or anywhere!
- How to Make Breakfast a Healthy Habit – Part of being Healthy for Good™ is creating simple daily habits you can stick with. One important habit that can help kick-start your day is eating a healthy breakfast. Think outside the (cereal) box with these quick and easy ideas.
- Is 3 Meals a Day the Only Way – The number of meals you eat may not be so important. How you eat those meals is what matters most when it comes to decreasing the risk of heart disease and other health problems that come along with being overweight.
- Organic Food Fact vs Perception – Many shoppers assume organic products are more nutritious and safer to eat, but these perceptions are based more on hype than hard science.
- 5 Tips to Deal with Picky Eaters (Both Kids & Adults) – Picky eaters can miss out on a lot of good food! Not only can it be challenging cooking for folks who refuse to eat some foods, but they can also miss out on important nutrients found in foods often on the I-Don’t-Eat list.
- 7 Excuses to Overindulge, and How to Take Control – Don’t let excuses get in the way of eating healthy! Check out our tips on breaking out of the scarfing cycle.
- Types of Whole Grains – While you may be familiar with brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread, there are lots of other tasty whole grain options.
10 tips for successful weight loss
People can lose weight and maintain this loss by taking several achievable steps. These include the following:
1. Eat varied, colorful, nutritionally dense foods
Share on PinterestEat a varied, nutritious diet.
Healthful meals and snacks should form the foundation of the human diet. A simple way to create a meal plan is to make sure that each meal consists of 50 percent fruit and vegetables, 25 percent whole grains, and 25 percent protein. Total fiber intake should be 25–30 grams (g) daily.
Eliminate trans fats from the diet, and minimize the intake of saturated fats, which has a strong link with the incidence of coronary heart disease.
Instead, people can consume monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are types of unsaturated fat.
The following foods are healthful and often rich in nutrients:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal
Foods to avoid eating include:
- foods with added oils, butter, and sugar
- fatty red or processed meats
- baked goods
- white bread
- processed foods
In some cases, removing certain foods from the diet might cause a person to become deficient in some necessary vitamins and minerals. A nutritionist, dietitian, or another healthcare professional can advise a person how to get enough nutrients while they are following a weight loss program.
2. Keep a food and weight diary
Self-monitoring is a critical factor in successfully losing weight. People can use a paper diary, mobile app, or dedicated website to record every item of food that they consume each day. They can also measure their progress by recording their weight on a weekly basis.
Those who can track their success in small increments and identify physical changes are much more likely to stick to a weight loss regimen.
People can also keep track of their body mass index (BMI) using a BMI calculator.
3. Engage in regular physical activity and exercise
Share on PinterestRegular physical activity can help a person lose weight.
Regular exercise is vital for both physical and mental health. Increasing the frequency of physical activity in a disciplined and purposeful way is often crucial for successful weight loss.
One hour of moderate-intensity activity per day, such as brisk walking, is ideal. If one hour per day is not possible, the Mayo Clinic suggests that a person should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes every week.
People who are not usually physically active should slowly increase the amount of exercise that they do and gradually increase its intensity. This approach is the most sustainable way to ensure that regular exercise becomes a part of their lifestyle.
In the same way that recording meals can psychologically help with weight loss, people may also benefit from keeping track of their physical activity. Many free mobile apps are available that track a person’s calorie balance after they log their food intake and exercise.
If the thought of a full workout seems intimidating to someone who is new to exercise, they can begin by doing the following activities to increase their exercise levels:
- taking the stairs
- raking leaves
- walking a dog
- playing outdoor games
- parking farther away from a building entrance
Individuals who have a low risk of coronary heart disease are unlikely to require medical assessment ahead of starting an exercise regimen.
However, prior medical evaluation may be advisable for some people, including those with diabetes. Anyone who is unsure about safe levels of exercise should speak to a healthcare professional.
4. Eliminate liquid calories
It is possible to consume hundreds of calories a day by drinking sugar-sweetened soda, tea, juice, or alcohol. These are known as “empty calories” because they provide extra energy content without offering any nutritional benefits.
Unless a person is consuming a smoothie to replace a meal, they should aim to stick to water or unsweetened tea and coffee. Adding a splash of fresh lemon or orange to water can provide flavor.
Avoid mistaking dehydration for hunger. An individual can often satisfy feelings of hunger between scheduled meal times with a drink of water.
5. Measure servings and control portions
Eating too much of any food, even low-calorie vegetables, can result in weight gain.
Therefore, people should avoid estimating a serving size or eating food directly from the packet. It is better to use measuring cups and serving size guides. Guessing leads to overestimating and the likelihood of eating a larger-than-necessary portion.
The following size comparisons can be useful for monitoring food intake when dining out:
- three-fourths of a cup is a golf ball
- one-half of a cup is a tennis ball
- 1 cup is a baseball
- 1 ounce (oz) of nuts is a loose handful
- 1 teaspoon is 1 playing die
- 1 tablespoon is a thumb tip
- 3 oz of meat is a deck of cards
- 1 slice is a DVD
These sizes are not exact, but they can help a person moderate their food intake when the correct tools are not available.
6. Eat mindfully
Many people benefit from mindful eating, which involves being fully aware of why, how, when, where, and what they eat.
Making more healthful food choices is a direct outcome of becoming more in tune with the body.
People who practice mindful eating also try to eat more slowly and savor their food, concentrating on the taste. Making a meal last for 20 minutes allows the body to register all of the signals for satiety.
It is important to focus on being satisfied after a meal rather than full and to bear in mind that many “all natural” or low-fat foods are not necessarily a healthful choice.
People can also consider the following questions regarding their meal choice:
- Is it good “value” for the calorie cost?
- Will it provide satiety?
- Are the ingredients healthful?
- If it has a label, how much fat and sodium does it contain?
7. Stimulus and cue control
Many social and environmental cues might encourage unnecessary eating. For example, some people are more likely to overeat while watching television. Others have trouble passing a bowl of candy to someone else without taking a piece.
By being aware of what may trigger the desire to snack on empty calories, people can think of ways to adjust their routine to limit these triggers.
8. Plan ahead
Stocking a kitchen with diet-friendly foods and creating structured meal plans will result in more significant weight loss.
People looking to lose weight or keep it off should clear their kitchen of processed or junk foods and ensure that they have the ingredients on hand to make simple, healthful meals. Doing this can prevent quick, unplanned, and careless eating.
Planning food choices before getting to social events or restaurants might also make the process easier.
Share on PinterestHaving social support is a great way to stay motivated.
Embracing the support of loved ones is an integral part of a successful weight loss journey.
Some people may wish to invite friends or family members to join them, while others might prefer to use social media to share their progress.
Other avenues of support may include:
- a positive social network
- group or individual counseling
- exercise clubs or partners
- employee-assistance programs at work
10. Stay positive
Weight loss is a gradual process, and a person may feel discouraged if the pounds do not drop off at quite the rate that they had anticipated.
Some days will be harder than others when sticking to a weight loss or maintenance program. A successful weight-loss program requires the individual to persevere and not give up when self-change seems too difficult.
Some people might need to reset their goals, potentially by adjusting the total number of calories they are aiming to eat or changing their exercise patterns.
The important thing is to keep a positive outlook and be persistent in working toward overcoming the barriers to successful weight loss.