Adhering to a strict diet where you have to weigh everything you put in your mouth, count every calorie, that has ingredients you have never heard of or that is too expensive may be why you have not been successful at losing weight and being able to keep it off. There is a way that you can lose weight, keep it off and have more energy: stop using fad diets!
My weight loss success
Read more: Losing Weight is All in Your Head
I have never been the epitome of perfect size, but I also never desired to look like some of those models who are so skinny their body looks like a 13-year-old boy! I struggled with weight in high school but lost a great deal of weight in my late teens.
I kept the weight off until about five years ago. The pounds started adding up and I felt very run-down. Doctors would not listen to me, insinuating that I was just a couch potato who needed to “exercise more,” in spite of my plea for help, that I “know something is wrong.”
I moved to another city and a few blood tests, an ultrasound and thyroid biopsy later and I was informed I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. If I had taken the advice of the doctor who told me to go on a diet and exercise more, I could have done myself much more harm than good. A situation like this is why it is imperative to check with your doctor before undertaking any type of weight loss or exercise plan.
Soon after being prescribed the thyroid medication, my weight was slowly coming down. I also became more energetic. Today, I am 29 pounds lighter; I weigh a few pounds less than I did before the thyroid disease made me gain weight and feel exhausted every day. I did it without counting calories, without weighing and measuring food and without a gym membership.
Stop dieting and lose weight
Not only are many fad diets unappealing, as soon as you go off the diet, you may put the weight right back on. That is what happened to me every time I tried to follow a specific diet. I was nearly an emotional wreck from being dissatisfied by lack of weight loss.
I decided to design my own weight loss plan. It requires realizing that you are human and if you lapse, so what? Eating an ice cream sandwich or a brownie is not the end of the world. There are certain foods you must say goodbye to, however, even though you are not on a rigid diet plan.
In the beginning especially, you have to stop eating foods that you know are triggers for you. You will be able to gradually add them back later. For me, those triggers are brownies and donuts. Perhaps your triggers are candy, soda, chips or other high-calorie, high-fat foods. It may be hard to give them up initially, but knowing you can get the body you want, it will be worth it. So say bye-bye to your trigger foods.
Say bye-bye to potatoes and I mean all potatoes; potato chips, French fries, baked potatoes, all of them. There are very few of us who are capable of eating a plain potato with nothing on it. We eat salted chips, all kinds of additions to fries and baked potatoes. Even though I lost 29 pounds, I still very rarely eat potatoes at all.
Say bye-bye to everything with an overload of sodium. Sodium in excess can lead to major health problems. The American Health Association says that “sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, creating an added burden on the heart.” It can also cause hypertension, kidney disease, increased risk of stroke and other complications. That is why, in addition to saying bye-bye to those fattening frozen dinners and other foods with high levels of sodium, you must say bye-bye to cold cuts, even the kind that say “low fat.”
Low fat does not mean low sugar
People often think they are doing themselves a great favor by buying foods that indicate they are “low fat.” After all, it must be healthier and help in your weight loss goal, right? I bought low-fat peanut butter, only to discover that it had more sugar than regular peanut butter (one of my favorite foods)! I then compared labels on several other foods at the grocery store. In every item I compared, the low fat variety had a few grams less fat but was higher in sugar then the regular variety! So if you are just trying to lose weight by cutting your sugar content, save your money and your weight-loss goal by buying regular and not low-fat items! That is just my opinion and experience, of course.
Yogurt may not be as healthy as you think
You may think yogurt is a fantastic option for weight loss. If you read labels and compare different brands or varieties, you may be shocked.
The best yogurt in my opinion is low-carb yogurt. The Kroger grocery store chain makes their own low-carb yogurt and has delicious flavors such as caramel spice cake, raspberry yumberry, banana cream pie and strawberry pomegranate. Regular varieties of yogurt have around 28 grams sugar and over 30 carbs. The low carb yogurt that I enjoy has 3 grams sugar and 4 carbs, no matter what the flavor. That is an astounding difference in a little 6 oz cup! Dannon used to have a low carb line of yogurt, as did at least one other yogurt maker. I have not seen them in my area recently, but perhaps they are available where you live. Yogurt is filling, a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. It has been a great addition to my weight loss plan.
Stir fry and other dishes
Asian-inspired food can be helpful to lose weight. But if it is loaded with soy sauce, the only thing you may get is high blood pressure and water retention. A 2 tbsp serving has a whopping 55% of the daily value of sodium! I love Asian-inspired food because it is very easy to make yourself and you can add virtually whatever you want. If you do not know where to start when making your own, there are frozen starters that can help. One that I love is Steamfresh Chef’s Favorite Asian Medley. It is “lightly seasoned” and includes broccoli, baby corn cobs, carrots and sugar snap peas. You can just add your favorite noodles or meat and these veggies can even be microwaved in the bag! Other ideas include frozen varieties that not only include the veggies but the rice or noodles.
Salmon and tuna
I could not resist salmon and tuna in my weight loss plan and neither should you. Consider a multi-pack of individually-wrapped salmon fillets. One fillet has a tremendous 42% of the daily value of protein and a good amount of potassium. Tuna is so versatile that it can make a dinner or can be eaten as-is. The Star-Kist envelopes of tuna which can be added to any dish or eaten right out of the pouch adds flavor and variety to any weight-loss plan. The Sweet & Spicy and Lemon Pepper varieties are sure to please and extremely healthy.
Do not give up snacks and dessert
Trying to lose weight does not mean you cannot indulge in snacks and dessert; it just means you are not going to be eating triple fudge cake anytime soon. But you have to be wary of the so-called healthy nutrition bars and snacks. Many of them have more sugar than a candy bar! Even some of the ones that claim to help you lose weight have a high amount of sugar and fat! Read the labels; you will know which one to choose. I even eat candy and I am still losing weight. My favorite is the Skinny Cow Divine Filled Chocolate Caramels. Each bar has three caramels that are delicious and filling, with only 130 calories for the entire pack of 3 caramels!
Exercise is crucial
Exercise is imperative in any weight loss plan. You do not have to join a gym or run two miles a day. You only have to follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “When losing weight, more physical activity increases the number of calories your body uses for energy or “burns off.” The burning of calories through physical activity, combined with reducing the number of calories you eat, creates a “calorie deficit” that results in weight loss.”
Start out slow when exercising, especially if you have not engaged in substantial exercise recently. As with any weight loss plan, check with your doctor first.
The crucial weight loss tips
While following a strict diet plan may not be necessary to lose weight, direction and motivation are. Consistently reading labels to determine the actual amount of sugar, fat and sodium in food is important. So is changing some of your eating habits and learning to say bye-bye to foods that triggers your overeating. Exercise is the final component that can help you get on the path to substantial weight loss, in a healthy manner. Be patient; the weight will come off.