According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, more than one third of the American population is overweight , and the numbers get worse every year. Many consumers buy into the latest diet “miracle cures,” expecting to lose weight without a fundamental change to the way that they live or eat. It just doesn’t work.
Quick weight loss is possible, but only when you eliminate poor habits that undermine your efforts. With these three simple changes, you’ll see an acceleration of your weight loss, and start to achieve your goals.
Eat a Lower Calorie Diet
There is a pervasive myth among diet gurus that says you have to severely limit the types of food that you eat in order to lose fat. Follow their recommendations and you’ll spend the rest of your life eating unflavored rice cakes, slurping chicken broth, and avoiding virtually every food that you love.
The truth is, what you eat is only a part of how your diet affects how much you weigh. Eating smaller portions of your favorite foods reduces your calorie intake, creating a daily calorie deficit that leads to weight loss. Because you’re not a slave to your diet, you approach food with a more positive attitude, and you’re more likely to stick with your diet plan than if you force yourself to adopt a completely new diet. As you begin to lose fat, and your body becomes healthier, you can continue to accelerate your weight loss with a switch to a healthy meal plan on your own terms.
Eating fewer calories than you take in is the key to achieving a healthy weight, but modifying your diet can only take you so far. You need to increase your daily calorie deficit if you want to see fast results.
Exercise should involve two things when you want to lose fat. First are the aerobic activities that get your heart rate pumping and burn your fat reserves. Those exercises should be balanced by strength/muscle building exercises, which add lean muscle to your body. An increase in muscle mass increases the number of calories you burn while resting, and helps tone the underlying muscles of your body so your skin looks tight and fit.
Change Your Behavior
Above all, studies have shown the most critical step in long term weight loss is changing your behavior, especially with regards to the way you handle stress and when you eat.
Many people turn to food as a stress reliever. You come home after a long day at work, and the first thing you do is sit down in front of the television with a snack to take your mind off your stress. Break this habit by taking a run or a long walk with your favorite music or podcast. Not only do you burn calories by exercising, but you stop using food as an emotional crutch.
The other area you need to address is when you eat. Studies have shown that eating breakfast kick starts your body’s energy level in the mornings, and you can maintain that energy level with a refuel at lunch time. The same studies show that eating less than two hours before dinner encourages weight gain. Try adjusting your meal schedule to include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with dinner no later than 7pm. You’ll be amazed at the results!
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