Many people are desperately seeking a quick solution to remedy their expanding waistline. Don't be fooled by the claims of fat burning pills, diet shakes and body garments that play on people's emotions to find the elusive secret to weight loss. The secret is there is no secret formula to safe weight loss. One must achieve weight loss through proper nutrition, physical activity and changing behaviors. For most people, the safest way to lose weight is to target shedding 1 to 2 pounds per week, which will help you maintain muscle, proper energy levels and prevent weight gain/loss cycles.
Eric's 5 Tips and Tools to Help You Lose Weight Safely
1. Set Realistic Goals
First, calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) and take measurements of your waist, hips, thighs and arms. The latter will help you determine if you are at a healthy weight. If your BMI isn't within the healthy weight range, use the index to determine how much weight you need to lose.
BMI Calculator (Determines your Body Mass Index)
2. Create an Effective Weight Loss Plan
Once you have set your goals, you should develop a solid plan that will achieve results. You definitely want to analyze the current foods that you consume and remove anything that is high in fat, sugar and sodium. Create a diet that includes lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and very little processed foods. In addition to changing your diet, you should also increase your physical activity. According to the Center for Disease Control, adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week.
Physical Activity Calculator (Calculates calories burned during exercise)
3. Review Your Plan with a Doctor
Your doctor should review the plan to identify any risks and make sure it doesn't adversely effect your health. This is especially important if you have any existing medical conditions. After visiting with a doctor, she may also recommend consulting with a registered dietitian. Dietitians can help you design practical menus that will keep you motivated to eat right and lose weight.
4. Know Your Portions
If you visit any restaurant these days, most likely the portions will be "Supersized". In order for you to maintain a healthy weight, you must learn to cut calories and know proper serving sizes and portions. Since every person has different caloric intake needs, you should determine how many calories your body needs by using a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator. Example: If you determine your body needs 1200 calories on a daily basis, then you should consume 200 for breakfast, 300 for lunch, 400 for dinner and two 150 calorie snacks. You should burn more calories than you consume.
BMR Calculator (Calculates how many calories you should consume daily)
5. Eliminate Bad Habits
Certain habits such as excessive snacking, consuming sugar laden foods and not watching your portions can add excess calories to your diet and make it difficult to reach your weight loss goals. Determine what has caused you to miss your goals in the past and make sure you develop a plan to address those barriers. There are several tips to help you get started, which include removing all bad foods from the fridge or pantry, starting a food journal, tracking your physical activity and learning healthy cooking techniques.
No matter what that infomercial tries to sell you, there is no secret formula to losing weight. If you follow these 5 tips, you are well on your way to creating a healthy and safe weight loss strategy for life.
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