The first step toward long-term weight loss is to establish healthy diet and exercise habits. It’s important to get a balance between reducing your calorie intake and increasing your activity level.
Often, people who struggle to lose weight have other health problems that are preventing them from achieving their goals. If these conditions are affecting your ability to lose weight, you should seek help from a professional.
1. Eat a balanced diet
Whether you’re looking to lose weight or maintain your current weight, a balanced diet is the best way to achieve your goals. It includes foods from five food groups: fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains, and dairy products.
Eating a balanced diet can help you control your blood sugar levels, lower your risk of diabetes, and reduce your risk for heart disease. It also helps you feel better.
It improves your mental health, easing symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can also help you get a good night’s sleep and increase your brain function.
Avoid eating too much processed food, fast foods, and sweets. These are high in calories, salt and sugar. Instead, try to eat more fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy. These foods contain vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients that are needed for healthy living.
2. Exercise regularly
Getting your heart rate up with aerobic activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, and dancing is essential for good health. Often, this exercise can be combined with strength training.
Developing lean muscle mass can help you burn more calories during the day and lose weight. This makes it easier for you to keep the weight off.
Regular exercise also reduces depression and anxiety and improves sleep, which can cut your risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
If you’re new to exercise, it can take a while to build up a routine, so it’s a good idea to start small and gradually increase your activity levels. Aim for 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity every day, and combine it with strengthening exercises and stretching to maximize your results.
3. Reduce stress
Stress is an important factor that can slow down weight loss and even promote unhealthy habits. It has been linked to weight gain, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, sleep problems, and a weak immune system.
It is also known to disrupt the vagus nerve that controls digestion and metabolism. This changes how you eat, causing you to eat more foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar and may lead to obesity and chronic disease.
To help with stress, try meditation and mindfulness. These practices can lower cortisol levels, increase endorphins, and ease anxiety.
4. Drink plenty of water
Water is essential for your health and helps you lose weight. It prevents dehydration, which can lead to unclear thinking and mood change, and it helps keep waste moving through urination and perspiration.
It can also improve carbohydrate metabolism and insulin sensitivity. It also boosts lipolysis, which breaks down fat to be used as energy.
In addition, replacing liquid calories with water can help you feel fuller longer and cut down on your overall calorie intake. A 2017 controlled trial found that substituting diet beverages with water reduced BMI, improved carbohydrate metabolism, and led to improved insulin sensitivity (6)
In the end, it comes down to making healthy choices that support your weight-loss goals. Water is a simple way to do that, so why not reach for it instead of another beverage? You’ll get more benefits in the long run! Just remember to choose a glass of water over soda, juice, or sweetened tea and coffee.