When you are dieting, you may be tempted to lose many pounds quickly in order to reach your desired weight as soon as possible. But what is the limit? What are the good eating habits you need to adopt to achieve lasting results?
Doctors and nutritionists often tell their patients that it is best to lose weight gradually for more permanent results. You should not deprive yourself drastically, otherwise, you will gain the extra weight back when you stop dieting.
Set attainable goals for a sustainable diet
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, successful dieters ideally lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. So in a month, that’s 4 to 8 pounds. Therefore, you should not go beyond these maximum values.
But how can you lose weight gradually and permanently? The first thing is to set achievable goals so that you don’t get discouraged. Then you need to understand diet and weight gain. A diet based on fast food, junk food, and convenience foods is not healthy. Beware: you can gain weight by eating anything, even healthy foods, so portion size is important.
An adult needs between 2,400 and 2,600 calories a day for a man and between 1,800 and 2,200 calories for a woman. To lose weight, a person’s daily calorie balance needs to be slightly negative. To achieve this, the body needs to use more calories than it receives from food, either by reducing the amount of food it consumes or by exercising more, i.e. doing more physical activity.
Lose weight gradually by changing your eating habits
Before starting a diet, it is ideal to write down everything you eat, and drink, and the times and situations that lead you to eat between meals. The goal is to analyze the bad eating habits that make you gain weight and avoid them. For example, eating snacks in front of the TV, drinking drinks with too much sugar, etc.
Once you have identified what makes you gain weight, it is time to act by eliminating one thing after another or replacing them with healthier foods. For example, if you used to eat a sweet dessert at every meal, replace it with a piece of fruit – which contains fewer calories and less sugar – and allow yourself only one slice of cake a week.
The best thing, of course, is to eat a balanced diet: fruits and vegetables every day, not forgetting cereals and protein. But to regulate your hunger, it is also essential to listen to your body and learn to identify real hunger and distinguish it from simple gluttony.
Engage in regular physical activity to lose weight
Finally, the last piece of advice on how to effectively lose weight is to exercise regularly. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 participate in at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity sport or 75-150 minutes of sustained-intensity sport per week. Also, take every opportunity to be physically active: walk or bike to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a walk after a meal, etc.