A successful weight loss plan is one that will give you sustainable results.
The one that will allow you to feel energised and well, making the weight loss a positive experience.
If your current weight loss plan or diet makes you feel tired, irritated and constantly in a bad mood, then it isn’t right for you. You also want to avoid any diet plans that give you a yo-yo effect each time you do them or that create diminishing results.
So, how can we lose weight without losing our mind? How to maintain our weight loss and stay lean forever?
Healthy weight loss plan VS unhealthy weight loss plan
Unhealthy weight loss includes all the crash diets, which require a dramatic restriction of the calorie intake and elimination of some of the essential food groups from our diet. By doing this we are putting our bodies in a starvation mode and dehydrating it. For this reason the body starts to look for nutrients in its nutrient reserves, like muscles, bones and body water. Therefore we will decrease our body mass but by decreasing our muscle mass, bone density and body water. Moreover, our metabolism will slow down, making it more difficult to lose weight in the future. Also, as soon as we start eating a bit more food, our body will immediately store it in the fat tissue, being afraid of another starvation period.
A healthy weight loss involves changing our dietary and lifestyle habits without scaring the metabolism or drawing nutrients out of the body. Healthy weight loss requires bringing nutrients back into the body to make its work more efficient and to give us energy and to feed our brain.
We must implement physical activity into any healthy weight loss plan too. This increases your metabolism making your body a fat burning machine. This also releases endorphins (the happiness hormones). Through this healthy weight loss plan we are decreasing our body mass by decreasing our fat tissue, not the muscles, bones or water, without sacrificing our energy levels. Also, we stay positive, in good mood and mentally active thanks to well fed brain and the happiness hormones.
A healthy weight loss plan may take longer than unhealthy weight loss plan. This is because we learn how to eat better. It also teaches your body how to burn its own fat for fuel. Therefore it allows us to maintain the weight loss results. The effects are then sustainable.
Healthy weight loss rules for a successful weight loss plan
1. Don’t starve yourself! Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
Make sure that your meals are well balanced, meaning they contain all the essential macronutrients like protein, fats, carbohydrates and micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals. Excluding some of the essential nutrients is contributing to a malnourishment of the body therefore promoting cravings and low mood, as well as slowing down the metabolism and decreasing fat burning properties of the body.
The best macronutrients for a Healthy Weight Loss Plan include:
- Protein: organic and/or free range poultry, wild/grass fed red meat, wild fish, organic eggs, raw cheeses, beans and legumes.
- Fat: avocados, extra virgin olive oil, linseed oil, walnut oil, hemp oil, raw coconut oil (and other coconut products), oily fish or fish oils, grass feed butter, ghee, nuts and seeds.
- Carbohydrate: vegetables and fruits (preferably low glycemic and organic: spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, rocket, Romanian lettuce, pak-choi, watercress, radish, tomatoes, celery, leek, onion, garlic, all types of berries etc) as well as grains, like quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, rice, sprouted or sourdough bread.
The more colourful your plate, the more variety of nutrients you will get from it. Colourful vegetables and low GL (Glycemic Load) fruits are a wonderful source of fibre. Eating more fibre supports a healthy digestion, prevents weight gain and may help you to lose weight. Colourful vegetables and low GL fruits are also very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants play important roles in the body that are vital to maintaining weight, good health and preventing disease. Also, when we loose weight, we tend to release Reactive Oxidative Spices (ROS), which can be harmful to our health if there’s not enough antioxidants in the body to prevent that.
The best sources of colourful fibre and antioxidant rich vegetables and fruits are:
Kale, broccoli, brussell-sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach, carrots, asparagus, radishes, pumpkin, butternut squash, beetroot, artichokes, leeks, onions, peppers, courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, mustard greens, watercress, lemons, apples, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, etc.
Remember that it is best to eat organic vegetables and fruits which have higher content of nutrients and are pesticide free. Most nutrient rich will be local grown, not imported vegetables and low GL fruits.
2. Avoid processed foods! Choose a whole food products.
Processed foods are full of unhealthy ingredients, like added sugars, trans-fats, sodium and preservatives, all of which should be limited as much as possible in a healthy weight loss plan and for a general health benefits.
Whole foods are those which haven’t been packaged and are in the most natural form you can get. This not only guarantees freshness and high amount of nutrients, but also deliciousness of real unprocessed food. Real foods are easier to digest and absorb which will help nourish our organs and create energy from it. Processed, packaged foods are strange and confusing to our body, which doesn’t really know how to utilise it , therefore it is more likely to store it as a fat.
If you are buying processed, package food, always read the label, check the nutrient content (carbohydrates, sugar, fat, protein, etc) and the ingredients list. If the ingredients list contains more than five ingredients or names and symbols that you don’t understand, it is very likely a highly processed and unhealthy product.
Look out for the sugar content too. We should not be consuming more than 25 grams of sugar a day. For example:
– bunch of kale has 1.3g of sugar
– one apple has 10g of sugar
– Yoplait strawberry yoghurt has 26g of sugar in small pot
3. Stay Hydrated. Drink more water!
Pure water is very important for healthy weigh loss. Water helps to maintain normal bowel functions and keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract, therefore prevents constipation. Water helps flush out the toxins and waste products from your body. Toxins are stored in fat tissue and released when we lose fat, so it may cause various health issues if released toxins are circulating in body. Water is therefore crucial for healthy living. Some studies have shown that water consumption increases metabolism and it may suppress the appetite when consumed before meals.
Remember that it is best to drink filtered water. It is cleaner than a tap water and it does not contain Fluoride and Chlorine which are harmful for our health and may sabotage healthy weight loss. Buy good quality bottled water or invest in a water filter (preferable reverse osmosis filter).
4. Boost metabolism and increase fat burning properties with exercise.
An effective weight loss plan must combine a whole food diet and regular exercise. Good workouts will help you to increase you metabolism for up to 48h depending on the type of exercise. It means you will still burn calories even when watching TV.
Research shows that HIIT offers health benefits like fat burning and improvements in insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation. HIIT not only can result in significant reductions in total abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat, but also can give you significant increases in fat-free mass and aerobic power that you simply cannot get from regular aerobics.
Weight lifting is another great workout when you want to lose weight, the healthy way. Studies have demonstrated that after a weight training workout, the metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours post-workout, meaning that you are still burning calories while sitting and watching TV after your weight lifting workout. Therefore regular participation in a weight lifting session will really increase your calorie burning and thus fat burning capacity.
Cardio training does not have the same effect on the body unless you do sprints. Sprinting is a slightly different story and will create effects with your metabolic rate closer to that of weight lifting. With this, you must be sprinting hard in order for benefits to be seen though, which is something some people will struggle with.
If you are not motivated to push yourself harder consider hiring a personal trainer or signing up to a gym. And remember any activity is better then no activity! So if you don’t enjoy HIIT, weight lifting or sprinting try to find something else that you enjoy and will practice regularly. Its important to just start moving!
Now that you know what dietary and lifestyle changes are necessary to lose weight and maintain it, there’s nothing that could stop you, right?
Unfortunately it’s not that easy. There are some factors that may be sabotaging your weight loss plan.
How to overcome weight loss barriers?
1. Set realistic expectations
Based on your genetic predisposition, on the amount of the fat you carry and on the fact that changing habits takes time – TAKE IT EASY! Make small, not a drastic changes, one at a time. Instead of changing diet completely for the beginning simply find a healthy substitutes of the unhealthy foods that you are eating.
Don’t push yourself to much, because if you make you weight loss plan to difficult to achieve you more likely step back. Also, accept the fact you will have a setbacks and, instead of giving up, start fresh the next morning.
Losing weight to fast may be an indicator that you are losing it in an unhealthy way by starving your body and slowing down your metabolism. There’s no point in unhealthy weight loss as this weight will come back much faster than you lost it.
Give yourself some time, learn new eating and lifestyle habits and make it your own. The longer you eat in a healthy manner, the easier it will become and your taste buds will start changing and cravings will stop.
2. Love yourself!
Improving your body image can lead to better eating habits and help you to lose weight. This involves accepting your body and spending less time thinking about it! Stop obsessing about your body; it will not make you any happier! You need to feel good about yourself to feel motivated enough to want to lose weight.
Get your feel-good kicks by doing something outside of yourself. Volunteering, new social activities, taking on a new challenge or learning a new skill, could make you feel so much better about yourself, help you lose weight and take your focus off your appearance.
Nourish yourself with acceptance, compassion, healthy food and love. Make no room for criticism. If you love and care for your body, you will want the best for it and that includes making sensible choices and losing weight.
If you can reduce the significance of how you look and recognise your other strengths instead, you may feel happier. Research has confirmed that this can lead to even greater weight loss than just improved self-image.
Plan your weight loss wisely by implementing the Healthy weight loss rules and learn how to Overcome weight loss barriers, which make your weight loss journey a positive experience, that will bring you a long lasting results.
By Ola Mazurkiewicz NT @ Positive Vitality
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