Weight loss can be a stressful topic for anyone, but it doesn’t have to be complicated, risky, or uncomfortable.
With fad diets and uncertain advice, it can be hard to know what’s effective, what’s right for you, and what’s just plain unsafe. But there are tried-and-true ways to enjoy healthy weight loss.
Whether you’re working on getting in shape, or you’re trying to combat or prevent a health problem, there are safe ways to reach your goals. Check out our do’s and don’ts for losing weight the right way!
Ever notice how all you want to do is take a nap after eating a huge, greasy meal? Large portions, especially of less-than-healthy food, can exhaust you and leave you feeling sluggish. Eating several small meals a day will allow you to keep your metabolism going for extra caloric burn.
Four to six portion-controlled meals can help you maintain your blood sugar and keep you from getting seriously hungry during the day, which can easily lead to overeating.
You might think that skipping breakfast or lunch is a great way to cut calories, but this actually does more harm than good. Starving yourself is unhealthy and simply doesn’t help you lose weight or keep it off.
Just like your parents always said, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Skipping that quick morning bite deprives your body of the chance to kick start its metabolism, which can result in a desire to eat bigger (or unhealthy) meals later.
Drinking water has a variety of benefits, and weight loss is definitely one of them. It can fill you up so you’re less hungry, and studies have even suggested that getting plenty of water can help you burn calories faster.
Most of the time, four to six cups of water per day is a great goal for healthy people, but more is needed during exercise or hot weather.
Soda, juice, and other beverages are full of sugar and can include lots of calories with little to no nutritional value. Water is usually your best option for staying hydrated and energetic in the long run.
If you want something with a little more excitement than water, try drinks like flavored sparkling water. They offer hydration (and a little variety!) without any added sugars.
When you’re trying to scrape dinner together, or you don’t have a lunch prepared, you’re more likely to choose a quick, easy, and unhealthy option that slows your weight loss progress.
If you have a plan, it’s easier to resist the temptation of less-healthy alternatives. Go into the week knowing what you’ll eat for each meal so you can be sure to have clean food ready to go when you’re hungry. Once you’ve made this a habit, you’ll see your overall diet improve—and you’ll feel so much better!
Fad diets and weight-loss supplements can offer appealing results. Major, rapid weight loss may sound nice, but it can be unhealthy and ineffective long-term.
Losing a maximum of 1-2 pounds per week is healthier, safer, and longer-lasting than those quick fixes. With proper diet and exercise, this should be the natural way your body changes. If you’re not sure how to best improve your long-term eating habits, your local community center may have wellness coaches or a learning kitchen to assist you.
Switching fatty foods for lower-calorie options can be a great way to improve your overall wellness and contribute to your healthy weight loss.
Small things that you use often are great to swap out. Replacing butter with a butter substitute, replacing mayonnaise with mustard, or using one piece of bread instead of two to create open-faced sandwiches can make a big difference over time.
Cutting yourself off from less-healthy foods you love can actually keep you from reaching your weight loss goals. While you should limit your intake of sugary or fatty foods, restricting them completely can inspire cravings, binging, and overeating.
As always, moderation is key. But if you struggle at first to find a balance, don’t stress! One hiccup won’t ruin your entire weight loss journey.
While eating well and staying hydrated are important for weight loss, exercise is a big piece of the puzzle, too. You don’t have to jump into hardcore workouts right away, though—start small and find activities you love!
Experts recommend that healthy adults get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. This can include group fitness classes, swimming, and running on the track in an open gym. Also, strength training twice a week for all muscle groups is advised for a healthy body and effective weight loss.
While sticking to a healthy routine of healthy eating, exercise, and proper hydration can be tough, it’s far from impossible. The beginning of your weight-loss journey may be challenging, so don’t be too hard on yourself if (and when) you slip up.
No one is perfect at meal planning, swapping for healthier options, or getting to the gym on time right away. Stay persistent, make a plan, and get help from group fitness classes or wellness coaches when you need it. These can help you find a community that encourages you to adopt new habits in a healthy way.
Losing weight the right way will help you feel your best! As you start or continue your weight-loss journey, consider these do’s and don’ts to help you make safe, healthy choices so you can work toward your goals and live a life you love.
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website here.