Health and Fitness

Diet and Lifestyle Changes for Permanent Weight Loss

My husband and I are seeing our families for the first time in about a year right now, and one comment we get right after each greeting goes something like, “Wow, you’ve really lost a lot of weight!”

The two of us devoted the last year to making serious changes in our eating habits in order to lose weight and reduce our risk of problems like diabetes and heart disease and recensioni idealica really helped us with that. We’ve seen many people struggle with these conditions, and that strongly motivates us to follow a healthy lifestyle to prevent their onset as much as we can.

Of course, that “Wow!” comment is eventually followed up by an almost timid question sometime later: “How did you do it?”

It’s a hot topic for everyone these days, as we’re told constantly to lose weight to preserve our health, and yet, time after time, people just can’t seem to drop the pounds or keep them from creeping back. According to the New York Times, studies show people have tremendous difficulty with both. Weight loss seems to get treated like a secret that only a chosen few can gain the key to.

I’m still working on my nutshell answer to this question, but here’s a summary of the big diet changes that have worked for us:

View the change as permanent. If you’ve lost weight only to gain it right back, you’re in a “diet” mentality. Permanent weight loss requires a permanent change in the way you eat. You can’t give up junk foods for six months and then expect to keep the weight off once you start gorging again. Plus, sticking with healthy foods means you’ll keep reaping the nutritional benefits beyond weight loss, such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure. You simply must learn to accept, like we did, that sitting at the table with unlimited chips and dip is never a reasonable snack – it’s only a rare, special occasion treat.

Cooperate with your family. No one can sabotage a plan to improve your eating habits like a family member who’s not on board. Reach an agreement with the others in your house before moving forward. You’ll avoid the freaky shouting matches that come when the spouse, thinking you need some comfort after a tough day, offers you cookies.

The best thing you can do is to convince your family to change with you, but the least that you must do is persuade them to act supportive and avoid tempting you back to your old ways. Discuss the importance of maintaining good health. You might be surprised by the response if you sincerely tell them that you want to help them change with you so that you can share long, active lives together.

Do your homework. The Internet is chock full of helpful sites that can educate you on what is and isn’t a nutritious food. Take the time to learn what and how much you should eat. Read nutrition labels, learn to measure portions correctly, and research filling and nutritious foods.

Commit to eating more vegetables and fruits. Veggies and fruits offer a lot of food for your calorie buck. Plan to fill up on water-rich plant foods before digging into the heavier items on your plate.

When you’re deciding what to eat for dinner, aim to fill half your dinner dish with veggies, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with (preferably high-fiber, whole-grain) carbohydrates. Often, I’d plan on serving salad or some kind of vegetable soup and a vegetable side dish (half veggies), the main course (a quarter protein), and some bread.

Remember, healthy eating isn’t just about weight loss – it’s about taking care of your body and giving it what it needs. So many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body craves are in all those fruits and vegetables most Americans seem to neglect. Only after I started making veggies a regular part of my diet did I notice how crummy my body felt on the days I ended up eating the usual old meat and potatoes.

Keep temptations out of the house. I can’t overemphasize the importance of this point. When we go to visit family . . . let’s just say our diets have seen better days. It’s hard for me to tune out the cupboard full of salty chips, and my husband will be hard-pressed to ignore any licorice stash that might await him at his parents’.

When your trigger foods are easily accessible, you will eat them (and eat them to excess, no doubt). It doesn’t matter if they’re jumbo-sized warehouse barrels or 100-calorie packs: If they’re junk, they’ve got to go. No one buys food without intending to eat it, so just don’t buy what you don’t intend to eat.

Bring in healthy alternatives. While it’s important to eliminate junk from your shopping list, eliminating snacks from your diet entirely is a bad idea. Hunger leads you to make bad food decisions – remember the standard advice about never shopping on an empty stomach? Replace your old standbys with healthy alternatives, such as bananas, nuts, and low-fat yogurt.

Plan meals. I alluded to this above: Hunger drives you crazy. That’s one reason why I plan dinners in advance, so I can immediately plunge into preparation without wasting time figuring out what to eat while I starve. Also, planning helps keep me on track with preparing meals at home rather than eating out all the time, helping us avoid the overly large portions served by the restaurant. Finally, planning ensures that I have nutritious foods on hand for balanced meals.

I probably could prattle on forever about the adjustments I’ve made to get my diet on the right path, but these tidbits capture the behavioral changes most important to my success so far. Beyond diet, it’s important to increase your activity level, especially through regular exercise, if you want to keep the weight off. With lifestyle changes like these, lasting weight loss is within your grasp.

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