There is no secret to losing weight. There is no magic pill, fad diet or water that works. You have to put in a lot of effort, but it’s worth it. Here are six basic principles that will help you lose weight
- Decide to lose weight. It’s all in mind.
Make a personal decision to lose weight with reasons why. Your personal choice is what fuels your willpower, commitment, patience, and perseverance.
- Set goals
Make long-term goals then break them down to short-term goals. For instance, your goal in the long run could be, weigh 60kgs, achieve a normal Body Mass Index, wear dress size 10, etc.
Break these goals further, e.g. lose 0.5kgs per week. Review your goals periodically, weekly, monthly, every three months and so on and mostly match your goals to your abilities and
There are a number of mobile applications such as fitness tracker, Nike, endomondo, that you can use to track your progress.
- Watch your diet
This is where you have to put a lot of effort. No matter how much you work out, you will not achieve your goals as fast, or you may not achieve any at all if you don’t watch your diet.
When I talk of diet, I’m not referring to fad diets or pills or magic water that promise you instant results. A healthy diet provides your body with all the nutrients that it needs for optimal functioning.
You should take a well-balanced diet adequate in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals and water. You may use food guide which may help achieve a variety, calorie control and moderation. Example you may use the following tips to guide in your dietary intake;
- Choose foods low in saturated fat
Entirely all foods contain fats which are mixture of “good” (unsaturated) and “bad” fats (saturated). “Bad” fats raises your blood level more than anything else you eat. Therefore, the best way to lower your blood cholesterol is to choose foods that are low in “bad” fats. By choosing foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains foods naturally low in total fat and high in starch and dietary fiber helps in low intake of “bad” fats.
- Choose foods low in total fat
Since many foods high in total fat are also high in saturated fat, eating foods low in total fat will help you eat less saturated fat. When you do eat fat, substitute unsaturated fat either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated for saturated fat. Fat is a rich source of calories, so eating foods low in fat will also help you eat fewer calories. Eating fewer calories can help you lose weight and if you are overweight, losing weight is an important part of lowering your blood cholesterol.
- Choose foods high in starch and fiber
Foods high in starch and fiber are excellent substitutes for foods high in saturated fat. These foods include breads, cereals, pasta, grains, fruits, and vegetables and are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also lower in calories than foods that are high in fat. But limit fatty toppings and spreads like butter and sauces made with cream and whole milk dairy products. Foods high in starch and fiber are also good sources of vitamins and minerals.
When eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, foods with soluble fiber like oat and barley bran and dry peas and beans may help to lower blood cholesterol.
- Choose foods low in cholesterol
Remember, dietary cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol, although usually not as much as saturated fat. So, it’s important to choose foods low in dietary cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is found only in foods that come from animals. And even if an animal food is low in saturated fat, it may be high in cholesterol; for instance, organ meats like liver and egg yolks are low in saturated fat but high in cholesterol. Egg whites and foods from plant sources do not have cholesterol.
Eating a well-balanced and adequate diet not only provides your body with the nutrients that it requires but also leaves you feeling full for longer as compared to junk food that leaves you with cravings and hunger pangs after a while.
You also need to control the portions of the amount of food that you eat. Half of your plate should be vegetables, the other half equally divided for protein and vitamins. There are plates that are partitioned already. You can make use of them as you get used to getting the right portions. Example of plate healthy plate portions looks like this
- Physical Exercises
Being physically active helps improve blood cholesterol levels i.e. it can raise HDL and lower LDL. Being more active also can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, improve the fitness of your heart and blood vessels, and reduce stress. And being active together is great for the entire family.
You can work out from home with workout DVDs or get yourself a personal trainer or incorporate both.
You don’t have to start with high intensity activities you can simply start by walking then jogging as you build up to running.
- Make use of technology
There are applications and many gadgets that you can use to monitor your diet, exercise and progress.
- Social support
Surround yourself with people and friends that encourage you to lose weight. Get an accountability partner or join a Facebook group to share your progress.
- Weight loss is not a one day, few months or years thing. Therefore, do not be in a hurry to lose the weight as you have accumulated it over the years.
- Make changes that you can sustain, weight loss is a total lifestyle change. Most importantly, you will need to be persistent, committed and patient.
- If you eat a balanced diet, control your portions and workout, stay calm, be patient and watch the results.
- You are what you eat