Therein lies the difference between healthy and unhealthy diets: long-term effectiveness. Unhealthy diets aren’t sustainable, so they only work temporarily. And what do you do when you’ve tasted the sweetness of weight loss, only to gain all the weight back? Well, if you’re not completely discouraged and ready to give up altogether, you try another quick fix. This is yo-yo dieting, and it can actually slow down your metabolism over the long run.
Healthy diets, on the other hand, aren’t just a temporary eating pattern, but a whole new way of life - forever.
Sounds like a really big commitment.
And that’s why people get scared or stuck.
But the truth is, small changes are easier to stick with in the long run, and they can really make a difference. As someone who has fluctuated between healthy & unhealthy weights myself, perhaps I hear these questions often because I seem to have finally figured out the formula that works for me.
About me: I'm not a dieter. The one time I did diet was before my wedding, when I pretty much ate lettuce for six weeks. It worked, but it wasn't sustainable. I gained back most of the weight on my honeymoon! Aside from that one diet, my past weight losses were typically side effects of various illnesses. Not a great way to lose weight.
Nowadays, I have left crash diets and chronic illness behind. My new weight loss plan is simple, sustainable and I don't ever feel deprived. Plus, it works - I’m almost back to my high school weight!
Sound too good to be true? It's not. In fact, I’m happy to share my top 4 weight-loss tricks with you below. You too can lose weight easily - and keep it off - using these 4 guidelines, but there is one catch: you'll have to be patient.
It's not easy to change, especially when you don't receive immediate gratification. But I guarantee that if you commit to these 4 changes, you will see lasting results in a few months. Not as quick as a crash diet, but much more rewarding when it comes time for your next reunion.
Step 1: Kick refined carbs to the curb.
This is the hardest step, but it's so necessary. Instead of focusing on all you have to cut out of your diet (sugar, bread, pasta, cake, cookies, etc.), figure out what to replace these items with. Perhaps it's a fruit smoothie instead of ice cream, or zucchini 'noodles' instead of spaghetti. Getting your blood sugar back in balance is a crucial step towards permanent weight loss.
Step 2: Don't go hungry!
Yes, definitely treat yourself to a seasonal juice fast. But otherwise, don’t let yourself get hungry. This is my favorite step: you can actually eat more to weigh less! Hunger is the enemy of healthy eating because it has the power to completely derail a healthy diet. Ever been so hungry you'd eat anything - and then felt guilty about it later? Don't let hunger ruin your weight loss plans. Arm yourself with a large variety of healthy snacks: nuts, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, even leftovers! Enjoy a small snack between meals, and never skip a meal. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it really works.
Step 3: Move your body.
Sure, you can lose weight without exercising. I did. But once I started exercising regularly, the pounds really started to melt away. I was amazed by the results - and the change in my mood & energy levels. There are really too many reasons to exercise not to just do it.
Step 4: Enlist support.
Partner with someone who will help you succeed - someone to whom you will be held accountable for sticking to your new regimen. It's much harder to make changes when you're on your own. A health coach is a cheerleader, teacher and boss rolled into one, so you will know what to do, be held accountable, and get recognized for your progress.
Perhaps most importantly, if you slip up, don't give up. Take it one day at a time and keep at it! And before you know it, people will be asking YOU how you managed to lose all that weight and keep it off for good.
Image: ©2013 Diets in Review