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Everywhere you turn these days, it seems like someone is trying to sell you some newfangled weight loss “secret”. Maybe it’s some super secret diet fad based on cave drawings found in France, a futuristic pill that supposedly burns off all your unwanted flabs, or a meditational mantra that’ll finally — finally — end your battle with the bulge.
Ignore all of them.
The real secret to weight loss isn’t a secret at all. Here are some fundamental weight loss truths you need to take to heart.
Calories In, Calories Out
The most basic truth to weight loss is this: you have to burn more calories than you consume! Before you make any dietary changes or sign up for the gym, take one simple step: start tracking your calories. After all, you can’t tackle what you can’t measure.
Just track the calories you consume for a week to get a rough idea of your average consumption. Based on this information, you can then either tweak your food intake or increase your physical activity.
Not All Calories Are Created Equal
A calorie is not a calorie. The body has different ways of responding to different calorie sources, which can in turn affect your weight loss journey. To illustrate, it’s easy to see that 1000 calories of kale isn’t equal to 1000 calories of cake. This means what you eat still matters; there’s no reason to fill your body’s caloric requirement with unhealthy, processed foods.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A lot of popular diets out there recommend cutting out specific food groups. Keto recommends protein over carbohydrates, while paleo focuses on raw foods. The path to weight loss is much simpler. Eat a varied, nutrient-rich diet with an ample combination of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and other vitamins and minerals.
Just make sure to minimize your consumption of processed food, though a small treat from time to time should be fine.
Don’t Starve Yourself
It can be tempting to skip meals and eat too little when you’re trying to lose weight, but that’s not really effective. The deprivation will only push you to overeat once the temptation becomes way too great for you. Eat three meals a day and add snacks as necessary to give your body the fuel it needs to perform properly.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of activity per day to keep your heart healthy. It doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective! Just make sure you’re moderately active for 30 minutes every day if you want to stave off the threat of cardiac diseases.
It’s important to pick an activity that you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to go to a gym or to sign up for trendy workouts. You’ll end up hating it and won’t be motivated to continue working out. Bike around your community, run in the park, or walk your dogs — just get moving. Not all workouts have to be done within the confines of a gym.
Remember, It’s a Lifestyle Change
This isn’t a one week or one month thing — you have to be in this weight loss journey for the long haul or the pounds will creep back in no time. Pace yourself, and give yourself time to adjust to the changes you’re making. It helps to enforce one small change at a time to help you and your body acclimate to your new lifestyle.
After all, losing weight isn’t just about keeping the pounds off. It’s about transforming yourself and living a healthy, happy life from here on out.