One question we get from readers and customers all the time: "What is the best way to lose weight?"
Of course, there's no single right answer for everyone. However, there are three basic steps that every successful diet program should follow.
Miss a step and you'll likely experience the three things that make diets fail: hunger, low energy and frustration over lack of results.
Doing all three of them will leave you feeling more satisfied and energized, which will make it more likely you won't fall off your diet plan and get you to actually lose weight and maintain a healthy weight over the long term.
Step one: Cut out the junk carbs
Do you eat snacks and processed foods that are high in processed sugar and bad carbohydrates?
Continuing to eat these things while trying to lose weight is a recipe for failure. You must wean yourself off these foods in order for your diet to succeed.
Foods that include bad carbs cause the body to secrete insulin, which is the body's main fat storage hormone. When you cut the bad carbs, insulin levels go down and the body starts burning fat instead of carbs.
Another benefit of cutting insulin levels is that your kidneys shed excess sodium and water, which reduces bloat and elaminates water weight.
Another benefit of cutting garbage carbs: It will cut the bad cycle of fast energy increases and precipitous drops that force people to keep binging on carbs in order to maintain energy.
This carb rush cycle is one of the key reasons diets fail. You have to stop this madness to shift into more healthful and sensible eating patterns. Making this change will eventually allow you to eat until you are full and satisfied, not to keep feeding a never-ending hunger.
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Step two: Replace the bad carbs with good ones, protein and fats
So what should you eat after you give up the cheap carbs? Replace them with more sensible and satisfying things like protein, good fats and higher quality carbs, like vegetables.
Start by building each meal around a protein source, a fat source and low-carb vegetable. Doing this will help you slowly lower you,carb intake over time.
Goo sources of protein include meats like chicken, lamb and lean cuts of beef and pork. Fish and seafood, including salmon, trout, shrimp and lobster are other good options. Adding eggs every now and then can add variety.
These are foods that take a long time to digest, which means they will leave you feeling full. This will cut your desire to snack and eat bad foods. HIGH protein foods will help boost your metabolism and provide the building blocks for building lean muscles. All good things from a diet and overall health perspective.
When it comes to dieting, many question the value of adding fats to a diet. However, "good" fats are a key contributor to maintaining health. Also, eliminating fats from a diet at the same time you're cutting bad carbs is a recipe for failure. It can seem like too big a sacrifice.
Some examples of fats you can allow into your diet, within reason, include olive, coconut and sunflower oils. A pat of butter or bit of cheese used in cooking can make other foods taste better. Using a small amount of these oils and other ingredients in the cooking process should not negatively impact your diet or health.
Note: Always check with your doctor before adding fats to your diet if you or members of your family have heart or other significant health issues.
The final component of this new way of eating is adding in good vegetables and complex grains.
Examples of healthy vegetables that can help reduce hunger while providing sustained energy include kale, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, swiss chard, brussels spouts, cabbage, cucumber, celery and various types of lettuces. Good grains include things like whole wheat, brown rice and oats.
If you feel hungry, eating more of these types of vegetables and grains is a good way to feel more full and satisfied. The vegetables are relatively low in carbs and are an important source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. The grains contain carbs, but take a long time to digest, which makes them a good source of sustained energy.
Step 3. Begin a workout program
While cutting bad carbs and shifting to a more healthy, balanced diet will likely help you start to lose weight, the "third leg" of the dieting stool, the one that will hold it up and contribute to ultimate success, is an exercise program.
An initial workout regimen shouldn't be too ambitious. (One way to pretty much guarantee failure for an exercise program is to start out one that doesn't work within your schedule or that prevents you from accomplishing everyday tasks.)
Start out by aiming to work out three or four times a week, 45 to 60 minutes per workout. Allow time to warm up, do some aerobic and strength training and stretching. You may not be able to do all these things in every workout, but you will want to enjoy the benefits of all these activities over time.
Remember: Always warm-up and stretch before every workout and allow time to cool down and stretch after. This will help avoid injuries and other serious issues. Also, it is always a good idea to consult with your physician before starting a new exercise regimen. Also, a trainer at your gym can be a good source of advice for customizing a training program to help you reach your long-term goals.
Most people people are aware that aerobic training — things like walking, running, swimming, bicycling and dance classes — help burn calories, build strength and improve cardio-vascular health. But this isn't enough to optimize an exercise program and contributes to a diet.
Lifting weights will allow you to burn a few calories. It also helps you build muscle while you're losing body fat. This will make you feel stronger while dieting and help improve your body image.
Adding stretching to your workouts will help improve your overall muscle tone, leave you feeling more limber and flexible.
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