Nutritionists say effective diets are those that restrict weight loss to a steady one to three pounds a week. A pound of fat has 3,500 calories. If you consume 500 fewer calories a day than your body is using, you’ll lose one pound a week.
Of course, one pound a week does not sound like a dramatic weight loss. That’s why so many people turn to crash diets and fad diets. They want quicker weight loss results.
The problem with crash diets, though, is that they involve such severe calorie restrictions your body goes into starvation mode. When you resume eating normally again, your body will store the calories you consume as fat. You will gain back all the weight you lost and then some.
Slow and steady wins the race. A slower weight loss is not only easier to sustain, it also maintains more of the elasticity of your skin. You’ll end up with fewer stretch marks.
Diet Tips That Really Work
1. Keep serving sizes small. Dieting involves switching to new and healthier foods for many people. You need to remember, however, that if you eat too much of a healthy food, you will gain weight.
Portion control is an essential part of an effective diet. Nutritionists give the following guidelines:
• A healthy serving of meat should be the size of a playing card.
• A serving of potatoes, rice, pasta or other starchy foods should be the size of half a baseball.
• A serving of cheese should be the size of four dice.
2. Calorie counting is important. In the end, weight loss is just a simple math equation:
(Calories you eat) +/- (calories you use) = weight gain/weight loss.
Keep a food journal before you start your diet. People often forget to count the snacks they nibble on throughout the day, but those calories can really add up. If you get in the habit of writing down what you eat, though, those munchies won’t fall through the cracks.
Write down everything you eat, and how many calories those foods contain. This will help you determine how many calories it takes to keep your weight at a steady state.
There are many resources for calorie counting, including booklets that list calories per ounce and apps for mobile phones. Food scales are relatively inexpensive, and will help you monitor portion sizes of the foods you eat.
You will begin losing weight consistently when you use more calories than you consume on a daily basis.
3. Stay active. Staying active does not necessarily mean exercising, although most medical experts recommend combining diet with exercise for optimal weight loss. Household activities like folding laundry and moving furniture will use up calories. Staying active also keeps you off the couch where you’re more likely to crave tasty treats because you’re bored.
4. Keep your goals realistic. Is your life going to change dramatically after you lose 25 pounds? In most cases, the answer to that question is, “No.” You will be thinner, though, and that will make you proud of yourself.