It’s possible to learn how to lose weight naturally and keep the weight off long-term, but it doesn’t include a quick-fix pill or diet. It truly depends upon a whole lifestyle change that incorporates a healthy diet and exercise into your daily schedule forever.
Weight Loss Foods to Enjoy
Losing weight ultimately means reducing the amount of calories you intake each day so that you are burning more calories with your active lifestyle and exercise than you eat. Overall, it’s important to increase the amounts of colorful fruits and vegetables, fiber, lean proteins, whole grains, seeds and nuts you eat throughout the day. Concentrating on getting more of these low-fat, low-sugar, high nutritional foods into your diet will help you reduce calories, but increase energy for those exercise sessions.
In addition, there are healthy foods that you can incorporate into your diet each day that help boost your metabolism, reduce hunger and stimulate weight loss. Try adding some of these weight loss foods to your diet:
- green tea
- acai berry juice
- low-fat dairy
- grape fruit
- hot peppers
- lean proteins
Weight Gain Foods to Avoid
Just as there are foods that will help boost your metabolism, dull your hunger urges and help you lose weight, there are also foods that will sabotage your efforts and even contribute to weight gain. Keeping a food journal for a week to 10 days, of EVERYTHING you eat, will help you determine if you’re eating enough of the weight loss foods (and what weight gain foods you eat that need to be replaced).
Instead of thinking of the process as eliminating foods you love, think about it as replacing weight gain foods with healthy alternatives you can enjoy.
Weight gain foods that you need to avoid and replace with healthy options for life include:
- processed foods
- high sugar foods
- high saturated fat foods
- trans fats
- white flour and bleached grains
- empty calorie foods without nutritional value
After you’ve achieved your weight loss goals, you’ll help maintain your weight by limiting your intake of alcohol, high calorie fruit juices and soft drinks.
Exercise for Weight Loss
The last component of natural, permanent weight loss is exercise incorporated into your weekly schedule. For weight loss, you should aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise daily. That exercise should include cardiovascular activities that elevate your heart rate and burn calories. Suggested exercises include:
- walking or hiking
- an elliptical machine
- step aerobic classes
- biking or spinning classes
The quickest way to burn more calories and see results is by combining cardio exercises with strength training exercises. Since lean muscle tissue burns more calories daily than fat tissue, the more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn up during the course of an active day.
Choose exercises that incorporate strength training with cardio like:
- squats and lunges
If you have time to add some strength training to your 30 minute cardio routine, try adding:
- resistance bands
- pull ups
- bench dips to your routine 3 times a week, resting a day in between
Once you’re reached your goal weight, maintain that healthy weight by eating healthy daily and scheduling 3 to 5 sessions of moderately vigorous exercise into your week.