Diets are bad, or they can be. Many cut out necessary food groups to keep your body healthy. Also, once you stop the diet, you may gain the weight back if you haven’t made permanent and healthy lifestyle changes. By making small changes over time, I dropped over 40 pounds by losing weight the healthy way.
The calorie concept in Weight Loss
The calorie concept is very simple. Your body uses calories as energy. You need to consume less calories than your body uses to function in order to lose weight. If your calorie intake is equal to what the body uses, you will maintain weight. If you eat more calories than your body uses you gain weight. Simple, right?
Although the calorie concept to lose weight the healthy way is simple, it is much harder to put into practice. Who wants to take the effort into counting calories? You also have to consider it is not just the number of calories, but the type of calories as well.
Low calorie does not necessarily equal healthy. You can get your daily calorie requirements from eating a dozen low-calorie snack cakes or you can choose a well-balanced variety of foods. Although you may actually be able to lose weight by eating low-calorie snack cakes, your health may suffer from lack of proper nutrients.
Prequel to My Desire to Lose Weight the Healthy Way
I never had a problem with weight until a few years ago. My doctor prescribed me a mood stabilizer to take with an SSRI when I was battling depression. The mood stabilizer had a side effect of weight gain. For me that meant an additional 52 pounds in less than a year.
Did I eat more? Yes. Did I eat more unhealthy foods? Yes. The medication combined with cravings for rich, sugary foods made me gain considerable weight. I went from a size 10 to a size 18.
When I got close to 200 pounds, I decided enough was enough. I was going to have to do something.
At this time, I had some trouble with my uterus which led to a partial hysterectomy. After healing, I noticed I lost nearly 20 pounds from that alone. This gave me the motivation I needed to continue to lose weight.
Why I Didn’t Choose a “Diet”
I’ve heard of people having trouble with dieting. They start a diet and lose a lot of weight. But when they stop the diet, they gain the weight they’ve lost back and then some! I’ve also heard of dieting causing some health concerns. I also don’t like pills and supplements if they aren’t necessary. I chose to lose weight the healthy way.
The USDA Food Pyramid
I am a firm believer in the US Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid1. It literally changed my life and the way I look at food servings.
From early childhood, I learned about the Food Pyramid, but never really took the information to heart. This changed on my quest for healthy ways to lose weight.
The Food Pyramid is now designed with individual concerns in mind. Not everyone can lose weight in the same way. Regardless, there are some basic principals for everyone to lose weight the healthy way.
There are certain groups of food that you need certain amounts of every day in order to keep your body healthy. There are also guidelines to serving sizes. To my surprise, I found out that I was eating way more than necessary to keep my body healthy. My serving sizes were 2-3 times the recommended serving sizes for nearly everything I ate.
By following the Food Pyramid, you can also get your appropriate calorie range without going through the effort of actually counting calories.
My Successful Diet Tips to Lose Weight the Healthy Way
#1. To lose weight the healthy way, I started using serving sizes as recommended by the Food Pyramid. Although I planned my servings mostly for meals, I left additional food group servings for snacking throughout the day. By not waiting for meal times to eat, I was able to reduce my hunger enough throughout the day to prevent myself from overindulging.
Was I hungry? I was a little hungry at times. But I learned how to identify true hunger over hunger perceived by things such as boredom and cravings. By evenly spacing meals and snack throughout the day, I was not truly hungry at any point.
#2. To lose weight the healthy way, I drank a lot of fluids, especially water. Fluids make you feel full for a short period of time. It may be long enough to delay hunger until your next meal or snack. Water is healthy to keep your body clean as well.
Limit fruit juice due to natural sugars. Try to avoid artificial sweeteners as well, as these can actually make you think you are hungry when you’re not.
#3. To lose weight the healthy way, I avoided junk food. I was never much of a soda drinker, but I avoided it completely. I also cut out snack cakes and other sugary and fattening foods that have little nutritional value. I allow myself these indulgences on occasion, but only in small amounts. This lets me feel I’m not doing without while I lose weight the healthy way.
Fresh fruits and vegetables as well as many grain products can fill in as a healthy snack while giving you the servings of the food groups needed to keep your body healthy.
TIP: I had heard that if you have a craving for ice cream, eating a bowl of cereal helps. I tried this. Although it is definitely not ice cream, the milk and slight sweetness of a good cereal will fill you up and can actually satisfy a snack craving.
How Long Do you Take to Lose Weight the Healthy Way?
You may want to lose weight quickly. The healthy way to lose weight is to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Rapid weight loss can cause health concerns as your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs. Don’t be alarmed if you lose a large chunk of weight the first week or two. This is normal. But by the end of the first month you should aim for the 1-2 pounds per week weight loss.
I began my official weight loss in February 2008. I go through periods where I do gain some of the weight back. I do get discouraged and binge on junk food on occasion. But I don’t let it get me down. I am adding exercise to my healthy lifestyle to lose weight the healthy way. This will help me beat plateaus in my weight loss as well as so many other health benefits only exercise can give.
Read more: Small tips for weight loss at home
This can be a long process depending on the amount of weight you want to lose. Don’t get discouraged. Be reassured that losing weight the healthy way will help you keep the weight off while improving your overall health.
I wrote an article previously when I was researching the best way to lose weight from exercise. The article Top 5 Fat Burning Exercise Programs2 is my research into the effectiveness of different types of exercise. You can find something right for you to lose weight the healthy way.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes to Lose Weight the Healthy Way
By changing you lifestyle overall, you can lose weight the healthy way. Lifestyle changes last throughout your lifetime, and once made become a habit of your everyday routine.
I am continually improving my diet and exercise plans to fit my changing needs. I am still losing weight. Although it’s a long road, it has been fairly easy without too much effort. That has helped me stick with it.
When you lose weight the healthy way, you improve your health, the way you look and the way you feel. Don’t be too impatient with fad diet after fad diet to lose weight fast. Lose weight the healthy way and it may just change your life.