“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” – Jack Dixon
If you’ve ever struggled to lose weight – and keep it off – you’re one among millions (perhaps billions) of frustrated individuals.
About 45 million Americans plan to go on a diet in any given year – and that’s part of the problem. Dieting isn’t the answer; drastic changes to one’s lifestyle is. Need further evidence? 97 percent of dieters regain their weight (and sometimes more) within a mere three years. If you’ve been part of a structured diet program and have managed your weight, congratulations, sincerely; you are, literally, among the elite.
Despite these putrid results, the weight-loss industry has raked in an exorbitant $64 billion (through 2014) selling products, that: (a) have atrocious cost-benefit outcomes, (b) ignored the actual science behind weight loss, or (c) all the above.
That’s right, companies that proport to benefit the health and well-being of their customers have overlooked mountains of scientifically-proven medical research for the sake of profit. The result: highly processed, sugar-laden, sodium-enriched “food” that tastes like it’s been at the bottom of the freezer, rethawed, and sold at a premium.
Warning, cliché ahead. “It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle.” A lifestyle. A lifestyle. Diets do not work for numerous reasons; among them prescribing a certain amount of “time” to accomplish your “results.” Oh, and almost no guidance afterward.
Plan all you want and stick to a diet with the strictest discipline – and you are probably still on the wrong track. Why? Because a diet’s “time window,” coupled with minimal to zero guidance after you’ve accomplished your “goal” is not – and never will be – a long-term solution.
Here are 20 natural and healthy ways to lose weight:
Let’s get going:
#1 Keep a food journal
Various studies show that people who keep a food “diary” eat about 15 percent fewer calories. A tangible record of your food intake, which is likely to contain some unsavory items, is often enough to alter your eating habits.
#2 Get in with a support group
Whether online or in-person (the former has proven to be effective), having a person or group of individuals who support your goals is a great benefit. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), social support makes it “easier to stick with a weight loss plan…share tips on diet and exercise and (find) an exercise buddy.”
#3 Water and more water
In the morning, by all means, have that delicious glass of ice-cold O.J. But afterward, drink water – and only water. The average American consumes approximately 25 pounds of soft drinks annually. Enough said.
#4 Forgo a daily treat
Yes, lifestyle-based weight loss requires some self-discipline. Forgoing your “midnight snack” or “guilty pleasure” can prevent adding (at least) a few extra pounds each year.
#5 Less TV, more results
Just one less hour of TV, and you’ll be less inclined to go “movie theater” mode. Yes, we all love that scrumptious treat while watching on our favorite show (self-discipline, remember?) Go for a light walk or jog instead.
#6 Clean or scrub something
No kidding. Find something – a bathroom floor, inside or outside of a car, windows, anything – to clean once a week. Why? Because cleaning burns calories, and that’s a good thing.
#7 Deny the “hunger impulse”
So many of us reach for that fatty treat out of habit. Actual physical hunger stimulates hunger hormones – and you’ll know when you need to eat.
#8 Take the stairs for 10 minutes each day
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, frequent “stair-takers” burn five times more calories than their counterparts who use the elevator. This figures out to 10 pounds!
#9 Take a short walk every couple of hours
Use your breaks to your advantage. Take a brisk 5-minute walk every two hours, and you’ll have 20 minutes of aerobic activity in your pocket before even stepping out of the office. Win!
#10 Ease off the additives
Notably, get rid of – or refrain from buying – anything with corn syrup, fructose, or sugar. Look for sugar-free versions of the food or grab a piece of fruit instead.
#11 Close the kitchen
Literally. After supper, the kitchen should remain closed for 12 hours. Late-evening feasting comes at a price: about 31 pounds of calories a year.
#12 Take a brisk walk before dinner
According to a University of Glasgow study, “(walking) before a meal reduces the fat levels in the blood and improves the function of the blood vessels, even in the individual has a high fat and carbohydrate meal.” A walk before supper almost increases the sensation of fullness.
#13 Eat most meals at home
This one’s pretty common sense. Restaurants and other places serve large portions of unhealthy food. Make the utmost attempt to eat at home whenever possible.
#14 Use a plate
Not a platter or spaceship-sized dish. We’re less likely to reach for food if it isn’t there. Groundbreaking stuff, isn’t it?
#15 No “supersizing”
During the occasions when you do treat yourself (which you should do on occasion), order the smallest portion of everything rich in fat or calories. Order a large house salad or veggies instead of fries.
#16 Load up on veggies
When considering culinary options, vegetables are often not the first thought. Well-prepared veggies, however, can be not only delicious but are packed with nutrients.
#17 Eat more (healthy) cereal
No, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not a viable option. Opt for cereal (or oatmeal) rich in fiber and other healthy ingredients. Total, Grape Nuts or Original Quaker Oatmeal are all excellent choices.
#18 Leave the bread alone
According to a Harvard University study: “whole grain intake was associated with up to 9% lower mortality and up to 15% lower CVD-related mortality. ‘CVD,’ more commonly known as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally.
Obesity dramatically increases the risk of CVD. Opt for whole grains instead.
#19 Change your milk type
If you drink whole milk, change to 2 percent; if you drink 2 percent, change to 1 percent…you get the idea.
Once you have the developed the (often necessary) acquired taste for skim milk, you’ll have reduced the fat content by 95 percent compared to whole milk.
#20 Brush after every meal
Brushing your teeth after every meal is a psychological method for losing weight – and a very effective one. This habit signals to your body and brain that mealtime is over. Thus, we’re less likely to appease the “hunger impulse” described earlier.