1.Determine your daily calorie intake . Losing weight is simply a matter of expending more calories than you take in, through exercise and your daily activities. Exercise alone won't make you lose weight if you're still taking in more calories than you burn. However, eating less and exercising more will only decrease your resting metabolic rate, which accounts for roughly 60-80 percent of daily calorie expenditure. Therefore you should exercise harder and eat more protein dense, clean foods; making your calories burned not too far off from your calories taken in will raise your metabolism and allow you to burn fat effortlessly.
- Write down all the things you eat on a typical day. Carry a small notebook with you and write down every snack, every drink, and the contents of every meal.There are also great websites that you can use to keep track of calories, get recipes, and help achieve your goal. Don't forget to include the pats of butter or the spoonful of sugar in your coffee. It's best to do this for at least a couple weekdays and a weekend; it's even better if you can go a full week. There are also calorie tracking websites that can help you to do this.
- Do an itemized calorie count. When possible, write down the number of calories in each thing you eat as you eat it. Keep in mind that the recommended serving size is often considerably smaller than the serving you actually eat. Look up the calorie count on the Internet for foods that don't have calories listed on the container or for fast food meals. You don't have to be 100% accurate, but you do want a good estimate of the number of calories you're taking in. In general, to maintain your weight, you need to multiply your weight (in pounds) by 10. So for example, 200 pounds X 10 = 2000 calories per day. Reducing 500 calories per day can help you lose a pound of fat per week
2.Go over the list and decide which foods to cut out or reduce. Cutting calories is usually a lot easier than you might think. For example, that daily tall latte in the morning may pack 500 calories. Since a pound of flab (lost or gained) is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, replacing that rich beverage with black coffee can help you lose a pound a week. Other easy cuts include salad dressing(salad dressing is the number one source of fat in the average American woman's diet) candy and butter,Look at the nutritional information for the foods you eat, pay special attention to your intake of saturated fats and empty calories (high-sugar foods). You don't need to cut these things out entirely, but if you reduce your intake of high-fat, high-calorie foods you'll lose weight faster.
3.Seek out alternatives to the unhealthy foods you've identified. You can simply reduce the amount of soda you drink or mayonnaise you put on your sandwiches, or you can substitute healthier choices. Drink water instead of soda, for example, or use mustard instead of mayo. Low-fat and low-calorie options are also available for most foods, and many of these are natural, (although some are made with strange chemicals), and tasty.
- Choose lean meats. Chicken and fish are both very low in fat (and certain fish like salmon, sardines, and fresh tuna are an excellent source of antioxidants, which are also beneficial to your health), so aim to replace some or all of the beef or pork in your diet with these foods.
- Replace high-calorie side dishes with healthier alternatives. Many people get a ton of calories from side dishes such as macaroni and cheese, French fries, or potato salad. You can eat healthier and lose weight by replacing these with fresh vegetables and salads. Pre-made salads are practically effortless, and when accompanied by a reduced-calorie dressing or no dressing at all, they're weight-loss gold.
- Start your days off right. A fattening breakfast of bacon and eggs or a pastry can be replaced with yogurt, oatmeal, high-fiber, low-sugar cereals; or fresh fruit or fruit smoothies. However, for those on a low carb diet bacon and eggs are a great combo for breakfast, since neither have carbs. But don't fall into the trap of skipping breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast increases your rest metabolic rate earlier in the day, and reduces snacking before lunch.
4. Plan your meal. Look for healthy, delicious meals online or in your cookbooks, and create a menu for the week. Make sure that your meal plan reduces your total calorie intake: you're not going to lose weight if you consume the same amount of calories by eating different foods. Make a list of what you'll need for these meals, and -- except for a few snacks, of course -- don't stray from your list when you get to the market. Planning your meals helps ensure you get a balanced diet and reduces the temptation to stop off for fast food or order a pizza. Remember, it's easier to stick to your shopping list if you shop when you aren't hungry.
5.Watch your portion sizes. Opening a bag of rice cakes and eating all of them in one sitting isn't going to help you lose weight. When eating chips, nuts, or dried fruit put a portion in a small bowl and then put the bag away. That way you won't mindlessly eat a larger portion than you had intended. Even if you only make minimal changes to your diet choices, reducing portion size will inevitably reduce caloric intake. A great way to watch portion sizes while snacking is to buy one serving 100 calorie packages - and they come in many favorite snack food items!
6. Graze on the healthy Snacks, Just because you're getting healthy doesn't mean you can't snack. In fact, eating small meals and snacks throughout the day, or grazing, has been shown to aid weight loss, (compared to eating three large meals a day), by keeping metabolism steadier. Pick snacks that are low in calories and fat and high in fiber (dried apricots, nuts, rice cakes, fruits, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and so on). Vegetables are generally very low in calories, very high in fiber, and full of flavor and nutrition. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, and try to eat vegetables plain, without fatty dressings or dips. Fruit also makes a good snack. Fruit contains more soluble fiber than vegetables, which slows your body's absorption of carbohydrates, thus releasing energy more slowly, (preventing sugar highs), and keeping you feeling full longer. Fruit juices are not a replacement for the real thing. You need that fiber, and juices often have more calories than the equivalent serving of fruit -- as many calories as soda! Be careful with dried fruits, because without the water, you tend to eat more, and fruits, when dried, are calorie-rich per ounce. With any dry or dried food, be sure to drink plenty of water.
7.Get more fiber. There are many myths about fiber, but there is science to back up its helpful role in the diet. Fiber keeps the right amount of water in your intestines, making your digestive system work more efficiently and helping to keep you regular. Thus, just eating enough fiber may help you feel slimmer in just a day or so. There is also evidence that fiber in the diet can help prevent stroke and heart disease, ease the effects of diabetes, and may even directly help in weight loss.
8.Drink plenty of water.Adequate water is essential for health, and a great many people simply don't get enough. What's more, if you're chronically dehydrated, your body will retain water in unflattering places, so if you make sure to get plenty of fluids you can start visibly trimming down in as little as a day. Remember, the more you exercise, the more water you'll need.
9.Exercise. Remember, you can lose weight either by decreasing your calorie intake or increasing the number of calories you burn. Any health strategy should include both, but if you want to lose weight fast, exercise is essential.
10.Perform high-level aerobic activities. Moderate aerobic workouts incorporating jogging, brisk walking, cycling, aerobic machines, or classes not only burn calories -- they also keep your heart healthy. Swimming is also great, especially if you are quite overweight or have joint problems, because you can get the same benefits of running -- typically burning even more calories -- with much less stress on your joints. Try to get at least 30-40 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three or four days per week.
11.Pump some iron. Resistance training, (weight training), can help both sexes stay lean by building muscle and raising metabolism. The fact is, hours and hours of aerobic exercise won't help most people lose weight fast because your metabolism drops back to normal fairly quickly after stopping the exercise. If you gain muscle, however, your body's resting metabolism, (the amount of calories you burn when you're just sitting still), increases, because muscle requires a lot of calories to maintain. Studies have shown consistent weight training to raise the body's metabolism by 15%. This means an average woman might burn 200-300 more calories at rest every day! Resistance training is the gift that keeps on giving! Although, keep in mind that muscle mass weighs more than fat (don't be surprised if you gain weight but look slimmer).
12.Rest properly. This means not only taking at least 24-48 hours between strength training the same muscles, (and taking 1-2 days off from exercising each week); it also means getting enough sleep at night, since sleep deficiency impairs your ability to lose fat.
13.Be realistic. Don't expect a miracle. Healthy weight loss can be achieved fairly quickly, but you'll need to be patient. In addition, be sure to set realistic goals. Make sure that the weight you're trying to reach is a healthy weight for you, and keeping in mind that gaining pounds of muscle will help you lose fat, be trimmer, and look better even though you don't actually lose any weight. Your goal should be a healthy body, not a number of pounds!
14.Make adjustments. A successful weight loss strategy based on reducing calorie intake and increasing activity can be adjusted to maintain your desired weight once you reach it. Unlike typical diets, this method is sustainable -- it is a lifestyle change, not a binge-and-purge exercise. Slowly adjust your diet and exercise to include more weight training and calories, as much as is comfortable for you. If you do gain any weight back, you want that weight to be lean, toned muscle, not fat. In addition, weight training, no matter what your age, prevents muscle atrophy and can help stave off osteoporosis.
- It's very good to do a blood test before you begin your new diet and exercise regimen. Some people may not need to lose a lot of weight, but they may need to lower the blood sugar level slightly. You can also check for mineral deficiencies
- The goal is to lose fat, not just weight in general. If you are doing strength training during your weight loss (which you should be), you might actually see an initial gain in weight -- don't worry! You have probably lost fat and gained muscle, which is denser than fat and is much healthier.
- With regard to weights, men and women differ on their goals with weight training. Women, don't worry, no amount of weight training will make you as bulky as a man; women just don't have enough testosterone to build large muscles. The female bodybuilders you see are either taking steroids or training 2-3 hours every day. Male and female beginners should start with 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, and should use the heaviest weight you can while still maintaining good form, even to the last repetition of the last set. Get a weight training book or find a reputable website that will show you different exercises and the correct form. When lifting properly, you will stretch the muscle during the exercise, but you should still stretch properly to prevent injury!
- No matter what the magazine article says, spot improving is a myth! When your body burns fat, it takes it from all over your body, even if all you do are crunches. No amount of crunches will get rid of that gut if they are not backed up by proper aerobic exercise and diet! Washboard abs do not come from millions of sit ups; they come from having low levels of body fat. So if that is your goal, make sure you do plenty of aerobic exercise in addition to your ab routine.
- Sugar comes in many disguises. Check your food labels: fructose, glucose, molasses, and corn syrup are all sugars. Limit all sugars, but especially stay away from high-fructose corn syrup. It is just a corn syrup full of sugar. Choosing foods without it will help you reach your weight loss goals faster.
- Remember your body needs 'fuel' just like a car needs 'fuel'. Your body needs the 'right' kinds of food to lose weight effectively.
- Don't taunt yourself by not letting yourself eat the occasional snack that you're craving. Just make sure you burn it off later with exercise
- Despite popular belief it is not terrible to eat after 6 p.m. A reasonable dinner (with extra protein if you've had a good weight training session) is going to help deliver nutrients to the body to prepare it for the next day. Additionally if you find yourself very hungry before bed, a small bowl of high fiber cereal and low fat milk will actually help maintain your metabolism while you sleep. The key is to not overeat in the evenings.
- Take a multivitamin. While it is better to always get your nutrients from your food, most people miss something in their diet, especially when they're trying to cut calories. Vitamins and minerals play an important role in keeping your body chemistry balanced and your energy levels healthy.
- If you find yourself missing some of your favorite foods, don't worry. There is no harm in having your treat once a week. Pick a day each week where you treat yourself to your guilty pleasure--remember, everything in moderation. If it's pizza, try going to a gourmet pizza place that will use better ingredients and fresher vegetables. If it's a Big Mac, try making your own. A homemade burger is generally much healthier than the food they serve in fast food restaurants. Electric grills that are slanted to allow most of the fat to slide off make nice, lean burgers.
- Save some calories for potassium and protein for after you work out, this will help reduce soreness. (A banana and an egg does the trick.)
- Do not forget to stretch. Stretching can help increase your strength and flexibility.
- Try to keep off weight gainer powder shakes if you want to lose weight. Fat can easily be turned into energy for your muscles so no need to use weight gainer.
- Stay off of weight loss pills or shakes if you really want to keep those pounds off.
- Take losing weight slow, keep a healthy diet but don't push it too hard.
- Cut down on your sodium. Many prepared foods have as much as 30% of your daily value. You get your daily requirement of sodium from a healthy diet; too much can cause you to retain water weight.
- Don't get upset at yourself if you don't lose the weight at first, because you have to keep trying.
- Do not try to starve yourself. In the short run, reducing your calorie intake to unhealthily low levels will slow metabolism and actually cause you to lose weight more slowly. Then your body cannot process potassium so when you DO eat again, (the alternative to dying,) you will gain much more weight than you would if you weren't starving yourself and overall, you may end up gaining more than you lost. In the long run, starving yourself (anorexia or bulimia) can kill you.
- When creating a weight lifting routine, do not focus on a single muscle or group, doing so will overbuild that muscle while under building others - in other words, if you work your biceps, and not your triceps, your arms will begin to curl inward and you will look silly. If you work your chest and not your back, you will have a hard time maintaining good posture as your pectoral muscles overpower your back muscles and pull your shoulders forward.
- If you have a serious medical condition (such as asthma or diabetes, or allergy to protein such as dairy products or you have lactose intolerance) or you are severely obese, consult with your doctor as well as a dietitian.
- Do not take any harmful drugs. They are unhealthy and may ultimately make you gain weight instead.
- Carefully consider whether you need dietary supplements. Most people can get the mineral and nutrients they need through eating food, For example, the multivitamin supplements can make you overdose in other vitamins you need, and you can't store most water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C as excess will be urinated. But just because you are under the recommended value don't always mean you are deficient in it. So only use supplements when the doctor and dietitian says you need to.
- Losing weight too quickly is dangerous and can have adverse effects on your health. Despite the title of this article, getting into shape is best done slowly. If you find yourself losing more than a pound or 2 (or more than 500g)each week, you are probably doing something wrong.
- Be regular in your sleeping habits.
- Talk to physician/nutritionist if you are starting something major, even if it's a change for the better, because dramatic changes can affect one's body negatively if not balanced out.