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Weight Loss and Dieting

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Dieting - Things to Think About

If you are about to start a weight loss diet then whether you want to reduce weight to improve your health or shape, you need to consider six things. (1) Your overall weight loss plan, (2) your calorie-intake, (3) your food nutrition, (4) your food shopping and cooking habits, (5) your physical activity and calorie expenditure, (6) what support you need to overcome likely dieting problems.

Advice to Help You Reduce Weight

Over the next few weeks we'll be adding tons of dieting tips and practical weight loss suggestions to this page, so bookmark it now! Meantime, here is a short checklist of weight loss questions to ask yourself before you start on any diet program. If you are serious about losing weight, you should have an answer to each question.

Your Overall Weight Reduction Plan

Weight loss is like going on a trip. You need to know where you are going and why. If you don't then when you experience a weight loss plateau, or any other dieting problem, you'll quit your diet and revert to your previous eating habits. Questions to ask yourself:

  • How overweight are you?
  • How much weight do you want to lose?
  • What target date do you have in mind?
  • Why do you want to reduce weight? (List specific benefits)

Your Calorie Intake

In order to reduce weight you need to create a calorie deficit - meaning, eat fewer calories than you burn. This applies whether you choose a low-carb or low-fat diet. Questions to ask yourself:

  • What are your calorie needs in order to maintain your present weight?
  • What are your calorie needs in order to reduce weight?

Your Food Nutrition

Although your diet plan needs to be calorie-controlled, it must also contain adequate nutritional ingredients, like vitamins and minerals. Why? Because these micronutrients ensure that your metabolism (converting food into energy, converting body fat into energy) is working efficiently. Remember, nutritional deficiencies lead to slower weight reduction. So if you want to lose weight fast, always choose a healthy eating plan - ideally designed by a nutritionist or dietitian.

Your Food Shopping and Cooking Habits

In order to lose weight, you will almost certainly have to make changes to what foods you buy, and how you cook them. This means being prepared to learn new cooking habits. After all, dining out is great fun, but it's not helpful for weight loss, unless you make extra careful food choices from the menu. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you ready to learn better cooking methods?
  • Are you prepared to buy less junk food for the family?
  • Are you ready to make these lifestyle changes?
  • In particular, are you ready to cook more meals yourself, rather than dine out?

Physical Activity and Calorie Expenditure

As stated above, in order to reduce weight you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. Taking regular exercise helps you to create this essential calorie deficit in two ways: first, it increases calorie expenditure. Second, it raises the amount of calories you burn when you are not exercising. This is called raising your metabolic rate. No need to spend all day in the gym. A 30-minute brisk walk is a great exercise workout! Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you ready to start taking regular exercise?
  • Do you have an exercise buddy?

Your Need For Weight Loss Support

Dieting and losing weight require all kinds of dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes. Put bluntly, we need to stop eating high-calorie foods, get physically active on most days, and (almost certainly) change our family's exercise and eating habits in the process. None of this is easy without support. In fact, some obesity experts say that without support, weight reduction is almost impossible to sustain long-term. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a diet buddy?
  • Do you know of a good weight loss forum?
  • Will your partner help you to lose weight?
  • Will your family encourage you?
  • Are you willing to keep a weight loss journal?

Make Small Changes to Your Diet and Exercise Habits

If all this dieting advice sounds too much(!), consider making SMALL changes to your dietary habits and including a few small fitness routines in your normal day. For example, eating fresh fruit for snacks and dessert can easily save you 100-200 calories a day - that's the equivalent of 10-20 pounds of body fat over 12 months. Or take a brisk 15-minute walk each day. This alone can burn 100 calories a day - another 10 pounds of body fat. Over time, these small changes can make a huge difference to your weight and health.

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