Personalized Weight Loss Guide
Why Lose Weight?
There are all kinds of reasons to get rid of extra pounds. They raise health risks and can interfere with your emotional well-being, too. Losing weight can:
Lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar.
Reduce joint pain.
Improve self-confidence and self-image.
You do not need to lose a lot of weight to get a lot of benefits. You can expect improvements in health with a loss of 5 to 10% of your total body weight, or 10 to 20 lb. if you weigh 200 lb.
How Can I Lose Weight?
If you are among the millions of Americans who want to lose weight, you need accurate information to learn about your options. Different strategies can work better for different people, so it is vital that you consider your individual preferences and situation as you narrow your options. The main choices are:
Increasing physical activity.
Weight loss surgery.
The way to lose weight is to shift your calorie balance. The calories you take in through food and beverages need to be fewer than the calories you expend from daily living and exercise. That is, you need to burn more than you eat.
Diets for Weight Loss
Changing what you eat is the biggest factor in weight loss for most people. There are many different diets you can choose from, and many of them have a seemingly different focus, such as nixing carbs or adding protein, but all weight loss diets that work have something in common:
they reduce calories in some way.The number of diets to choose from can be nearly overwhelming, but you can work towards selecting the right one for you by considering certain factors. You might try asking yourself, and/or a healthcare provider, these questions as you sift through your choices.Does it work? Do people who follow the diet lose weight?
Does it include foods you love? You are unlikely to be able to follow the diet long-term if you do not enjoy the foods on it. If you live for cheese and meat, for example, you may not be able to tolerate a plant-based diet for long.
Does it allow for special treats? Life happens. Does the diet allow you to work in holiday parties, restaurant meals, and the occasional craving?
Is it safe? “Safety first” applies here. Be sure the diet provides enough calories to keep you going; a minimum of 1,200 calories per day is a good rule of thumb. Another benchmark for safety is to lose no more than 2 lb. per week.
Is it nutritionally adequate? The diet should have a range of foods to provide the vitamins and minerals you need. Weight loss should not lead to malnutrition!
Is it healthy? Does the diet improve health markers, such as lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, and reduce risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease? If you do not want to dig into the scientific research on the diet you are looking at, you can take a look at the foods and nutrients on the diet to get a good idea of its healthiness. There are no tricks here – common sense dictates that you opt for more vegetables and fiber, and less sugar and processed foods, for starters.
These are some of the most popular and top-ranked diets and strategies you can follow.
You can shift the calorie balance by making small changes to your regular diet. This can be the best choice for you if you love the foods you already eat, and do not want to change your habits much. Each little change saves calories, and those saved calories add up. For example…Have a cup of puffed cereal instead of a cup of granola, and save 300 calories.
Drink water instead of a 12-oz. soda, and save 250 calories.
Use 4 egg whites instead of 2 whole eggs, and save 80 calories.
Order half of a turkey and avocado BLT sandwich instead of a full one, and save 300 calories.
Serve ½ cup of rice and a side salad instead of 1 cup of rice, and save 150 calories.
Serve strawberries with 2 tablespoons of whipped topping instead of sugar, and save 70 calories.
These changes take little effort, since you are still eating your typical foods. You can shop the same aisles of the supermarket, cook the same recipes you always do, and order your usual choices at restaurants.
A paleo diet is based on a caveman’s way of eating. It includes foods that people ate in the Stone Age, with meat, poultry, and fish making up the majority of the diet. You can also have eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and oils. The diet excludes grains, dairy products, added sugars, added salt, legumes (beans, peas, lentils, and soy products), and processed foods.
How healthy is a paleo diet?
The theory behind the diet is that cavemen did not suffer from chronic diseases, so eating the way they did can help you prevent these conditions. The diet can help you lose weight, since it excludes so many foods, but it can cause nutrient deficiencies. It is hard to follow long-term, and it excludes certain foods, such as whole grains and legumes, that are linked to lower risk for many diseases.
Meal Replacement Programs
The theory behind meal replacements sounds good: replace 1, 2, or 3 daily meals with a bar, shake, or even a special cookie, and you will lose weight. It is true that cutting calories will help you lose weight, but it is usually best to be wary of these programs.It is hard to stick to them. A bar, shake, or cookie may not fill you up, so to satisfy hunger, you might add foods that are not on the plan.
They may not be nutritionally adequate or optimal. Even if you do get your essential vitamins and minerals, you might miss out on important “extras” such as antioxidants and fiber found in plant-based foods.
They can be boring. A few weeks of shakes and bars may be tolerable, but it could take months or over a year to hit your weight loss goal.
It can be hard to keep the weight off. Once you stop following the plan, you might go back to your old eating habits since you did not learn new, healthy habits while on the plan.
Slim-Fast and the Cookie Diet are examples of meal replacement diets. Each day on the Slim-Fast program, you replace two meals with a bar or shake, have one meal that contains nutritious foods, and have 3 small snacks. On the Cookie Diet, you eat special cookies and one meal per day. You can lose weight from reducing calories; one study found an average loss of 2.7 kg (5.9 lb.) after 6 months on the diet. Average blood pressure dropped by 2.7/2.5 mm Hg (systolic/diastolic), blood sugar decreased 3.4 mg/dl, and total cholesterol decreased 13.5 mg/dl on average.