Effective, long-term weight loss is a process, and a large part of it is psychological. You have to approach your new fitness plan with the proper mentality in order to succeed. Many diets do not work because they focus on erratic eating, tasteless food choices, or constant deprivation of the things you love. However, this will not be the way you lose weight permanently. Yes, you drop a few kilos and yo-yo back up to your start weight within weeks. You need to make a conscious decision to change your nutrition and exercise habits to have a healthier lifestyle, but it is a mindset shift that takes time and dedication.
A Calorie is a Calorie
From a strict energy in and energy out perspective, you can lose weight by eating junk food in small quantities. When you lower your calorie intake whether, by exercise or restricting consumption, you will inevitably lose weight. So your diet is made up of fast food, fried chicken, popcorn, hot wings, broccoli and quinoa. The difference is in your body's response to the nutritional value of the foods you choose.
A fast food burger contains 550 calories. The 550 calories burger would fit nicely into the 1,500 calories per day diet, especially with exercise. However, that burger contains very little to nourish your body and keep you feeling full. If you were to opt for a meal with similar calories and more health benefits, such as chicken breast with broccoli over brown rice, you would feel satisfied far longer, and your body would be getting the nutrients it craves. When you are making healthier food choices, you are changing your body's desire to eat more, which makes staying within your calorie goal a less demanding task.
Counting Made Easy
Counting calories often seems like a tedious chore that leads to more frustration than success. Today, thanks to the Internet and smartphones, it could not be much easier. There are dozens of websites and phone apps out there that can do all the messy counting for you. There are phone apps that scan the bar code for you which help records your intake after every meal, and it will be like second nature. For some people, it helps to think of it as a game where you "win" every time you stay within your goal for the day.
There are also online programs that will design a meal plan for you. This way all you do is follow the program and you do not have to worry about counting calories. Just be sure that the program has qualified nutritionists and or dieticians.
Creating Healthy Habits
When you are ready to make a long-term change in your lifestyle, you are essentially preparing to reprogram your brain. Breaking the fast food stops or nights on the couch eating in front of TV in one go is unlikely, but you can wean yourself off of these detrimental habits. Put everything on paper to get yourself started. Write your goals for weight loss and fitness. Want to run a 5k by next June? Write it down. Want to lose ten kilos before your sister's wedding? Write it down. Want to go an entire month without junk food? Write it down. Whatever your goal is be sure you write it down.
Planning out healthy habits in writing gives you a guideline to stick to every day, as well as the satisfaction of checking off each successful meal or task. Create a meal plan and shop specifically to that meal plan to avoid late night temptations or to eat out of boredom. Devise an exercise program and reward yourself in some way for each week you stick to it. Following concrete outlines will help you reset your mind from its unhealthy habits as you make new, healthier choices.
Making Daily Life, More Active
Living a healthy, active life does not mean hours at the gym or on a treadmill. Instead of torturing yourself with exercise routines, you find boring, look to your everyday life for ways you can potentially become more active. Take your dog for longer walks, join your office's Pilates group, or go cycling with your kids once a week. Whatever your lifestyle, there is room for activity beyond the 30-minute workout on the treadmill three days a week. Keep things interesting, and, after a while, you will keep yourself active without even trying.
Reward Yourself for Your Small Successes:
The easiest way to derail yourself from revamping your lifestyle is to get discouraged early on in your journey. Don't expect magical results after the first week. Instead, reward yourself for all accomplishments, no matter how small. When you lose those first five kilos, treat yourself to that new gadget you've been eyeing or to a movie with friends. When you extend your workout by a few minutes without huffing and puffing then reward yourself with a new outfit. Always set aside funds specifically for these goals and make sure to keep encouraging yourself every time you make an improvement. In order to succeed with weight loss and lifestyle change this big, your biggest cheerleader has to be you. Remember it is not just about weight loss; it is about being fitter and healthier version of you in mind and body!
Here is to a fitter and healthier you,
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