The best way to lose weight is to do it slowly and steadily. This will help you to avoid yo-yo dieting, which can be harmful to your health.
It’s also a good idea to stock your kitchen with healthy snacks. Replace high-calorie foods like cookies, chocolate and crisps with nutrient-rich whole foods, including fruit, vegetables, eggs, fish, nuts and beans.
Keep track of what you eat.
Many apps are available to help you track your calories. They can also show you how much exercise you need to burn off those calories.
Eating more whole foods is one way to cut down on calories. Another is to limit higher-calorie foods. For example, if you love a high-calorie food such as a chocolate bar, eat it only once in a while instead of every day.
However, it’s important not to cross the line into obsessive or disordered eating when tracking what you eat. That can lead to feelings of deprivation and can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Eating healthy meals and snacks, with a mix of protein and carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight. Make sure your meals and snacks are satisfying too, so you’re not hungry between meals.
Don’t skip meals.
When we were kids, all we had to do was get hungry and someone would feed us. But in adulthood, eating regularly is more complicated — especially when it comes to weight loss.
Eating regular meals on a predictable schedule is the best way to maintain energy levels and prevent overeating. Nutritionists usually recommend three balanced meals and one or two healthy snacks each day.
Skipping a meal or going more than four hours without food can cause the body to produce fat-storing enzymes and slow down metabolism, resulting in weight gain. Try to eat meals that include lean proteins, whole grains and nonstarchy vegetables. When possible, eat meals sitting down at a table and avoid distractions like TV or a laptop. Drink water or low-calorie drinks instead of sugary sodas and fruit juice.
Exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (the “good” cholesterol) and decreases unhealthy triglycerides, which helps lower your risk of heart disease. Ideally, aim to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly. It doesn’t have to be a big chunk of time—try taking the stairs instead of an elevator, walking to your mailbox or park rather than driving, and revving up your daily household chores.
Movement also burns calories, so try to incorporate fidgeting into your day, such as pacing while talking on the phone or tapping your feet when sitting. Using a step-counter or pedometer is a great way to track your activity level. Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day, but do what feels comfortable for you. You may need to eat a little more when you exercise two or three hours after your meal.
Don’t deprive yourself.
Eating a variety of foods is key to a healthy weight. There is no need to cut out entire food groups, but it does make sense to limit empty calories.
Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks. Adding fiber-rich fruits and veggies to your meals will help you feel full. Eating smaller portions (using a smaller plate, not stacked up) can also be helpful.
Make it a goal to get more exercise, but don’t make it too hard. Find something you enjoy doing – walking with a friend, playing Frisbee with your dog, or even gardening can be good options. You can also increase your activity by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to work. Choose a fun way to be active, and you are more likely to stick with it.