Crash diets and fad exercise programs may be popular ways to lose weight, but they are often ineffective and unhealthy. The body responds better to slow changes to diet and fitness, and healthy dieters understand that weight loss is more of a lifestyle change than a temporary fix. This understanding is important for everyone, but especially so for people with thyroid issues who may have to see a thyroid doctor to help get their weight under control. Adopting a weight-loss plan that incorporates the following tips is the healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off.
1. Calculate Energy Needs
Food is energy for the body, which stores excess energy as fat. If a person eats more food than is needed for cell maintenance and daily activities, he or she will gain weight. Losing weight, therefore, is a balance between reducing the amount of calories consumed and increasing one’s level of activity. By calculating how many calories are needed each day and creating a healthy deficit, dieters understand how much they can eat per day while losing one to two pounds per week.
2. Introduce Gradual Changes
The best way to stick with a new diet plan is to introduce it gradually by making small changes. For instance, instead of giving up dessert all together, dieters can limit themselves to just one serving per week at first. Instead of giving up sugar completely, it may be more effective to reduce the amount used every day. Small changes like these add up to big differences over time and help dieters stay on track.
3. Increase Activity Levels
Diet is a huge part of weight loss, but increasing activity is just as important. Getting more exercise is easy if done in small increments. Taking a short walk every day or taking the stairs instead of the elevator are easy ways to boost activity. Over time, work up to a longer, more intense plan. Slowly building up exercise this way reduces the risk of injury or burnout.
4. Eat Five Small Meals Each Day
Eating small, healthy meals throughout the day is an effective way to stay full without consuming too many calories. This diet plan also keeps metabolism high throughout the day so the body is constantly energized and burning calories.
5. Reduce Calorie Intake
There are many ways to reduce one’s calorie intake without significantly altering a diet. Instead of drinking soda, try water spiked with mixed fruit. Replace whole milk with skim or a reduced-fat version. Have smaller portions of favorite foods, resist the temptation to indulge in seconds and cut down on alcohol intake.
6. Make a Plan and Write It Down
Planning for weight loss is one of the best ways to make it happen. Write down weekly goals for weight, diet and exercise, list the foods consumed each day and track progress.