A lot of people think the keys to weight loss are eating less and exercising more, but losing weight and keeping it off requires a healthy nutrition and fitness plan (preferably created and personalized with the help of your doctor), along with lifestyle changes beyond limiting or burning calories. If you’re thinking about losing weight, be sure to read on for some tips.
1. Eat Enough
While losing weight does involve limiting certain fatty foods and monitoring portion sizes, you still have to eat enough to nourish your body. Eating too few calories can send your body into “starvation mode,” which can not only make it harder to drop those unwanted pounds, but also lead to weight GAIN.
So, if you’re thinking of drastically cutting your food intake, you may want to reconsider.
2. Consult With a Professional
Doctors, school nurses, and nutritionists can help make sure your approach will have the healthiest results. A healthcare professional can help you decide how much weight loss and exercise makes sense for you given your gender, body type, current weight and physical fitness. They can also help you come up with a personalized nutrition plan (how many calories you should have and from which foods) because everyone is different. Be sure to ask how increasing muscle might affect your body weight. You could be getting in better shape, but not losing weight because muscle is denser than fat!
If you are not sure where to start, ask your parents or school nurse for suggestions.
3. Skip Extreme Dieting
Just because you read or hear about an “Amazing Weight Loss Solution!” somewhere doesn’t mean that it works or that it is the healthy or the right approach for you. You might be tempted to do a “no carb” diet or an “oranges only” cleanse, but beware. Crash diets may have initial results, but losing weight using these methods makes you more likely to put the pounds back on.
The healthiest, and often the most effective, weight loss plans incorporate nutrients from a variety of sources.
4. Don’t Forget Breakfast
Breakfast will jump-start your metabolism and give you energy for the day. Eating a balanced breakfast with whole grains and protein can curb cravings and will prevent overeating in the late morning or at lunch.
5. Try to Add a Protein to Every Meal
Protein — found in foods like chicken, tofu, eggs and fish — helps build muscle and keeps your organs functioning. Protein also stabilizes your blood sugar, which can help curb cravings and keep you from having post-meal energy spikes and crashes.
6. Don’t Be Shy With Your Fruits and Veggies
Diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables are associated with the most successful weight loss plans. They are low in fat and calories and loaded with nutritional value. An added bonus? They have fiber, which makes you feel full faster. You might be tempted to focus on fruit with all of its sweet flavors, but make sure to get a good balance of veggies in everyday, too.
7. Keep Healthy Fats as Your Friends
You want to stay away from saturated fat and trans fats, which can cause weight gain and are linked to numerous other health problems like diabetes. However, certain fats are important to keep in your diet even if you are trying to lose weight. Some fats (unsaturated fats and omega fatty acids), like those found in avocados, nuts, salmon and olive oils, can support brain function and heart health. In addition, they can keep your hair, skin and nails healthy. Who doesn’t want that?!
8. Limit Processed Sugar
The recommended amount of sugar in our diets is six to nine teaspoons a day, but the American Heart Association reports teens eat around 34 teaspoons of sugar a day! Sugar can be addictive and cause weight gain. So, try to eat a little less sugar, and watch out for sneaky sources of sugar like BBQ sauce, granola bars and some sports drinks.
Read the labels on your food to see how much sugar is in a given product or meal. The numbers might surprise you!
9. Stick to Lean Dairy Products
Dairy products can be valuable sources of protein and other nutrients. However, many milks, yogurts and cheeses can contain unhealthy saturated fats. If you have a choice, opt for low-fat and fat-free options. In addition, dairy products, particularly yogurts, can have a ton of added sugar. Read product labels to see how much sugar is in a given serving.
10. Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods often have high amounts of sugar, unhealthy additives, saturated fats and trans fats, all things it’s best to avoid for your overall health. To get started, read food labels carefully to find out what is in a given product. It’s hard to avoid processed foods altogether, but lessening the quantity of processed foods you eat, even by a little, can make a positive difference in your weight loss quest.
This post is an excerpt. For the original article and more healthy weight loss tips, click here: Eat Healthy