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Beginning a new weight loss journey can be daunting. For many, it may be the first time you've needed or tried to lose weight, and with all the conflicting weight loss advice, it can be challenging and demotivating to settle on an approach that works.
We've heard them all - some say you need to cut carbs and eat more fat, or you must cut fat and focus on proteins, while others say you can eat whatever you want, provided it's within a specified time frame (intermittent fasting).
While all of these diets may work, they are not sustainable, meaning they are difficult and unrealistic, and the moment you start eating normally, you will gain all the weight back and more.
The healthiest way to approach weight loss is to take a holistic approach and make small changes to your lifestyle so that you're able to keep up in the long term.
Not only will this approach help you to lose weight, but it will also improve your health and give you more energy.
80% of Weight Loss is What You Eat
There is no getting around it - what you eat and how many calories you consume are the biggest contributors to weight gain, but restrictive diets do not work long-term and are unhealthy.
It would be best for your health and wellbeing to incorporate all food groups, including carbs, as carbs are a major energy source. Instead of counting carbs, focus on the types and quality of foods you eat.
Eat whole foods as far as possible; these are most nutritious and keep you full for longer.
Many diets have a list of foods to avoid, but flip the script and draw up a list of healthy foods that you must include in your diet because of their high nutritional content.
There are likely more foods you should be eating than foods you shouldn't.
While the focus should be on healthy foods, you should not consider any foods as ''bad''. Ideally, about 80% of your meals should be healthy, leaving 20% for the less nutritious foods you enjoy.
Cutting out foods that you love but that are unhealthy will probably make you miserable and lead you to binge later on.
There is room for all food types in moderation.
Don't Shy Away from Fat Burners
As easy as fitness influencers make it look, losing weight is hard!
Sometimes, working out and eating healthy isn't enough, so taking a fat burner will help you lose those extra pounds.
Thermogenic fat burners will help you lose weight by speeding up your metabolism to burn fat more efficiently when you exercise.
When your metabolism is high, you will also burn fat when inactive, which is perfect for people who spend hours of their day seated at work.
Other fat burners may suppress your appetite or target fat cells directly.
Move as Much as You Can
Being active allows you to burn more calories and lose more weight.
You need to work out three to four times a week to see results, and to maintain your physique, exercise needs to be a life-long commitment, so it is crucial that you develop a workout routine that you enjoy.
Your mindset toward training is so important - it is doubtful that you will continue to do a workout three to four times a week long term if you hate it.
Going to the gym, while effective, is not for everyone, but there are so many other ways to exercise that do not involve gyming.
If you're not sure what you enjoy, try out different types of exercises, and if you become bored, you can try something else.
For example, you can play a sport like tennis or football; you can join an exercise class like yoga, pilates or kickboxing, or run or swim.
Mixing it up keeps it interesting and allows you to train different muscles and develop different techniques.
On days you don't have a planned workout session, find other ways to incorporate movement into your day.
If you work from home, get up and do a few yoga stretches or go for a walk with your friends instead of meeting them for lunch.
Make Sure You Get Enough ZZZ
Many people get less than seven hours of sleep a night, which is considered short sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can derail your weight loss journey because the amount of time you sleep can impact your metabolism.
Your body releases insulin, a hormone that processes glucose in the blood when you eat.
When you don't get sufficient sleep, it can affect how the body responds to insulin and reduces the efficiency with which it processes glucose.
Apart from glucose not being processed efficiently, people who are tired tend to make poor food choices, often reaching for foods that are high in sugar to give them a boost in energy.
Also, staying awake late can lead to unnecessary snacking, usually on foods that are processed or high in sugar, so it's best to go to bed early and get enough sleep.
It would help if you tried to get about eight hours of sleep every night.
Get a Handle on Your Stress
Unfortunately, feeling stressed can cause you to gain weight.
When stressed or anxious, your body goes into flight or flight mode.
In this mode, your body releases adrenaline to help you fight the threat you are stressing. Your body also releases sugar or glucose into your blood to give you the energy to fight the threat.
As the adrenaline and blood sugar levels begin to drop, your body releases cortisol to provide you with more energy to help you to continue to fight the threat.
Cortisol is responsible for increasing your appetite, can cause you to crave sugar, and slow down your metabolism.
Many also eat to soothe their emotions or feel better about an unpleasant experience.
This is called emotional eating. Emotional eaters get a spike in dopamine which gives them feelings of happiness and pleasure when they eat high-calorie foods.
- Theconversation: Why sleep is so important for losing weight
- Healthline: 6 Ways Sleep May Help You Lose Weight
- Mayoclinic: Weight loss: 6 strategies for success
- Fitmotherproject: Get in Shape for Women: 10 Simple Tips for Long Term Success!
- Fitbelt: 7 Tips to Start Getting into Shape
Photo by Karolina Grabowska