So the wedding is approaching, and you’re still trying hard to lose those last 5 kilos, and nothing is working! Our advice? Don’t get yourself into one of those crash diets; once you lose the weight (if you do) you’ll only gain it back as fast as you shed it, and worse even, you’ll probably gain it on your honeymoon!
The foundation of every successful weight-loss program remains a healthy, calorie-controlled diet combined with exercise. For successful, long-term weight loss, you must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits, according to Mayo Clinic.
How do you make those permanent changes?
1. Make a commitment
Permanent weight loss takes time, effort and a lifelong commitment. Make sure that you're ready to make permanent changes and that you do so for the right reasons. You need to be focused. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to change your habits. Once you're ready to launch your weight-loss plan, set a start date and - start!
2. Find your inner motivation
No one else can make you lose weight. You must undertake diet and exercise changes to please yourself. What's going to give you the burning drive to stick to your weight-loss plan? Getting married? Looking strikingly fabulous on the big day? Find a way to make sure that you can call on your motivational factors during moments of temptation. It also helps to pick people to support you who will encourage you in positive ways, without shame or embarrassment. If you prefer to keep your weight-loss plans private, be accountable to yourself by having regular weigh-ins and recording your diet and exercise progress.
3. Set realistic goals
It may seem obvious to set realistic weight-loss goals. But do you really know what's realistic? Over the long term, it's best to aim for losing 0.5 to 1 kilogram a week, although initially you might lose weight more quickly if you make significant changes. This means you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a lower calorie diet and regular exercise. Make sure that your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-limited. An example of a SMART goal is aiming to walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for the next three months, and logging your results.
4. Enjoy healthier foods
Decreasing your calorie intake need not mean giving up taste, satisfaction or ease of meal preparation. One way you can do that is by eating more plant-based foods e.g. fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition. In particular, get your weight loss started by eating a healthy breakfast every day; eating at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits daily; and using healthy fats, such as olive oil and vegetable oils. In addition, cut back on sugar, choose low-fat dairy products and keep meat consumption to a 3-ounce portion (about the size of a deck of cards).
5. Get active, stay active
The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. While you can lose weight without exercise, exercise plus calorie restriction can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn off excess calories you can't cut through diet alone. Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including boosting your mood, strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure. Studies show that people who maintain their weight loss long term get regular physical activity. Think about ways you can increase your physical activity throughout the day if you can't fit in formal exercise on a given day. For example, make several trips up and down stairs instead of using the elevator, go for a 30-minute walk at least 5 days a week, or park at the far end of the lot when shopping.
6. Change your perspective
It's not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for only a few weeks or even months if you want long term, successful weight loss. These habits must become a way of life. Lifestyle changes start with taking an honest look at your eating patterns and daily routine. After assessing your personal challenges to weight loss, try working out a strategy to gradually change habits and attitudes that have sabotaged your past efforts. Remember that you're planning to change your life. It won't happen all at once. Stick to your healthy lifestyle and the results will be worth it.