6 Healthy Ways To Lose Weight & Keep It Off
If you've ever tried to lose weight and failed, you'll know how tough it can be to shed those unwanted pounds and keep them off.
With the number of fad diets and food trends out there, it's sometimes difficult to know what works and what doesn't and what's best for you.
It's important to realise that losing weight fast is usually not sustainable.
So if you can avoid yo-yo dieting and fads, and instead gradually introduce smarter eating and exercising habits, you'll discover that pretty soon, you can actually have your cake and eat it to.
The key is to tip the scales in your favour by making changes to your 'lifestyle', rather than going on a 'diet'.
And you can do that by embracing these 6 proven, healthy steps.
1. Eat More, Not Less (of the right foods)
When you think about losing weight, the seemingly obvious solution is to simply eat less.
But this is the reason why most diets fail.
No one likes depriving themselves, so rather than focus on eating less, it's best to focus on eating more—of the right types of foods.
When you regularly eat wholesome, whole foods, your body and cells tell your brain that they're getting everything they need, so over time you'll find that your appetite goes down.
It really is a common sense principle that works in practice the more you do it. And pretty soon, you'll probably also notice that you no longer habitually crave three big meals a day.
Focus on getting plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and quality protein into your diet.
And every time you have a craving for unhealthy food, make sure you drink water and then eat something nourishing first. Great choices are bananas, raw nuts, avocados or a green salad dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and a few chunks of organic cheese.
Also, whole foods generally have more fibre, protein and healthy fats, which keep you fuller for a lot longer than junk food.
2. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is becoming trendier these days as people have become aware of its incredible benefits, but it’s nothing new in the history of humankind.
People have been using this method for centuries, not only to correct sickness and imbalances within the body, but also as a lifestyle and longevity protocol.
In today's busy world, intermittent fasting is also a great option to help support weight loss in a healthy, sustainable way.
Intermittent fasting involves consuming all of your calories (meals/food) within a certain window of time throughout a 24 hour period, meaning that you are essentially 'fasting' for the remaining hours of that day.
Even if you make minimal changes to your current diet in terms of 'what' you eat, by adopting intermittent fasting, you will notice changes to your body composition in a relatively short space of time.
But by eating the right types of foods, the results from intermittent fasting can be life-changing.
There are many different intermittent fasting techniques to choose from, depending on your lifestyle and goals, but the most popular type of intermittent fasting involves consuming your calories by eating 2-3 meals within an 8-hour period and then fasting for the remaining 16 hours of the day.
Keep in mind that if you sleep for 8 hours, you've already taken care of half of your fasting window whilst you sleep. The secret is then to delay breakfast for as long as you can, to break your fast intelligently, and then to have your final meal of the day as early as possible in the evening.
This principle and science behind intermittent fasting is largely hormonal.
The longer you fast, the more your body lowers its insulin level and begins to tap into your fat stores for energy.
This can help you to see natural, maintainable weight loss over time, while also providing a number of positive side-effects, like reduced cravings, more energy, improved heart health and a lower risk of many diseases.
It’s important to treat that 8-hour window of eating carefully by eating whole, healthy foods and avoiding binge-eating; otherwise, you might not reap all the benefits of this lifestyle.
Learn more in Fasting: What You Should Know.
3. Find Healthy Convenience Foods
While fast food is definitely out of the picture when it comes to the healthiest ways to lose weight and keep it off, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat “convenience foods” and still be healthy.
Not all pre-made or packaged foods are bad for you and eating on-the-go doesn’t have to be unhealthy. The trick is to find foods and brands that use healthy, wholesome ingredients without adding tons of unhealthy ingredients to make it taste better or stay packaged longer.
Make raw nuts, like Macadamias and Brazil nuts, your 'go-to' snack foods, together with dried organic fruits like Apricots and Mango.
Add nuts to your salads at lunch and yogurt in the morning or for a light desert. Take a ripe avocado to work, mash it into a bowl with a squeeze of lemon and a good pinch of sea salt and you have a quick and easy, healthy guacamole!
Other great on-the-go foods are the Cornucopia Epicurean Snack for quick but satisfying hunger-relief, RA-W Juice Powders for a refreshing boost of vitamins, minerals, and energy, and of course, the Pulse Sacred Meal as a fast, convenient snack any time you're short on time or on the go!
4. Exercise Regularly
We all know that a healthy diet plays a big part in the long term weight loss equation, but exercise is every bit as important.
Not only do you burn extra calories while you’re exercising, but the right types of exercise strengthens your joints and muscles, which in turn, burns even more calories even while you’re at rest.
Low-impact exercises like swimming, pilates, yoga, cycling and higher repetition circuit or weight training are the keys to helping you to torch fat, hit your goal weight and maintain it, and keep your metabolism high as you get older and it starts to naturally slow down.
To speed up the process and actually change your body shape, combine cardio with weight training at least 3-4 times a week and ensure you’re getting enough sleep.
The results from your diet and exercise routine will be even more rapid when you combine them with intermittent fasting.
Learn more in 5 Daily Musts to Boost Your Energy Naturally
5. Get Enough Sleep
Speaking of sleep, it’s one of the most crucial and healthiest ways to lose weight.
Your body needs sleep for so many functions, from rebuilding muscle to retaining memories. When you don’t get enough sleep (or too much poor-quality sleep), it can lead to increased appetite, junk food cravings, poor decision making, stress, and overall fatigue throughout the day.
None of these help you make great decisions when it comes to eating healthy and exercising, so it’s safe to say sleep is crucial when it comes to losing weight in a natural, healthy way.
Unfortunately, quality sleep doesn’t come easy to everyone. If you find yourself counting sheep until the herd runs out, there are ways to make sleep come easier like meditation, essential oils, and relaxation techniques. Sometimes, the culprit is simply too much junk food late at night or not exercising.
Figure out what’s preventing you from getting quality shut-eye, and you’ll notice an improvement in all areas of your life—including your waist size.
Learn more in How to Sleep Better With Essential Oils
6. Reduce Refined Carbs
The old mantra that one must avoid carbs to lose weight is more myth than anything else. Carbs aren’t evil—it’s the refined carbs that you need to monitor closely.
Refined carbs are foods like white bread, pastries, soda, white pasta, breakfast cereals, etc. One of the healthiest ways to lose weight is to simply cut these processed food items out of your diet—or at least limit your intake.
Refined carbs are high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats, while at the same time being low in protein, fibre, and nutritional substance. They are the enemy of an effective, long-lasting weight loss program.
You’ll quickly realise how refined carbs don’t keep you full for very long, whereas whole foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean plant-based protein are much more satisfying and lasting. Plus, cutting out refined carbs helps you reduce your cravings for them over time, making it easier to keep the weight off for good.
Learn more in 7 Ways to Knock Out Refined Carb Cravings.
The key is to establish your goals and what is important to you at your stage in life.
If you simply want to improve your resistance to sickness and disease, then intermittent fasting, combined with a diet rich in wholefoods and plenty of walking for exercise is a wonderful way to go.
On the other hand, if you want to make changes to your body shape and composition, you can adapt these principles to suit your needs and goals - and in the process, take back control of weight and health.
Learn more in Losing Weight: The Big Fat Lie
Tolman Self Care.