Everyone wants to be healthy and fit, but sticking to a strict weight loss program can be tough. Luckily, weight loss and fitness can be both easy and fun, and you don’t have to make big sacrifices to reach your goals. These 6 tips will help you to create a personal weight loss program that’s realistic and suited for your needs. Say good-bye to commercial weight loss programs for women. You need a plan of your own.
Eat often. Eat a healthy snack or a small meal roughly every 3 hours. Eating often helps to keep your metabolism up, which means that your body is continuously burning calories. If you think you have to starve yourself to lose weight, think again: when you don’t eat, your body goes into starvation mode, holding onto its extra fat instead of burning it away. So it may seem counterintuitive, but you have to eat–and eat often–to lose weight.
Keep a food diary. If you’re not sure where your calories are coming from, keeping a food diary or using an app to track your meals and their calorie content helps you stay aware of what’s going into your body. This is especially useful in the beginning of your weight loss program, when you are finding ways to make adjustments in your diet. You may be surprised how many calories add up from your daily lattes and morning muffins. However, don’t obsess over calorie-counting because obsessing over your weight is unhealthy in itself. Rather, simply observe your choices without self-judgment, and be mindful of how you can make better ones.
Choose wisely. Figure out ways to make your favorite meals healthier. Bake fish in the oven instead of frying it. Substitute homemade salad dressing made with olive oil and balsamic vinegar in place of a processed, store-bought dressing. Keep a supply of healthy snacks around the house that help curb cravings. A banana with peanut butter is just as delicious as a bag of chips and much healthier. Making these little adjustments to your diet will help you to form your own weight loss program, specialized just for you.
Have fun while you get fit. Working out is most fun when you forget you’re doing it. Try a Jazzercise or Zumba class to let loose while you sweat; you’ll have the added benefit of making new friends who are also trying to improve their health. Get in touch with your inner explorer, and take a hike with your partner. Start a weekly kickball game with friends. Exercise can be a great way to socialize, or it can be something to enjoy in peaceful solitude. Either way, if you’re having fun while you’re doing it, you’re more likely to stay committed. Every weight loss program needs a healthy dose of fun to keep you motivated and challenged.
Lower expectations, but challenge yourself. Many of us want to be fit and healthy, but we forget that it doesn’t happen overnight. If you haven’t exercised in months and you sign up for spinning classes 6 days a week, you’re not going to be fit, you’re going to be exhausted. Starting slowly and easing your way into higher levels of fitness is the best approach to getting healthy safely. This method will help prevent muscle fatigue and burnout. Similarly, set realistic goals with your diet: if eliminating soda cold turkey is too tough, try drinking it only every other day at first. Small goals, when met consistently, lead to bigger goals in the long run.
Drink more water. We’ve all heard it plenty of times, but this one bears repeating because it is so important, yet so easy to forget. Keeping your body hydrated helps it to carry out all of its vital functions, and when your body is working, it’s burning calories. Drinking water helps the body to eliminate waste and it keeps you energized. Try drinking a glass 30 minutes before each meal and snack to prevent overeating. Extra tip: adding a bit of lemon juice will leave you feeling hydrated and refreshed.
Have a healthy mindset. Having a healthy mindset is just as important as diet and fitness in a weight loss program. When you start a weight loss program, your self-esteem may be low and you may lack confidence, but it’s important to congratulate yourself on every goal met, no matter how small. Avoid comparing yourself to others, and don’t beat yourself up if you indulge occasionally. Focus on how good you feel, not the numbers on the scale.
Everyone is unique will experience successful and healthy weight loss at a different pace. Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet are your best options. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before beginning a new weight loss diet or exercise program, especially if you have existing health issues or are currently taking medication.