There are all kinds of crazy weight loss diets out there many people flock to. From high-protein to low-carb to ketogenic, the weight loss industry is a steady business. But if these “diets” all claim to be the best for taking the weight off for good, then why has the number of people overweight to obese continued on an upward trend in the U.S.?
Could it be these so-called weight loss diets are too extreme, too restrictive, or too hard-to-follow long-term? When individuals seeking the one true answer to their weight loss woes discover these diets are not helping, many will eventually give up, returning to their previous dietary habits and the previous path of weight regain.
How can this crazy cycle be broken? There are strategies of how people wanting to reach a healthier body weight can go about this. Granted, the strategies are not flashy or faddish, but they are smarter and more likely to be successful in the long run. Ready to find out what these reasonable and realistic strategies are? Let’s get started:
- Think of yourself as a “weight manager” – Stop viewing yourself as someone who is dieting. People go on “diets” and then go off them. You have to view this as a lifestyle change where you are in control and in charge of maintaining your weight for the long haul.
- Set reasonable goals – You didn’t go to bed one night slim and trim and woke up the next morning chubby and overweight. The weight came on over a period of time – just as it takes time to put on extra pounds, it takes time to lose them. Fast weight loss is enticing but slow and steady is the way to go. Gradual, steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is more likely to be successful and realistic.
- Work with an expert – The very best experts with strong scientific backgrounds on weight loss are Registered Dietitians (RDs). RDs can help blend the science of losing weight with coming up with a personalized weight loss plan to help you meet your nutritional needs for your lifestyle.
- Know what healthy meals look like – It’s all about balance as in make your dinner plate 50% produce, 25% whole-grains such as brown rice and whole-wheat pastas, and the other 25% lean protein such as lean beef or grilled chicken or fish. Round that out with a serving of low-fat dairy such as 8 ounces of milk or a cup of Greek yogurt.
- Gradual changes are best – Trying to make a complete overhaul your diet overnight will be too overwhelming. Instead start off slowly with realistic expectations. You may try adding just a couple of healthier habits such as adding in a serving of a fruit and/or veggie at each meal or only eating out once a week instead of 4 times a week.
- Anticipate challenges ahead – What if the holidays are approaching or you have 6 birthday parties to attend in one month? Each month, mark social events you plan to attend. This will make you aware of how many situations ahead that will test your willpower. Make it a point to stay on track by adding in extra exercise and using your skills in eating healthy in social situations.
- Cook at home more often – When you’re in charge of the cooking, that means you control the calories, fat, and sodium that goes into your food. You also will be eating more nutrient-rich and fiber-rich foods than restaurant fare, fast food, and takeout meals.
- Slow down when eating – Try putting your fork down after each bite. This gives your brain more time to receive the message that you’re full.
- Weigh yourself daily – A daily weigh-in can motivate you to make changes in your diet or level of physical activity. Try weighing yourself at the same time every morning, under the same conditions.
- Be kind to yourself – You’re seeking improvement, not perfection.