Many people struggle with body image and weight issues at some point in their life. Due to the high number of advertising avenues, fad diets and miracle pills, it is no wonder that most people don't know when or how to approach weight loss. With all of this confusion I think it is time to bring it "back to the basics". The following tips are simple guidelines that you can follow to achieve weight loss and lead a healthier life.
To start any weight loss program you will need to clearly establish and define "realistic" goals. Write down why you want to lose weight, benefits that can result from weight loss and specific changes you are making to your diet. By doing this, you are able to see if the changes you made are contributing towards your weight loss goals. Keep in mind that ½ to 2 pounds of weight loss each week is reasonable.
Before you can reach any goal you have to start somewhere. Start by weighing yourself and creating a food journal for one week. It is important to chart your progress during your weight loss journey. In this food journal keep track of everything you eat and drink as well as how you are feeling at that very moment. This part is crucial because it will reveal eating patterns that may have become habit.
Review your food journal after recording food intake for one week. Look for any patterns in your eating habits and make a commitment to change! For example, you may want to skip the high calorie snacks like brownies or chips and snack on fruits or vegetables instead. If soda is a large contributor to daily caloric intake you may want to switch to diet soda or drink water instead. You should try to drink 6 to 8 cups of water each day; you will find that water is a natural hunger suppressant. The key here is to be consistent and you will see results. Keep in mind that life continually throws obstacles in your way so don't become discouraged if you loose 2 pounds the first week and only 1 pound the second.
Increasing the calories you burn will also aid in weight loss. Start out by taking a walk around the neighborhood and then gradually add intensity. Keep exercise exciting by trying new activities and/or equipment. For example, try swimming as an aerobic exercise instead of walking. Again, you will want to track your exercise activities each day in your weight loss journal.
Setting goals, reducing caloric intake and exercising are the main elements in weight loss. It is also important to eat regularly and not skip meals. When times get tough and you need a little encouragement don't be afraid to ask for support from family and friends. If you need more help or guidance see a dietician or join a weight loss support group. With these tips and a commitment to change you are well on your way to reaching your goals!