If losing weight was easy, nobody would be overweight. Every person’s body is different, and this holds true when it comes to embarking on a weight-loss journey as well. There is no one-size-fits-all routine when it comes to eating and working out to lose weight, but there are some general rules that everyone needs to know before starting their personal regimen.
With so much information out there and plenty of misconceptions, we’ve rounded up some do’s and don’ts you should consider before starting any form of dieting to reach your goals.
Don’t: Starve yourself
When you starve yourself, your body literally goes into survival mode. This means that it thinks it won’t be fed with energy for a while, so it holds on extra tight to sugars, fat, and all the stuff we want to lose. In addition, a slow metabolism causes the calories to digest differently in our bodies. Not good.
Do: Regularly eat clean, healthy foods
Eating regularly throughout the day will help stabilize your blood pressure and rev up your metabolism. It’s pretty much confirmed, but often misunderstood, that you need to eat in order to lose weight/fat. Even on a diet, you still need to curb your hunger. Instead of filling this hunger with pasta, we can fill it with lean protein, healthy grains, and vegetables. If we starve ourselves, we’ll be more inclined to break under pressure and eat a whole lot of junk food at once. Keep your diet consistent.
Don’t: Drink a ton of alcohol
Alcohol is a staple in most of our lives, whether it’s that Friday/Saturday night binge with our friends or a few glasses of wine at dinner each night. Although alcohol in moderation is OK, it can severely ruin a diet. First, alcohol is high in calories and really has no nutritional value. Alcohol actually impairs our ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients from the foods we eat. It slows down the metabolism because it restricts the body’s ability to create glucose and therefore maintain a healthy blood sugar. Blood sugar is what keeps the metabolism working efficiently.
Plus, alcohol contains hundreds of calories. One shot of vodka is 100 calories or more. Multiply that by a few drinks, and you could very easily consume way too much.
Do: Drink a ton water
Research has shown that water consumption increases the rate at which people burn calories. We obviously need water to survive, but drinking the recommended amount, which many fail to do each day, is imperative if you want to lose weight.
Don’t: Think short term
There is no quick fix to weight loss — no magic pill, magic food, or magic spell to shed those pounds. Turn your diet into a lifestyle.
A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule allows you to indulge once in a while, while still focusing on a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time. For example, if you eat three meals a day, four meals a week can be cheat meals. The 80/20 plan doesn’t call for following strict rules or totally depriving yourself when you need to indulge. It’s a lifestyle hack for healthy eating. By approaching losing weight in a non-threatening way, we will feel better mentally and emotionally in terms of our health.
Do: Create a meal plan for each week
Like anything, losing weight takes hard work to achieve results. Losing weight means consciously understanding what your body needs and responding to it. When we don’t plan our meals, bagels on a Monday morning in the office turn into a full cheat day. By planning ahead, you make a vow to yourself to stick to your goals and not let anything get in the way. Prep your meals or simply write out what you are going to eat that week for each meal. And only buy food for those meals at the grocery store so you won’t be tempted by less-healthy foods.
Don’t: Deprive yourself of indulgences
By depriving yourself of indulgences, you are only sabotaging your weight loss. Restrictions can lead to cravings, binging, and overeating. If you constantly dread eating unhealthy foods because you always wish you were eating something else, you’ll never get in the habit of a clean lifestyle. The key? Practice moderation.
Do: Have willpower
When you finally convince yourself that, yes, it is OK to eat a slice of cake at a family gathering, don’t let your brain fool you into thinking, “I had one, I may as well have two.” There is this thing called willpower. Without willpower you cannot successfully achieve your goals. Of course we all want to eat 10 donuts in one sitting, but stick to one. There’s a fine line between treating yourself and going crazy on unhealthy foods.