Resolutions that focus on health and fitness are made each year. Numerous people are eager to lose weight, improve their physical fitness levels or even stop habits that can hinder their mental or physical wellness.
People have many options when they seek to lose weight. Fad diets may promise quick results, but highly restrictive eating plans or marathon workout sessions can be dangerous. Taking shortcuts or risks in the hopes of losing weight can lead to various health issues and ultimately put people’s overall health in serious jeopardy. Thankfully, there are many safe ways people can lose weight. The first step in safe weight loss is to visit a doctor and let him or her know your plans. The doctor can help determine if a specific eating plan or exercise routine is safe based on your current health.
Certain medications can affect metabolism and even contribute to weight gain, so a discussion with the doctor can help ensure people aren’t putting their health in jeopardy when their goal is to get healthy. It’s also vital that people trying to lose weight do not believe everything they read online.
Research published in The American Journal of Public Health in October 2014 found that most people who search the internet for tips on how to lose weight come across false or misleading information on weight loss, particularly in regard to how quickly they can shed some pounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the safest amount of weight to lose per week is between one and two pounds. People who lose more per week, particularly on fad diets or programs, oftentimes are much more likely to regain weight later on than people who took more measured approaches to losing weight.
In addition, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes it is better to lose weight gradually because if a person sheds pounds too fast, he or she can lose muscle, bone and water instead of fat. The calories in, calories out concept is something to keep in mind when attempting to lose weight. But metabolism and other factors, including body composition and physical activity levels, also are factors. How well one’s body turns calories into fuel also needs to be considered. The best ways to experiment are to start slowly. • Calculate the average daily calories consumed in a day using a tracker. This can be a digital app on a phone or simply writing down calories on a piece of paper. Track over a few days and see, on average, how many calories you’ve been consuming.
• Notice extra calories. Many diets can be derailed by eating extra calories that you don’t realize you’re consuming. That cookie a coworker insists you eat or the leftover mac-and-cheese from your toddler’s plate can be sources of extra calories. Be mindful of what’s being consumed, including sweetened beverages.
• Explore the science. According to the Scotland-based health service NHS Inform, one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories on average. Cutting calorie intake by 500 calories per day should see you lose 1 pound per week. The same goes in the other direction. Eating 500 more calories per day for a year can result in gaining close to 50 pounds. Small changes really add up.
• Eat filling foods. Choose low-calorie, high quality foods, like vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Meals that provide satiety can help eliminate between-meals snacks that can derail your weight loss efforts.
• Seek support as a way to create accountability. Share weight loss plans with a friend or relative who can help monitor your progress and keep you on track.
• Incorporate strength training. Good Housekeeping says the more lean muscle you have, the faster you can slim down. Start slowly with strength training, using free weights or body weights. Aim for strength workouts three to four times per week and alternate with calorie-blasting cardio. Explore safer ways to lose weight, including taking a gradual approach that promotes long-term weight loss.