5 Healthy Ways to Lose Weight

Have you noticed how people are always talking about weight loss?

It seems to have taken quite the front seat in many people’s thoughts these days. And, it has escalated from the slightly obsessive, to the barking, raving, and completely insane.

Do a quick internet search, and you’ll undoubtedly notice some of the commercial pitches popping up — “Lose 10 pounds in 1 week,How to lose stubborn belly fat,” or my personal favourite, “No cellulite in 30 days!”

I imagine, for some people their weight loss plan is worked out a little like this…

Hello, yes, can you sign me up for your diet plan where I get to eat pizza, chocolate cake, and ice cream all day long, while the pounds miraculously melt away please? Can you also send me your promotional “fat-loss exercise DVD?” Thanks!

Oh wait one second, I don’t really feel much like exercising. Do you have something in pill form? You do? That’s awesome! Now, let me go grab my credit card.

Humph…

In case you hadn’t noticed, that kind of stuff doesn’t work.

Sure, you may lose a few pounds here and there, but will you be able to keep it off long-term? I very much doubt it.

In case you hadn’t noticed already, I’m not much into “diets.” Some may call me a little too safe, and I’ll admit it, I like a more sensible approach. Sensible advice, well, it makes sense!

If you’re after real weight loss, I’m sorry to tell you, but it can’t be purchased in a bottle.

So, now that we know what doesn’t work, what does work?

(You’re still hankering after those jaw-dropping “before” and “after” photos aren’t you? Well, unfortunately — oh wait, let me just check — nope, sorry, I don’t have any! ;-) )

So, let me remind you of all the things you probably already know, but it’s the stuff that actually works…

#1 Add healthy food to your diet

Perhaps that seems contradictory, you want to lose weight, not gain it.

But, if you’re eating like most people these days, your diet is probably filled with processed, salty, sugary, fatty foods, with far too much refined grains, and too little fresh, whole goodness.

When your aim is to lose weight, it’s tempting to focus solely on calories, rather than eating healthier foods.

Maybe you’ve been there before, where you plot how you can replicate all your favourite treats in 100 calorie portion-controlled versions.

I’m guessing last time it didn’t really work out, or you wouldn’t be here reading this post.

So, how about this time, putting that determination of yours to good use by slowly, but surely, attempting to acquire a taste for healthier foods, rather than rubbish so-called “diet” and “light” foods?

When you do that you’ll feel healthier, you won’t be so likely to crave the unhealthy stuff, and you’ll lose weight as a result.

#2 Make use of your kitchen

Don’t hate me for saying that — I know, lots of people don’t like cooking. But, it’s fact that no matter how healthy a takeout place claims to be, you can’t really trust them, and you could make better, cheaper, and healthier yourself at home.

On top of that, having to eat isn’t really an issue that’s going to go away, and I figure you can’t always be heading out for takeaway food.

So, I’m opting for my old favourite piece of advice once again — menu planning.

If you want to give it a go, write down a list of healthy meals for the week ahead, get a shopping list put together of all the things you need, remember to stock up on healthy staples, and then get cooking.

The easiest thing to do is make a really big pot of something, like soup or stew, to keep you going for a couple nights and lunch, too.

Need some inspiration? Check out my 5 ingredients or less recipe suggestions.

That’s a good place to begin, since there are only 5 main ingredients in each recipe. That means you won’t feel overwhelmed with having to look for “diakon,” when you don’t even know what aisle it’s in… I didn’t know either!

#3 Be accountable

sxc.hu: nkzs

If you can get eating healthy down to a tee, that’s a huge big step in the right direction for weight loss. But, let’s be honest, portion control is also really important.

This is where using a food journal can be really helpful.

Tracking what you eat is one of the best ways to make yourself accountable. It will help you stop and think before you overeat, because you know you’ll have to make a record later in your food journal.

For some people that’s all the motivation they need.

I recommend using a calorie tracking system such as Calorie Count, which is free and really easy to use.

I know keeping a food journal can be a huge pain in the neck, but it’s incredibly helpful for many people, so give it a try.

#4 Know that exercise isn’t optional

Many people believe exercise is an optional step in losing weight. Well, sorry to burst that big ol’ bubble — no it ain’t!

Not exercising whilst losing weight can lead to a loss in muscle mass. And, I’m pretty sure that most people who lose weight and keep it off long-term, have some kind of exercise plan going on in their weekly routine.

Also, if you’re already thinking, “Well, I could never exercise enough to lose weight,” seriously, all that advice you already know about taking the stairs, and walking to the shops rather than driving — do it, it works!

If exercise is new to you starting gradually is absolutely fine. However, your long-term goal should be to eventually add some strength training and aerobic workouts.

The key — the more you exercise, the better you feel, which then spurs you on to workout a little harder the next time, and so on goes the cycle.

If you’re overwhelmed about where to begin, check out my article on obesity exercise for more tips.

5. Stay cool, calm and collected

In my experience, the people who are most successful at losing weight and keeping it off, are those who don’t freak out if they “mess” their diet up one day.

Take a leaf out of their book, know that it’s inevitable you will overeat some days or skip your exercise routine. But, just keep moving forward. Don’t begin “tomorrow,” instead get right back on track immediately.

I’m sure everyone has setbacks, or times when they can’t find inspiration to go on.

Don’t feel like you’re the only one who falls off the weight loss wagon. You can lose weight in a healthy way. Put your mind to it, and be strong! :-)

What’s the best advice you would give to someone struggling with healthy ways to lose weight?

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Parker, M.D. May 20, 2010 at 1:49 am

Exercise seems to be even more important for prevention of weight regain.

Anyone comtemplating a weight-loss program should find out at the outset if it advises on how to prevent weight regain.

-Steve
.-= Steve Parker, M.D.´s last blog ..Red Wine Improves Circulation =-.

Reply

Melanie May 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Good point, Steve. A post weight loss strategy is so important. I suppose it’s one of the most important aspects, without it efforts will probably fail.

Reply

Sierra May 20, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Great tips Melanie! Another suggestion to add to #3 (being accountable) is to work with a dietitian, that way you have someone who can not only educate you but check in with you once a week for weigh ins and to track your progress. If anyone needs to find a dietitian here are thousands to choose from on http://www.theSkinnyonDietitians.com Registered Dietitian directory.

Reply

Melanie May 24, 2010 at 10:22 am

Hi Sierra,
Thanks for your link. I totally agree, checking in with a dietitian is a great way to be accountable :-)

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Kim M May 20, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I am a Registered Dietitian and I really enjoyed your article.. very sensible indeed, and written in such a way that it is not preachy or condesending. Love it! Steve it correct, the maintenance part is often the hardest part and the people who keep it off exercise everyday, as much as 90 minutes. So, starting during weight loss puts one in good shape for a maintenance program.

Reply

Melanie May 24, 2010 at 10:25 am

Hi Kim,
Thanks for your comment. It’s always good to have other dietitians checking in and adding to the conversation. Thanks and hope to hear from you again.

Reply

Anastasiya May 26, 2010 at 3:06 am

Hi Melanie,

you have written a very good post about weight loss. I completely agree with all the rules that you have mentioned.I do have one more rule that helped me to lose a little bit of weight:
Be Happy.
I think that often people are treating weight loss as a way to find happiness in life. However, the trick is to be happy at first and then weight loss will be effortless. There would not be any need in emotional eating if you are already calm and peaceful, there won’t boredom munching because you will always have something exciting to do that makes you happy and there will be no need to treat yourself to a big piece of cake just because the rest of your life seems empty and flavorless.
.-= Anastasiya´s last blog ..6 Rules of Stress Free Work/Life Balance =-.

Reply

Melanie May 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Hi Anastasiya,
Oh yes, I totally agree with you. It makes me so sad that people are trying to find happiness in looking good, it’s pointless as you say. Thanks for sharing your tips.

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Cathy in NZ May 30, 2010 at 2:53 am

I’ve been away as such, not reading many emails and thinking I will catch up! I’m in catch-up mode today with a few of my email folders.

I started reading your message and it reminded me that I had not weighed myself for about 6wks…

Interesting to discover that my weight has not increased, since I had to give up 10mins daily walk due to unforeseen circumstances. In fact, there are now at least 2 days when I don’t even get dressed and if it’s a w/day I will only go as far as my letter box.

over at my livejournal there are a couple of posts of the ‘things’ that have been sent to challenge me…but i will return to my former fitness self in the fullness of time, not just now.

what i have done instead is make sure I really tailor my food intake to suit the amount of activity I am currently able to do…and the weigh-in just made me see that is all good :-)
.-= Cathy in NZ´s last blog ..going up and sometimes dropping down the pit – update =-.

Reply

Melanie June 1, 2010 at 7:56 am

Hi Cathy,
I’m glad you are okay, I hope your “challenges” will not hold you back too long. It’s great that you have been able to tailor your food intake to suit — good work.

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