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How to Lose Weight Safely

When beginning a weight loss diet, it is tempting to try to lose weight as quickly as you can.

However, not only are crash or fad diets highly likely to fail, they can also have a significant negative impact on your health. Follow the following tips to begin your safe weight loss journey with the best chances for success possible.

Avoiding Crash Diets

Most crash diets depend on severe caloric restriction which is defined as consuming less than 1200 calories a day. While initially you will see weight loss through these means, it is likely to slow quickly as your body adapts by lowering your metabolism. Your body is an incredibly dynamic, adaptable machine made to survive through even starvation elements. If your caloric intake drops suddenly, your body goes into survival mode by decreasing the amount of calories you expend. Your metabolism can even remain at this impeded pace even once you resume your normal eating habits, leading to even more weight gain. Too rapid weight loss can also cause significant stress on your cardiovascular and immune system and lead to problematic nutritional deficiencies.

Healthy weight loss happens at a rate of one to three pounds a week. A healthy caloric deficit can be created through diet, exercise, or ideally, a combination of them both.

What to Eat

It can be easy to get caught up in a numbers game when beginning a new diet. However, it may be more helpful to focus less on tracking calories and more on incorporating filling, health promoting foods into your eating plan while letting go of highly processed, low-nutrient foodstuffs such as fast food, highly processed foods and soda. A simple rule of thumb to begin with is to increase your consumption of vegetables, fruits, healthy proteins and healthy fats, in that order.

How to Exercise

If you are currently living a sedentary lifestyle, incorporating small changes like adding a 15 to 20 minute walk into your daily routine can have a dramatic effect on not only your weight loss journey, but also in your overall mood and your long term health outcomes. If you have already established these low-impact physical activities, consider incorporating weight training or other muscle building activities one to three times a week. While any increase in movement will trigger a greater caloric burn in the short term, every pound of increased muscle will burn approximately three times as many calories at rest as a pound of fat.

More Healthy Eating Tips

Stick to the Perimeter

When grocery shopping, begin by walking around the perimeter of the store. This is typically where fresh produce, meats, dairy and the deli can be found, while most unhealthy, processed foods are restricted to the middle aisles.

The Pronunciation Test

Read through the ingredient label on your most commonly consumed foods. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, put it back on the shelf.

Don’t be Afraid of Fat

Contrary to popular dietary wisdom, dietary fat does not make you fat. In fact, many of our basic hormonal satiation signalers such as leptin, the hormones that communicate with your brain to provide a sensation of fullness, rely on dietary fat. Non-fat products such as non-fat milk may contain fewer calories gram for gram, but they are also less able to provide sensations of fullness, meaning you are likely to consume a much larger quantity overall.

To ensure the best chance for success, incorporate your new healthy, safe weight loss plan as gradual, maintainable lifestyle changes rather than a dramatic shift. Shifting your everyday behaviors to avoid unhealthy, processed foods, increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and increasing your activity levels will allow you to drop the pounds while significantly increasing your long term quality of life.