Weight loss is one of the biggest challenges you can take on. Whether you just want to lose a few pounds or need to lose a serious amount for your health, starting a diet and exercise plan can feel incredibly overwhelming. This is because most diets aren’t successful. Researchers have found 90% of people who lose a lot of weight eventually gain it all back.
You can beat these odds, but you need to be strategic. Here is how you can develop healthy habits to keep off all the weight you lose.
1. Don’t eliminate foods entirely.
One of the first things people do when they start dieting is eliminate foods. This is why there are so many no-carb or low-fat diets out there. The fact is that these diets aren’t sustainable. You might be able to cut out sugary treats for a month, but you are more likely to overeat when you finally have them again.
Instead, look to cut back on your calories and replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie options. For example, instead of drinking a soda each day, have one as a weekly treat. Look for low-calorie ice cream options if you still want to enjoy dessert every day. This is much more sustainable in the long run.
2. Pay attention to your portions.
Another problem that some dieters have is portion control. A person might pour a bowl of healthy cereal, thinking they are making a smart choice, not realizing that they poured double the recommended serving size. Read portion sizes carefully so you understand how much you should eat. You can also invest in a small food scale to weigh out your portions when you first start out. This is more accurate than estimating what you can eat so you don’t go over your expected calorie count.
3. Find an exercise activity you love.
If you dread going to the gym every day, then you aren’t going to keep up with your exercise plan. You will always find some reason to skip a workout or miss a week, and then you likely will never return. Instead, find something you love doing. If you enjoy dancing, take a dance fitness class. If you like swimming, get a membership at a location with a pool.
You can also use the buddy system to work out. Find a friend who wants to go with you or consider adopting a dog to take on walks. If you have a puppy, make sure you get the best dog harness for pulling or your walk around the park could turn into an unplanned run. Puppies especially do better with harnesses, as their smaller throats can get injured from a collar. Make sure you have the best harness possible so that both you and your puppy enjoy your outings.
4. Set small goals for yourself.
While having a large goal (I want to lose 50 pounds) is important for your overall vision, small goals will help you along the way. For example, if you commit to losing two to three pounds each month, you can hit your 50-pound weight loss goal in two years.
These realistic goals are also more likely to help you keep the weight off than if you lose 50 pounds in two months with fad diets and unhealthy habits.
5. Seek out professional help.
Everyone has a unique body that has individual needs. If you tried dieting before and it didn’t work, the problem might not be you – fad diets only work for a select few. If you want a diet plan you can stick to, consider meeting with a nutritionist who can create a plan specifically for your needs. Use the search phrase weight loss clinic near me to find qualified professionals who you can trust. They can also help you learn about diet and nutrition so you build healthy habits in the long run.
Don’t feel discouraged if you have trouble losing weight. You are not alone. Instead, develop basic, long-term habits that you are less likely to break and take steps to improve your overall health.