Successful and lasting weight loss require commitment. You must make your lifestyle healthier by permanently adopting better eating and exercise habits. Crash diets and fad diets may help you drop a few pounds in the short-term, but they neither provide lasting results nor are they generally healthy. As the American Heart Association explains, quick weight loss diets undermine a proper nutritional balance, make eating unenjoyable, are often founded on misinformation and are sometimes downright dangerous. In addition, you're likely to gain the weight back after you stop a crash diet.
Set small, short-term weight loss goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Write your goals down and post them where you'll see the list each day. Remind yourself that it doesn't take much to reap the benefits of your efforts; as the Weight-loss Information Network explains, losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight provides health benefits.
Inform your loved ones about your decision to lose weight. Ask them for support and encouragement as family involvement usually leads to better weight-management results, notes TeensHealth. Arrange to begin a light exercise regimen with a friend or family member.
Plan minor cuts to your daily or weekly caloric intake initially. Identify a soda, snack or other source of empty calories to eliminate first. Allow yourself to become accustomed to a routine without this food or drink item, then identify a second food item to eliminate. Consider reducing portion sizes of large meals. Write a four-week schedule for these small adjustments and you'll feel less overwhelmed and deprived once you get started. It can take at least 21 to 28 days to permanently adopt a new habit.
Create a general meal plan for the start of your weight loss program that is centered around foods you like and excludes any foods you don't like but think you should eat when dieting. Write out your planned daily meals a week at a time and create your grocery list based on your plan. Don't ignore your personal taste as it is important to any successful long-term weight management, according to the Weight-control Information Network.
Throw away junk food to remove temptation and make your commitment more tangible. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods. Include fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables and lean proteins such as fish, chicken, turkey and beans. Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, rye and wild rice are staple foods that provide a wide variety of nutrients and fiber. Stock up on nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds.
Accept that lifestyle changes, unlike most diets, don't require you to forever forgo certain foods you enjoy even if they aren't particularly healthy. Remember that you can have these foods occasionally in moderate amounts.