Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know and understand fad diets. They all promise easy and quick weight loss, and they’re often extremely restrictive with a list of do’s and dont’s. But odds are, we’ve all tried one (or more) at some point.
Don’t get me wrong – fad diets do work, for a short amount of time. That’s why people keep coming back to them. They each have a somewhat fanatical following of loyal fans. The problem with fad diets, however, is their sustainability.
WHY FAD DIETS DON’T WORK
One of their main characteristics of fad diets is that they tend to overemphasize one particular nutrient or nutrient category and underemphasize the importance of a balanced diet. They often lead to a cycle of gaining weight and losing weight often referred to as weight cycling, where successful weight loss is followed by another unintentional weight regain. This behavior has a horrible impact on your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight (and keep the weight off.)
Not only that, but what works for you might not work for another person. It’s very unlikely that the best diet for you is the best diet for your neighbor, your best friend, or whoever. Genetics, gender, age, lifestyle, all of those are variables that play a factor that make losing weight such an individual process.
HOW DO WE MAKE WEIGHT LOSS SUSTAINABLE?
People tend to over complicate this, but it’s all down to adopting a healthy lifestyle. This means a collection of healthy habits that you’re used to (and that you enjoy.) This will ultimately keep you away from different fad diets and the cycle of yo-yo dieting so detrimental to your weight loss success.
That being said, here are 7 tips you can use to turn weight loss from a daring adventure to a consistent, habitual lifestyle thing…
TIP #1 – BOOST YOUR METABOLISM (with regular meals)
When you’re going on long periods of time when you’re not going to consume any calories, it’s natural that your blood sugar will drop. This can result in more adverse symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness, and will lead to cravings for sugar-rich foods.
It’s definitely easy to go from one end to the spectrum (being very hungry) or the other (feeling extremely full) if you just bypass the usual hunger signals and wait too long before consuming a meal.
That’s why you should always keep eating meals and snacks at regular intervals, including a balanced intake of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar balanced.
TIP #2 – CUT BACK ON (ADDED) SUGARS
We can’t make a list of healthy habits and not include this. Sugar is often disguised on food labels under many different names, and added sugar is basically the main reason packaged and processed foods are so packed with calories. Our bodies can rapidly break down added sugars, causing blood sugar and insulin levels in our bodies to spike. Added sugars also lack a sense of satiety, creating more and more cravings in the long run.
One easy way to cut back on sugar is to basically eliminate it from your morning meals. You can start the day with cereal, flavored yogurts, muffins, or even a fancy latte, but they’ll all be packed with added sugars. Instead, choose a savory breakfast that includes all three macronutrients, such as avocado toast or eggs with sweet potato hash.
TIP #3 – LIMIT ALCOHOL
This relates to our last point, but please realize this – at 7 calories per gram, alcohol is the second most dense source of calories. More than carbohydrates and protein (at 4 calories per gram.) Even though you don’t need to skip happy hours for the rest of your life, you can become more aware of how much alcohol you consume. Many cocktails are loaded with added sugars.
Not only that, but our bodies don’t burn anywhere near as many calories metabolizing alcohol as they would breaking down fat and protein. Moreover, drinking alcohol leads to interrupted sleep and dehydration.
That’s why you should try to limit your alcohol intake as much as possible, and consider low-sugar options such as wine or liquor with sugar-free mixers (such as club soda or fresh-squeezed citrus.)
TIP #4 – EAT COLORFUL FOODS RICH IN FIBER
High-fiber diets can not only protect you against chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, but they’re also good for your fitness. However, despite the obvious health benefits of fiber, many people simply don’t consume enough fiber.
Having a rich supply of veggies and fruits can help you spice up meals and snacks, as well as stay full for longer.
That’s why you should opt for more fiber-rich foods such as veggies, fruits, nuts, and whole grains, and they’ll also contain other essential nutrients that benefit your health.
TIP #5 – ADD MORE WHOLE FOODS TO YOUR DIET
Whenever you can, you should choose whole foods over processed foods. This sounds easy enough, but many fad diets have a line of prepackaged snacks, breads, cereals, and other foods that you have to be on the lookout for.
They’re hidden secret sugars and fillers, which are not whole foods. Always opt for foods in their most natural form, as this will ensure you’re getting the most minerals and vitamins without added sugars or additives. When you eat more whole foods, you’ll also feel fuller for longer, helping you achieve more sustainable weight loss.
TIP #6 – PRACTICE EATING MINDFULLY
You’ve heard time and time again that you shouldn’t eat in front of the TV, in your car, or while you’re checking your e-mails. And that’s actually solid advice because these distractions come at a cost.
When you aren’t even focusing on what you’re eating, it’s very easy to ignore your body’s natural satiety cues and overeat. Mindful eating means you’ll be paying attention to every bite you take – the aromas, flavors, textures, and presentation of your food. If you’re eating mindfully, you’ll avoid overeating and you’ll appreciate your food much more, instead of mindlessly reaching in the chip bag.
TIP #7 – MAKE SURE EXERCISE FEELS GOOD
When you find exercises you truly enjoy and look forward to doing, weight loss will become much more sustainable and it will have a positive effect on both your physical and mental well-being.
That means even when you’re applying all these habitual changes to your diet and lifestyle, you should always look for new ways to make exercising fun and exciting.
Maybe this means trying a strength-training class, starting a jogging habit, or doing yoga at home – whatever fun and productive exercise means to you, find it and do it.