Moderate Your Way to Weight Loss – and Keep It Off!

by Felicia Plantain

For many people the idea of losing unwanted pounds is a daunting prospect. If you fit into this category you probably have the idea that weight loss runs hand in hand with denying yourself the pleasure of eating what you want, feeling drained physically and / or exercising to the point of exhaustion. Either exercising or dieting can lead to weight loss, but if you want to lose weight and keep it off it could be time for a change of lifestyle for you.

You’ve probably heard that before, but “…a change in lifestyle” doesn’t sound any less daunting than “…losing weight” – but it doesn’t have to be. You’ve probably also heard it said that “…moderation is the key” but it is usually said in a negative context – that is, as another way of saying that you should cut back on those things that you enjoy but are perhaps overindulging in such as food or alcohol.

When applied in a positive way moderation can hold the key to a lifestyle transformation that you find easy to commit to, and one which will comfortably bring about the weight loss that you are searching for.

“Moderation” in the negative habits in your life feels just like “denial”, but moderation can be applied to the positive habits that you wish to form too. If you do this you will find that you can often achieve goals that would be impossible to attain if you were to attempt to implement drastic change. If you train to run a marathon you will lose weight, but for many that is impractical – for some it is dangerous!

Miracle diets make claims that you can lose pounds of fat quickly, but they’re meant to be short lived. It is a well established fact that losing weight involves balancing your caloric intake with your output in activity. Big changes in either your intake or your activity level can produce weight loss, but big changes are difficult to implement and to maintain.

The key, then, is to implement positive change slowly. So slowly that it’s barely noticeable! When you feel it’s possible, increase the positive aspects of change. Here are four things that you can begin to do today – slowly – to bend your daily routine to a more healthy one and help you to shed pounds and keep them off:

1) Drink lots of water. Did you know that, ideally, you should drink about 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day? That’s a lot of water, but you don’t have to start out with that much. Get a sixteen ounce water bottle and keep it with you wherever you go in the course of your day. See how many times you can drink the bottle completely and refill it. If you measure it – count the number of bottles – the amount you drink will naturally increase with little or no effort. Water is a great appetite suppressant, and is needed by your body to process food and function efficiently.

2) Increase your amount of physical activity. You’ve heard this one before, it’s one of the most important things you can do to lose weight, andit is the most important step to practice with moderation. Most people fail in raising their levels of activity because they get too aggressive – they try to make big changes too fast. If you set a goal that is too difficult to maintain you are certain to fail. Start by just taking the stairs when you can rather than the elevator – walking is very relaxing and one of the mos beneficial habits that you can build into your life and build upon to lose weight. When you’re at work – go for a walk. At home? Go for a walk! Start with short ones and grow them when time permits, and when you feel up to it. Walking can become one of the best parts of your day – and it will help you lose weight.

3) Get more rest. Clinical studies have shown that there is a close correlation to lack of sleep and weight gain. Those deprived of sleep tend to opt for high calorie foods, and the hormones that regulate appetite and that full feeling you get right after a meal get all out of whack if you haven’t had enough sleep. Shoot for eight hours of sleep per night. If you can’t find enough hours in the day, get as close as you can to that number. Your body needs rest in order to maintain a healthy balance, and sleep will help keep your appetite at bay.

4) Moderate your diet. Here moderation is everything, because most of us have tried to make unreasonable changes in our diets (the Cabbage diet?!) only to retreat in defeat. You don’t need to make changes all at once! Choose a mild appetite suppressant and use it to supplement the steps above. Over-the-counter appetite suppressants can help you to curb eating between meals as you adjust your diet to include healthier foods. When choosing foods to eat opt for the more natural fare – nutritionists agree that natural foods are easier for your system to break down and are less likely than sugary sweets to wind up around your waist. Whatever you do, don’t try to change your diet overnight, and gradually moderate your food intake to match your level of activity.

There you have it – if you slowly and consistently implement the steps outlined above you will begin to change your lifestyle for the better, you’ll feel better and you will begin to shed unwanted pounds. Best of all, since the change is gradual and progressive, you’ll keep that weight off. Go slowly! Remember: moderation is key.

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