It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like you can’t lose weight, even with diet and exercise. Whether it’s 100 pounds or just those stubborn last five, losing weight can be tough, especially when you don’t see any results right away. Sometimes this leads people to try to drop the weight in unhealthy ways like fad diets or extreme exercise routines, but these attempts at accelerated weight loss are likely to fail if they aren’t accompanied by permanent lifestyle changes.
Here are five things you need to know about weight loss:
Not All Calories Are Equal
One hundred calories worth of carrots and one hundred calories worth of ice cream are not the same. The calories that are contained in lean proteins are the most beneficial calories for your body because they fuel your muscles without raising your blood sugar. Lean proteins also help curb your appetite for a long time and help you to feel full. It is also important to eat foods that are high in vitamins and minerals.
Certain types of complex carbohydrates, like most vegetables, are also important. These foods provide all different kinds of nutrients and supply your body with energy. If you want to lose weight, avoid simple sugars that are found in starchy foods such as pasta, bread, processed foods, chips, and alcohol. It is also important to get enough fiber, not only to help keep you feeling full, but to help regulate your digestive system.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your system and lead to weight gain. First, without enough sleep, your body produces excess cortisol, which is detrimental to overall health. Excess cortisol causes your body to store extra fat. This can undo the best dietary intentions, rendering your weight loss efforts useless.
One of the most common symptoms of sleep deprivation is constantly being hungry. If the brain is not able to refuel itself and get its energy from sleep, it will look to other places, such as food. Being tired can also increase your production of ghrelin, which is a hunger hormone. Too much of this hormones makes you crave unhealthy foods, containing fat and sugar. Also, if you do not get enough sleep, your leptin hormone may be off balance. This hormone controls your feeling of satisfaction after eating, and without enough sleep, your brain may not get the signal to stop eating when you are full.
Water does a lot of things for your body and it helps in efforts to lose weight. Firstly, it keeps your digestive system moving waste along, so you do not have toxic waste sitting in your intestines. It is important to rid your body of contents that it does not need. Staying hydrated also keeps your mind sharp and your organs working at an optimal level.
Sometimes when you feel hungry, you may just be thirsty and need a tall glass of water. Try drinking water thirty minutes before each meal to fill you up a bit. This will cause you to eat less because your stomach will already be full. It will help to regulate your appetite and it will certainly prohibit you from overeating. Some risk factors of dehydration include exercising without replenishing your body and eating too many salty foods.
Keep a Food Journal
Write down everything you eat. This will help in a few ways. First, it will give you an idea of how many calories you are actually eating per day. You may be overeating without realizing it. Also, your diet may be very heavy in carbohydrates or sugars and you won’t see that until it is written out on paper.
Secondly, if you know you have to write down everything you eat, it may prevent you from eating too much or from reaching for a cookie. This will help to keep you accountable for your diet and keep your caloric intake within your goal range. Make a goal to have foods of every color of the rainbow in your food journal each day. This will ensure that you are getting a variety of vitamins and nutrients in your diet and not eating the same foods every day. Be sure to track your water intake as well to make sure you are getting enough.
Keeping a journal will result in conscious eating, which means you will be fully aware of what goes into your mouth. Eating should not be something that is done when other distractions are going on. The television, computer, or even driving can take your mind off of what you are eating and cause you to overeat. People tend to consume considerably more food while they are distracted, even if it is just while talking to a friend.
You Must Eat Enough
If you restrict your intake of calories or starve your body, your body will not let go of the weight that it is carrying. Instead, your body will go into a starvation mode. This will cause your metabolism to slow down because your body is trying to protect the fuel it has. If you try to do this and then begin to eat normally, you have already slowed down your metabolism, which will then result in weight gain.
One thing to always keep in mind while trying to be healthy and lose weight is to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. This means eating small amounts of food every few hours so you never feel very hungry, and alternatively, you never feel overly full. This is one of the best treatments for weight loss. Avoid skipping meals and then making up for it later and avoid depriving your body of the fuel it needs.