- 1 It’s not magic.
Despite what fad diets and new workouts proclaim, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t dependent on any top-secret feat of alchemy. It’s just science.
- 2 Calories matter.
At the end of the day, eat fewer calories than you burn, and you will lose weight. Sure, if you eschew whole food groups — no carbs, no meat, or no grains — you’ll shed pounds. Ultimately, it’s about total energy intake.
- 3 It is a lifestyle.
Diets don’t work because they involve extreme and unsustainable changes. A better approach is to adopt small changes you can live with. Healthy weight loss occurs slowly and steadily, so expect to lose about 1 to 2 pounds each week. Again, here’s where fad diets and extreme workouts fail us; we’re so desperate for change that we take desperate measures that we eventually ditch.
- 4 Exercise is a factor, but not the ONLY factor.
Total movement throughout the day matters far more than logging an insane exercise session in the morning, but then plopping in front of a computer screen all day and a television screen all night. Definitely engage in cardiovascular and strength training as part of your weight loss plan, but don’t treat exercise like your “get out of jail free” card for an otherwise sedentary lifestyle and dietary indiscretions.
- 5 Fat is not the enemy.
If the “80s taught us anything, it’s that low-fat diets don’t work. In fact, they may actually contribute to obesity, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. If you want to focus on fat, remember these two things: first, avoid trans fats at all costs; second, focus on the total number of calories you’re consuming. Fats are often indicted for containing more than twice the calories per gram of protein and carbs. However, if you eat a smaller portion of something rich — a steak with Gorgonzola cream sauce and steamed vegetables in butter, for example, you’ll feel fuller for longer.
- 6 Sugar is the real enemy.
Sugar and its all-but-identical twin, white flour, are the absolute worst things for weight loss. They facilitate fat storage, contribute to heart disease and diabetes, feed your cravings, and have devastating effects on your blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
- 7 It requires rest.
If your morning workouts cut you short on sleep — less than eight hours — skip them and find another way to move your body. Why? Skimping on sleep messes with your hormones, which makes you reach for sugary snacks quicker and feel less satisfied when you do indulge.
- 8 Use a tape measure more than the scale.
Before the bathroom scale registers a change, you may be losing fat and replacing it with muscle. The net result is a shrinking waistline and the same total number of pounds, at least initially. As you continue losing fat, you will begin to see the numbers change.
- 9 You can still drink coffee.
Caffeine is a natural appetite suppressant. It’s baffling why most diets recommend against it. Sure, if you load it with sugar, then you’re sabotaging your diet. Don’t deprive yourself of coffee, and feel free to give yourself a splash of cream or milk. (See points 2 and 6)
- 10 It is achievable.
If you continue burning more calories than you consume, then slowly but surely, you will lose weight. So keep at it!