Every time a new diet program becomes popular, many people are convinced it’s the very best way to lose weight, so they get their credit card out and begin yet another diet, but extreme dieting is not necessarily a good way to drop pounds permanently.
Extreme Dieting Cycles
It doesn’t matter that you’ve swallowed enough cabbage soup and enough meal replacement shakes to fill the Houston Astrodome, and you’ve eaten so much meat on low-carb diets that you can’t bare to walk past the meat section at the grocery store anymore.
You’ve weighed your food, organized it on your plate in geographical sections, eliminated specific food groups and sometimes even given up food up for protein drinks that made you feel dizzy, sluggish and a bit dingy at times.
You’ve bought prepackaged diet meals, eaten only raw food for as long as you possibly could and drowned yourself in gallons of apple cider vinegar and water with lemon. You’ve also taken a mountain of diet supplements. After all, it really didn’t matter that the FDA didn’t approve most of those pills; the manufacturer and the beautiful, thin, fit models who advertised them promised they’d work.
You’ve done all this and probably a little more–all in an effort to drop those extra pounds. Though you’ve lost some pounds, every time you go off a diet, the pounds come usually back along with a few more.
The Very Best Way to Lose Weight
The best way to shed extra pounds doesn’t come from making yourself insane by following eccentric diets or specious weight elimination philosophies. It happens by doing the things that have worked for others who have lost weight and kept it off for a long period of time.
Many people who have shed pounds and kept them off have the following things in common:
- They follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet and eat fewer calories than they burn each day.
- They exercise regularly.
- They keep a food journal.
- They get support from others.
- They weigh themselves often and regularly.
If you do these five things, you’re practically guaranteed to lose those extra pounds and keep them off.
Eat Fewer Calories Than You Burn Each Day
It’s really no big secret that you need to consume fewer calories than you burn every day to get slim. According to Lee M. Kaplan in the Harvard Special Health Report article “How to Lose Weight,” you can start eating fewer calories by knowing how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.
It’s simple math. Just multiply your current weight by 15. This number is roughly the number of calories that’s necessary to maintain your current weight if you’re getting at least 30 minutes of physical exercise every day, says Kaplan.
For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, 15 times 180 is 2,700. If you want to get down to 150 to get into a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) range, simply multiply 15 times 150, which is 2,250. To lose extra pounds effectively in this example, you need to reduce your daily caloric intake 450 calories to 2,250.
Lose Weight Slowly
It’s not a good idea to lose pounds too quickly, and there is no best way to lose weight fast because the odds are you’ll just gain the weight back and possibly gain more than you lost.
Health experts recommend that people should not consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day or lose more than two pounds a week unless they’re under the supervision of a health professional. Not eating enough calories can cause nutritional deficits that could affect your health. In addition, losing more than two pounds a week may affect your ability to keep weight off permanently.
By now enough studies have been done for everyone to know that besides helping you keep those pounds off permanently, regular exercise has several health benefits. It also helps people feel more energetic, and it helps fight depression, says Delia Cabe in the Prevention article “10 Reasons to Move.”
In addition, regular exercisers enjoy avoiding illnesses, bloating, and physical pain, says Cabe.
Studies consistently show that the people who exercise drop the most pounds, states Stuart Wolpert in the article “Dieting Doesn’t Work” published in UCLA Magazine.
Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal can possibly double the number of pounds you drop. A study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that people who documented their food intake every day lost twice the number of pounds compared to other dieters in a control group (Australian).
Make sure to note the nutritional value of the food you’re eating as well as the time and place. You should also write about your feelings.
Soon you’ll notice patterns in your eating habits. For example, you may eat more when you’re nervous or angry. By recognizing when, why and where you tend to overeat, you’ll be able to come up with alternative ways to deal with your feelings instead of trying to drown them with food.
Get Weight Loss Support
It’s best not to go on your weight loss journey alone. Social support is a powerful motivational tool for success, according to Kenneth J. Gruber in the Adolescence article “Social Support for Exercise and Dietary Habits.”
There are many resources to help you find group support. Overeaters Anonymous is a worldwide organization that brings people together for emotional support. There is usually a small voluntary donation at each meeting. OA is based on the same 12-step principles as Alcoholic’s Anonymous.
Weight Watchers also has weekly support meetings; however, there is a small fee to join Weight Watchers. There are also many other resources for support. Check local community resources or ask your doctor about weight loss support groups.
Weigh Yourself Often
Research reveals that people who weigh themselves every day are more likely to drop pounds and keep those pounds off permanently.
Founded in 1994, the National Weight Control Registry, tracks dieters who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off for an extended period of time, typically a number of years. The NWCR reports that the most successful dieters weigh themselves at least once a week.
Other studies have shown that people who check the scale every day are more likely to shed more weight and keep the pounds they’ve lost off permanently (The Weighing Game).
If you weigh yourself every day, you’ll hold yourself more accountable for your food and exercise habits. Keep in mind, however, that it’s normal for the scale to fluctuate a few pounds day to day sometimes because of water weight. What’s important is noticing a trend in your weight over time.
The Best Way to Lose Forever
If you’re tired of being disappointed and frustrated about your weight, remember that there are no quick fixes. There may even be medical reasons you’re not losing weight, so make sure to consult a health expert before starting any kind of diet or exercise program.
Losing pounds is hard and keeping the extra pounds off is going to require permanent lifestyle changes, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Follow these weight loss tips and lose weight slowly as well as permanently.
The Australian. “Writing Down Every Morsel Doubles Weight Loss When Dieting.” July 12, 2008.
Cabe, Delia. “10 Reasons to Move.” Prevention. February 2009, Vol. 61 Issue 2, p86-89.
Gruber, Kenneth J. “Social Support for Exercise and Dietary Habits.” Adolescence. Fall 2008, Vol. 43 Issue 171, p557-575.
Kaplan, Lee M. “How to Lose Weight.” Harvard Special Health Report. September 2006, pg. 18.
“The Weighing Game.” Nutrition Action Health Letter. December 2006, Vol. 33 Issue 10, p10-10.
“Wolpert, Stuart. “Dieting Doesn’t Work.” UCLA Magazine. April 4, 2007.