Struggling with weight loss is common. The process is slow and almost never easy, especially if the tactics you’re using don’t seem to work. The truth is that real, lasting weight loss does not happen quickly. It takes a long time, and it requires positive lifestyle changes to keep weight off in the long-term. Quick fixes, fad diets, extreme calorie restriction and imbalanced eating plans will not work.
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Weight loss can mean much more than just a trimmer, tighter body. Overweight and obesity increase the risk of many chronic health conditions, and dropping pounds in a safe way can consequently reduce those risks and improve overall health. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid, losing weight with a low-calorie, balanced diet cuts risks of diabetes, cancer, kidney stones, bone loss, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke. In addition to lowering the risk of disease, MayoClinic.com states that regular exercise improves mood, boosts energy levels and helps people sleep better.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the only safe and healthy way to lose weight and keep it off is with a plan that involves burning more daily calories than you consume through exercise and a balanced, low-calorie diet. Fad diets and imbalanced eating plans may result in short-term weight loss, but they achieve those results through fluid loss, which is neither healthy nor lasting.
To cut down on daily calorie consumption, MyPyramid recommends a balanced eating plan made up of whole, natural foods, including nonfat dairy, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Fiber, low-fat protein and complex carbohydrates are three important nutrients that can help people feel full and eat fewer net calories. To lose weight, the American Council on Exercise encourages people to work out for at least 45 minutes at a time on five or six days per week. Include strength training, aerobics and flexibility in your exercise sessions.
If you haven’t continued any weight-loss plan for more than a couple of weeks, that could explain why you haven’t seen positive results. Healthy weight loss is slow going and may not be noticeable at first. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a safe rate of weight loss is one to two pounds per week; more rapid weight loss isn’t likely to last. Consider checking results every month or two instead of each week, and pay attention to how you feel and how much energy you have instead of just the numbers on the scale.
Consider your personality, lifestyle, budget and preferences during your weight-loss process. If you’re very social, find and join a support group or exercise class. If you’re competitive, make goals for yourself and outline ways to accomplish them. Finally, if you’ve stuck with a healthy weight-loss plan for more than a month and do not see or feel any positive results, speak with your doctor, who can provide personalized advice and alternatives.