One of the largest culprits in causing weight gain is sugar. Modern day diets are filled with sugar all the way from breakfast cereals and donuts to the coffee beverages you drink to beat the mid-day slump to the desserts after dinner. Even fruits and vegetables contain sugar, and though the sugar is occurs naturally and is not refined, it's still sugar. Your body is only able to process a certain amount of sugar at a time, and any excess sugar that is consumed will be turned into fat. When you stop adding fuel to the fire (your fat), your body will start burning the stored fat for its energy needs.
A quick way to jump start your weight loss is to cut out all added sugar in your diet and cut back on fruit, as well. Try eating no more than 15 grams of sugar a day for best results. Many people will notice that they lose a 2-3 pounds, or more, in the first week. Do note that this isn't easy! A banana has nearly 20 grams of sugar and a candy bar has upwards of 40 or more. Keep hydrated and snack on raw, low-calorie veggies like cucumbers and bell peppers to keep from giving into your cravings.
Over the past several years the number of online diet programs has exploded. Currently, there are three main groups providing weight loss services online.
1. Commercial weight loss centers like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
2. Online-only companies such as e-diets.com
3. Registered dietitians.
You should investigate each online weight loss program carefully to determine if their weight loss plan meets your needs. The best online diet programs provide all of the features found in its clinic-based counterpart including nutrition education, personalized menus, exercise schedules, daily/weekly goals, and a comprehensive support structure. The program you select should be tailored to your needs based on an initial health screening that includes nutrition, fitness, and medical conditions. Your online weight loss program should allow self-monitoring of your exercise and dietary habits. It also needs to provide you with feedback related to daily calorie intake, energy expended and progress towards your goals. Choose an online weight loss program that frequently updates its website with current articles and up-to-date weight loss information. Make sure the website is printer-friendly and that you receive both peer and expert feedback via online chats, message boards and/or e-mail. Investigate each online program to assess their fee structure. As the number of services increase, so will the subscription rate. Take advantage of the free trial period offered by some online weight loss programs. After you have thoroughly examined each program you can make an educated, well-informed decision as to the program that is right for you.
As you are probably aware, motivation is one of the most difficult issues to contend with during weight loss. Most people are highly motivated in the beginning but have trouble maintaining motivation over the long term. The best way to stay motivated is to recognize all that you have accomplished so far. Think about the positive lifestyle changes you've made and give yourself credit for them. Try not to lose the momentum you have gained since you began your lifestyle makeover. It is also helpful to look at other benefits you've received besides weight loss. Do you feel better about yourself, have more energy, or maybe a decrease in blood pressure?
Another way of keep yourself motivated is to create visible signs of your progress. For instance, if you enjoy numbers you could post a weight graph or body measurements in areas around the house. Usually the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator door is the most popular locations for posting data. You can also record activity milestones by logging your exercise mileage towards a particular vacation spot. You might even consider taking an actual vacation to this location when you reach this exercise goal. By providing a visible record of your accomplishment not only helps you stay motivated but allows others to congratulate you for the progress you've made.
The final way to maintain motivation is to change up your eating and exercise routine.
Even the best weight loss diet plans make shedding pounds sound so simple. However, as you know from experience it is not that easy. One reason people fail at weight loss is that they don't truly understand the amount of effort that's required to lose substantial amounts of weight. First, for weight loss to occur, you must produce a deficit of approximately 3,500 calories just to lose one pound. Expending 3,500 more calories than you consume is a difficult task. You must work really hard to make it happen by reducing calorie intake (food and caloric drinks) and expending more calories primarily through increased physical activity.
Now the hard part begins. To effectively lose weight it is helpful to know the number of calories in common foods you eat and the amount of calories you expend through exercise. Let's look at an example. Let's say you go to a fast food restaurant and order the following:
Quarter Pounder w/cheese, large french fries, large Coca-Cola Classic and an apple pie. This meal alone adds up to 1480 calories that's over half of your needs for one day! You can see very quickly how calorie intake can get out of hand. Now we need to turn our attention to exercise. The general rule of thumb is that you burn approximately 100 calories for every mile walked. Therefore, to cancel out our high calorie meal requires walking about 15 miles! As you can see from this example you don't burn many calories from exercise, so the best weight loss diet is the one that encourages sensible eating.
There are many strategies you can employ to take control of your eating behaviors. Below you'll find a list of tips that may be beneficial to you. If one strategy doesn't work that is fine just move on the next one. The more techniques you have at your disposal the greater your chances of success.
You've heard it before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, it's true. The goal of eating in the morning is to "break" your overnight "fast." The longer you fast the greater the chance of impulsive snacking and overeating later in the day. This type of snacking and overeating does not make up the necessities of a healthy eating lifestyle.
Are you curious about the amount of breakfast that is needed to prevent binging at later meals? The good news is that it's less than you might think. On average breakfast should consist of about 20-25 percent of your total calorie needs for the day. Breakfast doesn't have to be a buffet of food. Half of a bagel with peanut butter, some fruit, cheese toast, or a quick bowl of cereal or oatmeal are all good choices. For those who do not eat breakfast something is better than nothing.
Eating breakfast is a learned behavior so set some realistic breakfast goals for yourself and work toward them. You may want to start by trying to eat breakfast two or three times per week, increasing until you are eating breakfast on a daily basis. The same strategy should be used to improve the amount eaten as well. Begin with just a few bites and work your way up to eating a healthy nutritious breakfast. And finally, for those of you who are rushed in the morning, grab a piece of fruit or toast to be eaten on your way to work. Eating a small amount of healthy food in the morning really sets you up for healthy eating throughout the day.
One way to avoid food triggers is by controlling your environment. This means making an effort to minimize your contact with food at home, work, and in the car. The more time you are exposed to food the greater your chances are of binging or snacking when you may not be hungry in the first place. Limiting the number of high risk situations will make it easier for you to lose weight. Here are several ideas to help decrease your exposure to food.
If you go to your local bookstore you can find excellent specialty cookbooks that provide healthy weight loss recipes. These cookbooks can help you lower calories, total fat, saturated fat and salt in the food you prepare at home. However, you don't have to get rid of your favorite cookbooks to prepare healthy meals at home. Use these healthy cooking guidelines when preparing meals for you and your family.
You probably start losing weight with some predetermined goal weight in mind. Whether you intend to lose 20, 40, or even 50 pounds you must determine if your goal is even realistic. Goals are important because they give us direction and a way to measure progress. Most people, however, set their goals way too high so when they do make progress it seems almost insignificant. Realize that your goals must be attainable. Don't set yourself up for failure by establishing unrealistic goals.
As part of the goal setting process you should develop long and short term objectives. Long term objectives can be achieved by reaching your short term goals. For example, let's say you have been very inactive and set a goal of exercising five times per week. Going from being totally inactive to five days of exercise is unrealistic. To successfully accomplish your objective, first set an initial, more realistic, short term goal of walking two days per week. Once you feel comfortable with this level of exercise progress to three or four days per week. It may take several weeks or months to get to your target exercise level so be patient. Using this goal setting technique increases your odds of achieving success.
Record keeping is an essential ingredient for weight loss success. You can learn a lot of things from your records. The more detailed your records are the better. Keep track of what you eat, how much activity you get each day, and weekly weight. It may seem tedious and time consuming but record keeping does facilitate weight loss. Most successful weight losers cite self-monitoring as one major reason for their success. Self-monitoring will help you in several ways.
Increased awareness of current habits