Losing weight is the easy part—you can starve yourself for a few days, and you’ll see the numbers on the scale drop. No, the trick is making that weight loss stick, keeping the pounds off once you’ve lost them. To do that, you need to approach weight loss the healthy way, changing your diet and lifestyle to be healthier and increase your chance of keeping off the weight. It’s not easy, but it can be done!
Change Your Mindset
This is the #1 key to making your weight loss stick! Stop thinking of yourself as fat—instead, think of it as “you HAVE fat”. Your body’s got a few extra pounds hanging around, but you aren’t fat. Your body is created to be healthy, with less body fat than you’ve currently got. It’s all about figuring out how you can take your body where it needs to go and getting rid of that extra poundage, keeping the body beneath the fat healthy while eliminating that unwanted fat.
Eat to Burn
One of the hardest things you’ll ever do is change up your approach to eating. Instead of eating for pleasure, eat for fuel. Only eat what you know your body needs and what it will use to burn for fuel. That means chiefly proteins and healthy carbs to use for energy for your muscles, along with fiber to cleanse your intestines and vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. Stop worrying about whether or not you enjoy the food, and focus on eating what your body needs.
Cut Out Extras
Initially, that means EVERYTHING your body doesn’t need. Start by cutting alcohol, all unhealthy carbs, sugar, and any added fats that are unnecessary for a healthy body. Give your body a few weeks of this scaled-back diet, then slowly go adding back in one or two foods at a time. The occasional drink won’t harm you, nor will a bit of extra dietary fat, provided it’s saturated and unsaturated fat. But keep away from sugar, unrefined carbs, and empty fats.
When you start cutting back on food intake and increasing your daily exercise, your body’s going to start sending a lot more hunger signals to your brain. When this happens, many people make the mistake of over-eating, which can negate all the hard work they’re doing as they work out. Let yourself be hungry a bit more often. Make sure that you’re eating enough calories throughout the day, then let your body feel those hunger pangs for a few hours every day. You never want to be ravenous, but it’s okay to be a little hungry.
Focus on Plant Foods
The more plant foods you can eat—nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, legumes, and plant-based fats—the better off you’ll be! Plant based foods are low in unwanted fats and contain no added sugars, and they are what provide the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to function properly. The more of these healthy foods you eat, the better-off your body will be, and the easier it will be for you to lose weight.
Increase Your Protein Intake
Start eating more protein every day. Make sure to get a lot of plant-based proteins—from legumes, chiefly, as well as nuts, seeds, and whole grains—but mix in some lean animal proteins. Try to steer clear of the high-fat cheese, butter, cream, and bacon, and definitely avoid any highly processed meat products. Your best bet is to stick with plant-based proteins and lean cuts of meat, poultry, and fish.