For many, losing weight is one of many goals. But it’s definitely something easier said than done. People try all sorts of tips and tricks and give a wide variety of fad diets a go, but it’s still a tricky task. In fact, many people who do lose weight end up regaining it all within a few years.
So what’s the secret to weight loss? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to losing weight. But there are some things you can keep in mind that will help you make smarter weight loss decisions. Here’s how dietitians explain some things you need to know about losing weight.
Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know About Losing Weight
1. It’s A Long-Term Commitment
Losing weight is a serious commitment and takes lots of positive thinking, discipline, and dedication. Once you start changing your lifestyle to adopt healthier habits, you’ll have to keep these habits up for the foreseeable future.
According to Lauren Slayton, a dietician, book author, MS, and RD, there isn’t truly a “maintenance” phase of weight loss. Yes, there is a point where you reach your goal weight and stop repeatedly trying to lose more, but this doesn’t mean going back to old eating habits; that will only cause you to bounce back and gain fat again.
Essentially, you will have to maintain your healthy habits to some degree after hitting your goal weight. There’s no true “finish line,” so to speak. It’s important that your new habits, eating plans, and exercise routines line up with your lifestyle. Don’t pick something impossible to keep up or something that clashes too much with what you already have going on.
The good news is that things do get a little easier after a certain point. Your cravings for unhealthy food will lessen significantly. You’ll see tons of positive benefits, including:
- Better skin
- Sharper focus and concentration
- Increased levels of energy
- Reduced risk of heart disease and other similar conditions
- Increased life span
The truth of the matter is that any “quick fix” diet claiming to help you slim down within mere weeks isn’t worth it. Any positive effects you do get from these types of arrangements will very quickly become undone when you go back to your old diet. Losing weight is a slow process, but it is worth it in the long run; so, hold on to that.
2. Detoxing Is Unnecessary
The word “detox” has been touted as some kind of weight loss miracle for years. Many sing praises about it. The truth is that it doesn’t quite work that way, and there is virtually no scientific truth behind these claims; that’s something you need to know about losing weight.
These “cleanses” are supposed to remove toxins from your body. But all they do is put your body into starvation mode. It’s likely that a detox will help you lose weight quickly, but those few pounds you lose are going to build back up as soon as you stop the “detox” cleanse.
And, of course, continuing the cleanse for long periods is not a good idea. It will result in heavy levels of fatigue and malnutrition and will be the equivalent of you starving yourself – something you should never do if you are in the process of losing weight. (If you find yourself doing so compulsively, speak to a doctor immediately.)
The Truth About Detoxing
If you go on one of these cleanses as a way of detoxing your system, this is not the right method for weight loss. Your body naturally detoxifies itself on its own and doesn’t need any help in this manner. Your kidney and livers naturally remove toxins from your body on a regular basis, keeping you “cleansed” in a natural manner. Attempting to make this happen yourself through a strict diet or supplements does more harm than good.
As a matter of fact, most detox diets can be extremely dangerous, especially for those with pre-existing medical issues. They can lead to excessively low blood glucose levels, and there is no scientific evidence that they do anything for your cholesterol levels or blood pressure.
The kind of “detox” you should do isn’t a detox at all – it’s just healthy eating. Removing junk foods and empty calories will work wonders for your system. Limit highly processed foods and increase your intake of whole food, and you will see much more long-term results – and feel healthier for it.
3. What You Drink Matters
Believe it or not, a lot of times, the biggest hindrance to losing weight can be what you are drinking. Many people forget to consider that their beverages might be too high in calories. Soda, alcoholic beverages, and juices can be so packed with calories they offset any deficit you’ve been trying to work up.
The best drink you can possibly go for is plain water, but if you’re craving something a little more flavorful, low-fat or fat-free varieties of milk, or perhaps some seltzer, are great options. These are all low in calories and mostly good for you! You can even add some fruit to your water for an infused drink. That said, water is perhaps the most necessary of these drinks for weight loss.
- Drinking a glass before a meal can help to get you full faster, thus helping you restrict your portions.
- Just 16 oz. of “sky juice” half an hour before lunch or dinner is a great way to help yourself feel satisfied, even with less calorie intake.
- Studies say this practice is great for losing weight!
- Water is also calorie-free; best of all, it can actually increase the rate at which you burn calories.
- Just 10 minutes after a glass of water, the amount of energy you expend jumps up to 30% for a whole hour!
- This means drinking water before a workout or before walking around and being on your feet can have a positive effect on calories burned.
But how much water is enough water? Around 2 liters daily should suffice, or roughly 8 glasses. As a rule of thumb, though, just drink whenever you feel thirsty; don’t deprive yourself of water! Try not to let an hour go by without a drink, even if it’s just a sip.
4. Making Small Changes Is Okay
Some people are able to go all-in to a brand new diet with no holds barred and stick to it, no problem. But this is far from a reality for most people. If you’re having trouble keeping consistent with your diet, try going slowly.
You’d be surprised how small changes can make all the difference in the world. Maybe replace your cookies with fruit, or reduce the sugar you take in your drinks, or perhaps reduce your serving portions by 10% at a time until you’re able to cut them in half!
Reducing calorie intake by just 500 per day amounts to one pound of weight loss every week – and you don’t even need to go that quickly! Combined with exercise, a little difference can go a long way. Don’t look down on the little things. Just take it slowly and work to do better the next day, and the next day, and the next, until you’re where you want to be.
Remember, losing weight is not a race. Take it at your own pace and relax. Don’t hesitate to push yourself when you can, but don’t overwork yourself. Doing too much and making yourself miserable is more likely to backfire than work out.
5. Don’t Focus On Perfection Or Comparison
Anyone whose goal in weight loss is to be perfect or look like someone else is doomed to never accomplish that feat. Starting with this toxic mentality in mind will only result in disappointment.
The problem with comparing yourself to others and wanting to be like them is that your body is entirely different from theirs. Your body stores fat different and burns it off differently too. Unfortunately, you are not going to look like the celebrity, influencer, or friend you have in mind, no matter how much positive thinking you put into it.
Instead of focusing on looking like others, place effort into being the best version of yourself. Customize your diet plans to what best suits you. Find your basal metabolic rate and work from there. Be realistic about your goals and manage your expectations.
Even more dangerous than comparison is the drive for perfection. You need to be ready to try different kinds of diet adjustments until you find something that works for you. There isn’t any one specific type of diet that can work for everyone, so be prepared to try some different types before you find the perfect one. Others may crowd your head with information, but understand that only you truly know what is best for your body.
Above All Else, You Need Patience
By taking to heart these 5 things dietitians say you need to know about losing weight, your progress will be rooted in science, and you’ll have a much better chance at succeeding. Remember to always speak to your doctor before trying any diets or weight loss plans!