Research shows that people who exercise in addition to eating less keep off the most weight for the longest time. Work up to getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as fast-paced walking) a day. By exercising you’ll raise your metabolism so that you burn more calories, even as you sleep. Exercise also helps you feel better mentally and physically and may help you stick to your weight-loss plans.
Tips for taking off
Countless people try the latest fad diets, only to go off the diet when it stops working and eventually try another one and so on. Don’t be one of those people. Instead follow these basic tips for losing weight safely, naturally and permanently.
• Eat breakfast, and don’t skip meals. Eat more often to avoid a completely empty stomach, which can make you overeat at your next meal. Researchers have discovered a hormone called ghrelin, secreted by stomach. When your stomach is empty, your ghrelin levels surge, which makes you run for the nearest food. Instead of skipping meals, plan to eat four to six small meals or snacks, spaced 3 to 5 hours apart.
• Choose your carbs carefully. Despite what the popular media might have you believing, you don’t need to avoid all carbohydrates in order to lose weight. But you should shy away from simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, white bread, white pasta, and white rice. These foods are quickly turned into glucose by the body, and the influx of glucose causes a rapid rise in the hormone insulin, whose job it is to escort glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells. A surge of insulin is followed by a glucose “crash”, which leaves you hungry in no time.
Instead of simple carbohydrates, focus your attention on complex carbohydrates, found in whole-grain foods as well as in vegetables and fruits. To avoid insulin spikes, forgo meals made up mostly of simple carbohydrates or starches without fiber (think mashed potatoes). That means no big plates of white pasta, and no bagel-with-jelly breakfasts. If you’re having pasta, have plenty of vegetables or some lean meat along with it, or add white beans to the dish. Instead of white toast with jam for breakfast, have whole-wheat-toast with an egg-white omelet.
• Eat lower on the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI ) indicates the rate at which carbohydrate-rich foods are digested. Foods that are digested faster are quickly converted into glucose, leaving you hungry again. Foods with a low GI score include brown rice, lentils, yams, and apples. Those with a high GI number-in other words, foods to avoid if you’re trying to lose weight-include cornflakes, white rice and mashed potatoes.
• Choose bulky foods. Foods that don’t leave you hungry are higher in bulk and lower in calories. Any food that contains plenty of fiber, water, or air is a
“bulky” or “ high-volume” food. These include high-fiber fruits and vegetables as well as beans. Instead of eating a handful of raisins, choose water-dense grapes. Instead of a glass of orange juice, have an orange, which is far less calorie-dense and contains fiber that juice lacks. If you’re making chili, add more beans to bulk it up without adding a lot of calories. Instead of French fries, try whipping up some winter squash with skim milk (whipped foods contain air, which gives bulk without adding calories). Other low-cal, high-volume foods to favor are broth-based soups. Studies show that people who start a meal with soup eat less at that meal and later in the day. Just be sure to avoid cream soups, which are high in calories.
• Watch out for low-fat foods. Some low-fat dairy products, are a real boon to dieters. But food manufacturers often remove fat from cookies and other treats only to replace that fat with sugar. So check the label before you indulge with abandon; a serving probably contains just as many calories as the higher-fat original version.
In other cases, cutting fat from your diet makes sense, since fat is that most
Concentrated source of calories. Replace some of the meat you eat with fish or
Poultry. Remove the skin from poultry before you cook it, and banish the frying
Pan in favor of steaming, grilling, baking, or microwaving. Choose lean cuts of
Meat and trim off visible fat. And stay away from sausages, bacon and cold cuts.
A word to the wise: Don’t attempt to cut all the fat out of your diet. Research
Has shown that people are able to stay on a diet longer and are better able to
Maintain their weight loss when their diets allow at least some foods that contain
Fat-for example, nuts and olive oil.
• Downsize your portions. We’ve become used to bigger and bigger portions both at home and when we eat out. If your fast-food restaurant offers super-size or value meals, think twice about where those extra calories will end up! At restaurants, reduce the temptation to clean your plate by setting aside one-third of your meal before you touch it. When eating at home, check the portion size of foods you enjoy. If your pasta portion has grown to two cups, cut it back to one and a half, and your waistline will start to show the difference. To fool your eye into thinking you’re getting more food, use a bread plate instead of a dinner plate for your entrée and small cereal bowl instead of a giant pasta bowl for your pasta.
• Drink plenty of fluids- especially water. Drink water and lots of it. Seltzer, mineral water, and diet sodas are all good choices. Fluids quench your thirst and reduce your appetite as well. Fruit juice is healthy, but adds calories without fiber.
Coffee or tea is fine. If you take it with sugar or milk, select skim milk or a nondairy ( low-calorie) creamer, and artificial sweetener. Allow yourself to have an occasional glass of wine or beer if you wish, but be aware that they add more than 100 calories per glass.
• Don’t deprive yourself. Let yourself have small portions of your favorite high-calories foods once in a while so that you don’t get frustrated and end up binging.
• Keep your eye on the mirror. Most people on a diet want to see a lower weight reflected on the bathroom scale. But remember, while you’re losing fat, if you’re exercising, you may be adding muscle, so your weight might remain the same for a while. Instead of replying totally on the scale, check your reflection in the mirror, your clothing size, your energy level, and the notches on your belt.
• Never fast. Fasting, even when plenty of water is consumed, can be very dangerous; it may lead to lowered blood pressure and heart failure. Also, weight loss gained by fasting is rarely sustained once eating is resumed.