The simple answer to the question 'How do I lose weight?' is that you need to burn more calories than you are taking in - your output needs to be more than your intake.
Going on a diet generally means you lower your calorie intake below your body's daily requirement. Cutting back on your food intake will encourage your body to burn up any fat stores. If you add an increase in your exercise to this as well, you will lose weight even faster. If you are more active you will use up more energy, and therefore burn more calories.
If losing weight is this simple an equation, then why do so many of us struggle to stay slim? It's not easy - we have to eat to survive, so we can't avoid food. We are therefore likely to be tempted on many occasions, such as: when we shop for food, when we prepare meals and when we are with others who are eating. You can't avoid food, or eating, which makes any calorie restriction difficult.
Many of us consume far more calories than our bodies need to function properly, and our sedentary lives means our daily energy needs are much lower than past generations. Our children's calorie requirements are much lower now, because a lot of leisure time is spent indoors with computers, playstations and television.
Children don't tend to play outside as much. Many experts blame this inactivity for the increase of obesity in children, but there is also a vast choice of fast high fat food - it's everywhere, and generally available at a lower price than healthier foodstuffs.
To lose weight you will need to reduce your daily calories, and preferably add some extra exercise. You will need willpower and determination, but if you really want to lose weight you will do it. Most people during their lives will have managed to drop some weight, but the important factor is going to be keeping the weight off. Permanent weight loss requires a lifestyle change in order to maintain a slim figure.
You will need to address whatever has made you put on weight - too much fast food, snacking, sedentary job, too much alcohol or chocolate, etc. It helps when you are trying to give up a bad habit to find an alternative, such as replacing high-sugar and high-fat snacks with fresh fruit, or taking a luxurious bubble bath, instead of that high-calorie glass of wine and crisps. You are trying to reprogramme your mind from automatically following a bad habit, instead you need to introduce a newer healthier one.
Firstly, you really have to want to lose weight! You are going to need that determination to get through a diet and exercise plan successfully.
Visualize a goal - such as: you looking slim in that new outfit, or on the beach wearing your bikini with your flat stomach - just make it a strong positive picture you can bring to mind when you need to.
Clear out all your high calorie foods - crisps, chocolate, nuts, biscuits, etc. Get rid of the foods you tend to grab when you want a quick fix; generally when you feel bored, tired or very hungry.
Go shopping for tasty healthy foods - not just carrots and
cottage cheese - be more adventurous, you need to stimulate your taste
buds so you don't feel you're missing out.
Try exotic fruits and veg, mixed nuts and seeds, popcorn, fresh aromatic herbs and chillies to replace the high-salt in snacks, vegetable based soups, fruit salad, fizzy water, etc.
Check out our easy printable
before you go shopping. Think taste instead of quantity.
Next time you feel hungry ask yourself - how hungry on a
scale from 1-10 are you? and be honest! Unless you are at 7-8 on the scale,
try and wait before you eat, instead have a glass of water.
A lot of people misread thirst for hunger. Then ask yourself again - do you need food or do you just want it?
Try and break the connections that lead to bad eating habits
- if you always have a danish or doughnut with your morning coffee, replace
your coffee with something different, such as a refreshing fruit juice
and a yoghurt.
It takes a while, and a lot of determination, but you can reprogramme yourself to a healthier life. It's so much easier to just stay in a rut, repeating behaviour patterns, but if you want to get in shape you will need to make changes. Only you can do it!
Don't set your target too high - it's much better to lose the weight slowly, it has been proven to be far more successful.
For many the most difficult thing is to maintain a slim figure, they can drop weight when they need to, but find they soon pile it all back on.
Denying yourself and following a drastic diet is not sustainable, and it has been proven that yo-yo dieting is unhealthy. It is far better to adapt your eating habits and exercise regime to something you can sustain.
If you lose weight slowly it is much more likely to stay off.