Most diets work (at least temporarily) if you stick to them. But why don’t they work in the long run? Because they are unrealistic! Eating no carbs or no sugar or counting every calorie is not something most of us can do for a lifetime. It is tempting to do a crash diet because the results are faster. You may actually lose 10 lbs in 1 week. But years from now, which weight loss technique will put you at your target weight and keep you there?
A healthy lifestyle “diet” is the best way to lose weight and to maintain the weight loss. It is not really a diet at all but a modification of your eating, exercising, activity levels and thinking.
Eating is obviously the first thing that changes with a healthier lifestyle. My recommendation is to eat 6 small meals per day. Breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, supper, evening snack. This is realistic because you probably enjoy snacking and do not want to feel hungry all the time. It is easy to divide up your larger meal in order to save some of it for your next snack. For example, instead of having a sandwich, apple, and yogurt for lunch, just eat the sandwich for lunch and save the apple/yogurt for a few hours later. Other areas to modify are eliminating sodas and sugary drinks, decreasing portion sizes, drinking more water, decreasing fried foods, and the list goes on.
Exercising must be added to your life in order to have a healthier lifestyle and to lose weight. Start with 20-30 minutes per day of cardio in order to start a new habit of daily exercise! It will become a habit if you do it regularly for several weeks. Pretty soon you will add in more strenuous cardio workouts and strength training. Both cardio and strength training are key to losing weight and boosting your metabolism.
Your general activity levels must increase if you want to lose weight and keep it off. So take a look at your daily routine and see how much sitting you do. If you sit most of the day, then your lifestyle is too sedentary, and you need to add in more standing/walking activities. The sky is the limit on what you can do standing up. Almost anything you do seated can be done standing. So see what you can modify in order to be up on your feet more throughout every day!
Lastly, your thinking must change in order to improve your eating, exercising and activity levels. What has your attitude toward these been? Do you eat because you are hungry or just because it is there? Do you eat too much because you are lonely or upset? Do you watch too much TV when you know there are other things that are better for you? Why do you make excuses for not exercising? Take control of each of these areas in order to have control over your own weight!
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” -Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)