Losing weight is a journey that takes us through so many ups and downs. It may take a few starts and stops before we get going on the path that works. Regardless of which plan we choose some of the keys to success are the same. There are weight loss basics! The best weight loss plans will include the following seven steps not because they are magical but because they are in fact what will provide the long term success or weight loss maintenance. If your plan does not include the “top 7” then by all means pencil them in- your waistline and health will thank you!
Don’t skip breakfast
Well mom was right- breakfast is the most important meal of the day – especially when it comes to slimming down. A great weight loss plan will provide breakfast choices that contain a high quality lean protein, heart healthy fat (little or no trans fat) a good source of fiber and a carbohydrate choice which is not refined sugar. This jump start meal should be 250-400 calories per day. Breakfast smoothies are great- you can get all of this in a delicious drink that you is perfect for the morning rush hour. Eggs, nuts and legumes, English muffins,yogurt and fruit, fruit w/peanut butter or even chicken or turkey all hit the mark for a nutritious breakfast.
If there is one piece of weight loss advice that really and truly will make or break even the best weight loss plans it is you must exercise on a REGULAR (which actually means daily) basis in order to have long term success. Food modification only goes so far. Let me start with what IS NOT exercise. Exercise is not gardening, doing housework, walking around the house on the phone, lifting your toddler up and down, walking around the mall, or sitting at the beach. Now keep in mind the more you move the more calories you burn, so it is a good idea to walk around your house while talking on the phone, do some yard work, chase the kids and take a few extra steps in the mall while shopping- all of these things will burn more calories and are diet friendly but they are not exercise. Exercise is a sustained activity that increases your heart rate and rate of breathing. Running, walking, biking, spinning class, swimming, playing tennis – you get the idea. Exercise is the best weight loss bargaining chip you have. If you want to “cheat” make it up in exercise- eat more calories then burn more calories.
Get on a meal plan
Eating three balanced meals with small snacks between meals will keep the weight off. Do not starve yourself all day just to get to dinner time and consume a day’s worth of calories in one sitting! Well timed and planned meals keep your body nourished, feeling fuller longer and keep your energy levels up!
This is a topic in which it is easier said than done. Stress and anxiety effect all of us. Controlling the level of stress will have a very positive effect on your weight loss plan. Emotional eating is the number one weight loss issue. Take steps to control your anxiety- exercise regularly, utilize massage or acupuncture, do yoga, learn to meditate, read a book, talk to a friend- put some thought into how you can control and neutralize anxiety and stress.
Control calories- read food labels!
A good weight loss plan is like a budget. Knowing how many calories and what nutrients are in foods is crucial. To lose weight calories intake must be kept low and calorie spending high. Reading labels and understanding what a portion size is and exactly what and how much food is on your plate is very important. Get in the habit of reading the food label on everything you purchase. Knowledge is definitely power. There are many sites that give you calorie content of foods – Google has a calories counter or there is even an iPod app! The idea is investigate the nutritional value of your food!
Many weight loss plans provide the tools for weight loss but only a few will provide the tools for maintaining the weight loss. Incorporate the five tips into your weight loss plan enjoy your success! Remember in all that you do – shoot for the moon because if you miss you will still land among the stars! Always dream big!