The right weight loss diet is one that you will follow. You can pay for the most expensive diet plan in the world, but if you don’t follow it, you won’t lose weight.
That being said, the right diet is not a diet at all. It should be a change in your lifestyle. We recommend that you make the changes gradually. According to a European study, it takes 66 days to form a new habit. What does this tell us? Don’t rush new habits. Let them take time to become routine.
Choose One Habit at a Time
Stop and think about what habits harm your diet the most. Do you binge eat at a specific time of day? Do you skip breakfast? Are you eating out too much? Focus on the one habit you would like to change the most. That should be your focus for the next 4 weeks at a minimum.
Let’s say you skip breakfast. This is the most important meal of the day, as it gets your metabolism revved up and ready to go. Start eating something small for breakfast every day. As you get more used to eating it, start including each of the following:
- Complex carbohydrate (fruit or whole grain)
- Healthy fat (peanut butter, eggs)
- Fiber (grains, fruit, and nuts)
If you eat out too often, choose one meal to stop first. If you eat lunch out at work every day, cut back to 3 days a week at first. Once that becomes effortless, increase it to 5 days a week. Before you know it, you will have formed a new, healthy habit.
Finding a ‘buddy’ to get you through the ups and downs of dieting can help you reach success. Studies show that choosing a partner with weight loss success can help you stay on track. Any support is better than no support though.
Find someone you trust and that you can be honest with, even when you make mistakes. This person isn’t meant to judge your mistakes, but help you stay on track. We all make mistakes. It’s how we handle them that determines our success.
Choose a buddy who will check in with you when you need it most. If you skip breakfast, choose a morning person that will check in with you within an hour or two of waking. If you eat out too often, choose a buddy that doesn’t eat out often. You need someone with the same ideals to help you stay on track.
Make Time for Exercise
No weight loss program is going to help if you don’t exercise. Weight loss is 80% food and 20% exercise. In other words, you can’t out-exercise bad eating habits. Don’t think eating a double cheeseburger and large fries will be negated by a good run or aerobics class. The habits must go hand-in-hand.
Your exercise program doesn’t have to be anything intense. It should be what you can handle and what you enjoy. If you can only walk for 20 minutes a day, then start there. You can always build yourself up to more intense exercise. The key is that you get out there and move your body every day or at least 5 days a week.
Again, having a buddy to motivate you to keep exercising can be crucial to your success. Find someone with similar exercise interests as you, such as a walking partner or someone to attend yoga class with you. If you are both interested in it, you’re more likely to attend.
Time Your Eating
When you eat also plays an important role in your weight loss journey. Dieting does not mean starving yourself. In fact, you do your body a disservice when you starve it. You slow down your metabolism when you don’t give your body enough food. This causes your body to turn to muscle for energy. You’ll begin to lose muscle rather than fat.
However, you should not binge eat either. Instead, you should time your meals so they are 3 hours apart throughout the day. This way you avoid long periods of starvation and keep your metabolism levels up. You should aim to eat 5 to 6 small meals per day.
Your small meals should consist of each of the food groups we discussed above. Lean protein will help you stay full, as will complex carbohydrates. They take the longest to break down in your body, which means you feel fuller longer. Try to make your plate look like the colors of the rainbow for the best results.