While many people turn to the latest fad diet or diet program in hopes of “losing 10 pounds in 10 days!” or experiencing “fast weight loss overnight!” few people actually get results from these programs and end up gaining weight from their yo-yo dieting habits in the long-term. Experts say that more than 90 percent of dieters fail at losing a significant amount of weight because they cannot stick with the program long enough to make it a part of their lifestyle. And many people pursue drastic weight loss to get instant results, but soon find that they actually gain weight after the crash diet is “over.”
Fortunately, there are several ways you can overcome this common obstacle to weight-loss success. Incorporating small changes into your daily lifestyle and tweaking your diet gradually will help you get on a healthy track and help you lose weight for the long-term.
The Downside of Extreme Diets: Extreme diets and complicated weight loss programs may offer some short-term benefits but typically leave you frustrated, stressed and hungry in the long-term. When you are required to make drastic changes to your lifestyle, it can be very hard to stay focused and stick with the plan long enough to get the results you want. Extreme weight loss plans can also pave the way to unhealthy yo-yo dieting; this happens when you’re always on some type of diet or new weight-loss program — your eating habits are never really stable. Your body responds by storing extra fat as it protects itself from constant starvation. How do you get out of this unhealthy loop? By making small, minor changes to your regular eating habits.
Changing Your Lifestyle for Gradual Weight Loss: Slow and gradual changes are the only way to make permanent changes and get permanent results. Some simple ways to lose weight gradually include:
Adjusting your diet: Instead of adopting an entirely new eating plan, consider cutting back on portions, adding healthier foods to your diet and drinking more water each day. All of these are positive changes that allow you to get one step closer to your goal.
Sticking with a consistent exercise routine: Avoid jumping into an entirely new workout routine and add simple and enjoyable physical activities to your day. Start walking more, go for a morning jog or go on a bike ride after work to get your heart pumping and enjoy moving your body. Sustain the activity for at least 20-30 minutes each day and you have a “workout” routine that you actually enjoy!
Reduce junk food and unhealthy snacking habits: Eliminate one or two unhealthy snacks from your day so you can start cutting back slowly. If you feel true hunger, reach for healthier alternatives such as fresh or dried fruit, low-fat yogurt or a granola bar so you are not putting yourself in starvation mode.
Resist the temptation to jump into the next fad diet program or fall for promises of “extreme” weight loss and adopt a sensible and healthy approach instead. Your body will benefit from a healthier, more gradual transition as you lose those extra pounds, and you won’t be at risk for bingeing and overeating during the process.