Eating Healthy and Losing Weight

Eating Healthy and Losing Weight

I had an acquaintance who wanted to lose weight, so she went on a prepackaged food plan that is highly advertised and promoted on television.  She followed the program faithfully and the good news is that she lost weight.

Unfortunately, the diet also affected her health. She was often sick and her hair started breaking off and falling out. She also lacked her usual vitality and had trouble sleeping. As a result, she stopped using the program and sadly, gained all the weight back and more.

If you are contemplating a diet program, keep in mind that your health is a precious commodity.  Be sure to consider how to go about eating healthy and losing weight, rather than just losing weight without regard to the effect on your health.

Unless you have a medical condition that interferes, you should be able to lose weight without compromising your health.

What about calories

Many diets are based on calorie counting, and while this is probably not the only factor in successful weight loss, you may want to include it in your weight loss plan.  Calorie needs vary based on factors like age, gender, activity level, and even genetics.

Many health experts believe that the way to go about eating healthy and losing weight is to eat fewer calories than you need, which will force your body to burn fat. It is probably not as simple as that, but it is a place to start.

Click on this link if you would like to estimate your calorie needs.

Important: Get a physical check-up to make sure there are no underlying health problems, and discuss with your doctor your plans to lose weight.

Here are some tips to help you with eating healthy and losing weight:

-Educate yourself about food.  This is so important if you want to be healthy!  There is a lot of information on this site that will help you. Just click on the links at the top of the page and start with the basics of healthy eating.

-Be flexible within limits. One of the problems with many diet plans is that you have to limit yourself to a certain list of foods. That inflexibility can hinder your ability to keep the weight off long-term.

-Don’t “go on a diet”; instead, make a  lifestyle change.  If you go on a diet, you will go off the diet and when you go back to old patterns of eating, you will gain the weight back. In addition to the discouragement it causes, yo-yo dieting has been found to be bad for your health.

-Avoid single food plans and plans that eliminate certain food groups. Eat a variety of whole foods from all of the food groups. Keep in mind that if you feel deprived because you have stopped eating an entire food group, you are more likely to give up and go back to harmful eating patterns.

-Read labels and become knowledgeable about what to look for on a food label.

-Be wary of “low-fat” foods. Since fat provides flavor, food companies will often replace fat with more sugar or chemicals, which can sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

-Set a realistic goal for yourself, and don’t obsess about the number on the scale. Take into account what is doable for you and don't feel like you have to look like a 20-year old model or get back to the weight you were when you were young.

-Include fiber-rich foods in your diet. Fiber fills you up and keeps your digestive system moving efficiently.

-Drink water. It helps with digestion, elimination and is necessary for a well-functioning system.

-Skip sugary (and artificially sweetened*) beverages, including fruit juice.  These drinks add calories without much satiety and in some cases will make you feel hungrier. 

-Help keep your insulin response steady by eating complex carbs, healthy fats and proteins, and by limiting or avoiding sweets and white flour products.

-Eat slowly and deliberately, putting your fork down between bites, focusing on eating by not doing anything else at the same time.

-Plan what and how much you will eat ahead of time and write down what you eat in a food diary. Be honest! Once you understand how to go about eating healthy and losing weight, you may not need to plan so much or keep a food journal any more.

 -Find out what a serving looks like and don't kid yourself about how much you are eating.

-If you are an emotional eater, that is, if you eat when you are sad, bored, happy, or in the throes of any strong emotion, try to come up with alternative pleasures that you can substitute for eating at those times.

-Cancel your membership in the "Clean Plate Club." While wasting food is not good, eating food you don't need is also a waste, so try to only put as much food on your plate as you need and if you are full, stop eating, even if their is food still on your plate! Using a smaller plate may also help with this issue.

-Eat foods that appeal to you, and try to change your thinking to enjoy foods that are healthy for you. Eating is one of the great pleasures in life, and to be successful in the long run, you need to find healthy foods that appeal to you.

-If you goof, don’t use it as an excuse to give up. Just pick up where you left off and you will succeed.

*Some studies have shown that drinking diet sodas may actually cause weight gain (or at least do not help with weight loss!) due to their affect on your brain chemistry. You may actually crave more food, particularly sugary food since your brain expects to get glucose based on the sweet taste of the beverage, but the diet beverage does not fullfill that promise.

Read more about this issue by clicking on this link.

Here are some tips for eating healthy and losing weight that are not food related.

-Get moving! Take a walk, play a sport, get a workout, go dancing--whatever works to get you up and out of your chair for at least a part of each day!

-Reward yourself and celebrate achievements with pleasures other than food. 

-Change habits that make it more difficult to achieve and maintain your weight loss goals, such as keeping food in your car, having unhealthy food in your cupboards and taking a route home from work that goes past your favorite fast-food place.

-Find ways to handle stress so you are not vulnerable to overeating when you are upset.

-Smile, laugh and think positively. Hang out with people who encourage you and make you feel good about yourself.

-Cultivate your spiritual health through prayer and quiet time.

-Spend time thinking about and helping others. 

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