How to Lose Weight the Healthy WayWritten by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
With the percent of overweight and obese people climbing in the world the need for people to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight is increasing.
While many different diets exist from low-fat to low-carb, losing weight and keeping it off for a long time involves changing your mindset and habits when it comes to food and exercise. Long-term changes encouraging you to eat fewer calories and exercise more is the healthiest way to achieve long-term weight loss.
Want to lose weight in a healthy way? We will outline the do's and don'ts of the following 3 weight loss steps:
- Set a defined achievable goal
- Eat Less
- Exercise or Increase Your Activity Level
Set Defined Weight Loss Goals You Can Reach
Without setting goals, you're likely to lose focus and discipline on your weight loss goals.
- Set a long term goal like losing 30 pounds over 6 months (24 weeks). Not sure what target to set? Try our Body Mass Index Weight Loss Calculator.
- Set smaller goals like losing 2 pounds a week
- Set defined goals like jogging for 20 minutes each day
- Set a reminder on your phone and calendar to meet your goals
- Share your goals with supportive friends and family, track and share your progress as well!
Eat Less - Reduce Your Caloric Intake
Unless you are very very active you will likely have to limit the amount you eat to lose weight.
- Eat low calorie foods like fruits and vegetables
- Be concious about how much you are eating
- Use a smaller plate and eat slower
- Prevent hunger by snacking on high fiber low calorie foods like soups and salads (without dressing)
- Make people aware of your diet for when you eat in social situations and spend more time with people who encourage your healthy habits
- Don't eat high calorie foods
- Don't take 2nd servings
- Don't eat too much sugar, or drink too much alcohol, both of which increase hunger
- Don't eat to reduce stress. Take a walk instead!
Exercise and Be More Active For The Long Term
- Find a form of exercise you like, or try group sports
- Find ways to be more active that can become a habit
- Incorporate stength building exercises like lifting weights to boost metabolism and lose weight even faster
- Aim to exercise 3-5 hours per week at minimum. That is around ~20~45 minutes per day.
- Don't take less than 10,000 steps a day
- Don't think eating less is enough, maintaining healthy lean muscle is important
- Don't lose focus on your exercise goals
- Don't think it is ok to eat more because you exercised
Warnings about weight loss
- Don't lose too much weight. A healthy weight is defined by being between 18-25 on the Body Mass Index. Use the BMI Weight Loss Calculator to set a healthy weight target.
- Do not attempt to make yourself vomit, or starve yourself. These are signs of eating disorders which are very unhealthy in the long run.
- Do not lose too much weight too quickly. Often, quickly losing weight leads to "rebounding" and gaining most of the weight back later.
- Don't undertake fad diets which promise you can eat as much as you want. Losing weight involves building healthy habits and self-discipline. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories (via exercise) than you eat.
Tips to reduce calories and lose weight
- Avoid salad dressing when eating salad
- Avoid fast or processed foods, eat whole grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruits instead
- Avoid deep fried foods, and choose baked or steamed foods instead
- Beware of "Low Fat" products which are actually full of sugar and calories
- Beware of "Whole Grain" processed foods which are also full of processed fats/sugars
- Learn to read nutrition fact labels, and be sure to pay attention to the serving size. Try not to snack on anything more than 100 calories.