If you’re like me, you’ve fallen for a fad diet or a rapid-weight-loss program that just didn’t work. Either I was always hungry and irritable, too many foods are off limits, or the amount of weight I lost was unhealthy [Doctors typically recommend weight loss of 0.5 to 2 pounds (0.2 to 0.9 kilograms) per week].
The most successful weight loss programs I’ve found have 5 things in common:
They include physical activity.
Since people with more frequent/regular physical activity tend to lose weight more efficiently, and maintain a healthy weight over time. That’s because activity increases muscle mass, which helps burn calories and fat stores faster, at work and at rest. Any weight loss program you choose should include regular, appropriate levels of physical activity for your goals and ability level.
Look for a plan with foods from all major food groups, where no entire food group is forbidden or off-limits. This ensures that your diet will be well-rounded, more enjoyable, and more practical when it comes time to shop and prepare meals.
Health and nutrition experts agree that you need to be able to sustain any “diets” long-term to avoid averse changes in your weight, mood, or metabolism. Think of your weight loss program as a positive lifestyle change, rather than a diet, or short-term fix.
Safe diets don’t have drastic measures (zero calories, zero fat, all meat, etc.) They’re also in line with your unique body type, nutritional needs, and fitness goals. The best weight loss programs won’t require you to take a handful of supplements every day, because your food will provide the nutrition you need.
It may sound impossible, but your weight loss program can–and should–include foods you like! Especially since the best diets are really just long-term lifestyle changes, likeability in what we eat is key to us sticking to a healthy diet (and over-indulging in “cheat foods” less often).
In general, it’s a good idea to start with these criteria when deciding on a weight loss program. You should also make sure the diet can work for your unique needs and goals, that it’s safe for you, and that it’s backed by health and nutrition professionals who can vouch for its results.
What is most important to you in a weight loss program? What foods would you make sure your plan includes? Tell us in the comments!