Yo-yo dieting is no fun. Yet, most people are caught in this vicious circle, struggling to keep the weight off. If that’s your case, you should already know that crash diets don’t work. The only way to get lean is to tweak your eating habits and stay active. Follow these steps to lose weight and keep it off permanently:
Step 1 – Cut Back on Sugar
Every time you eat sugar, your insulin levels go up. As a result, your body absorbs calories like a sponge. The key to weight loss is to keep your insulin levels low. This way, your body will function at peak performance and burn stored fat as fuel. Additionally, you’ll feel less hungry and overall enjoy a better mood. Low carb diets have been linked to a lower risk of depression, mood swings, diabetes, and obesity.
To cut back on sugar, avoid candies, cookies, muffins, pastries, chips, and heavily processed foods. Be aware that salty snacks and deli meats contain sugar too. Soda is the worst offender. Also, watch out for hidden sugars, such as fructose, dextrose, and agave syrup. If you cook at home, use stevia for sweetness.
Step 2 – Limit Junk Food
Fries, pizza, cheeseburgers, and other junk foods are packed with empty calories. They contain large amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, artificial flavors, and sodium, putting you at risk for chronic diseases. If you can’t ditch them completely, eat clean at least 80 percent of the time. Stick to whole foods, such as nuts, seeds, veggies, fish, lean meat, and fruits with a low glycemic index.
Step 3 – Swap Starches for Veggies
White potatoes and other starchy foods are chock-full of carbs. Unless you work out for hours, you don’t need all that sugar in your diet. Swap starches for low-carb vegetables like spinach, lettuce, celery, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, cucumbers, and collard greens. Since they are low in calories, you can fill your plate without feeling guilty. Additionally, most veggies are rich in fiber, leaving you feeling full longer.
Step 4 – Boost Your Protein Intake
Studies indicate that high-protein diets boost metabolism and energy expenditure. They also increase postprandial thermogenesis by 100 percent compared to high-carb, low-fat diets. Protein curbs hunger and raises your body’s core temperature, leading to more calories burnt. It also helps maintain lean mass and keeps your bones strong.
When it comes to weight loss, protein should come first on your list. This nutrient can be found in meat, eggs, fish, dairy, seafood, nuts, and vegetables. Vegans can get their protein from quinoa, chia seeds, kale, soy, and leafy greens.
Step 5 – Get Moving
Regular exercise is just as important as diet for weight loss. Without it, you’ll lose muscle and look out of shape. Over time, your joints and bones will get weaker and less dense. For best results, work out four or five times per week. Use a mix of weight training, HIIT, and full body circuits to torch fat and build lean muscle.
So, as you can see, weight loss isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Exercise and clean eating will do more for your body than any diet out there!