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Start to lose weight

If losing weight is your 2019 resolution, you may be priming yourself to fail just by labeling it as such. That’s because almost 80% of resolutions are kaput by February. A big part of why they’re unsuccessful is due to mental whiplash. In December, everyone is saying, “Gorge on cookies and cheese plates and eggnog!” But come January 1st, all of a sudden it’s “DIET! DETOX! CLEANSE!”

Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked) amazon.com $26.00 $20.26 (22% off)

This binge-and-restrict pattern is fundamentally detrimental to better health and long-term weight loss, and sets you up for a week, month, or even year of shaming yourself into no-good yo-yo dieting.

I propose we rebrand this whole “resolution” thing by honing in on your own clearly defined personal health goals, and the boundaries you can create to keep them in place. What does that mean for you? No eliminating, no cleanses, and no counting calories. New habits will establish a foundation for lasting health, well-being, and weight management.

There are a few key behaviors that may trip you up when it comes to healthier eating habits. So, begin by aiming to do the following:

  • Eat breakfast every day and make it an energy-sustaining combo of protein, fiber, and good-for-you fat versus restricting to “save up calories for later.”
  • Eat regularly every 3-4 hours, instead of trying so hard not to eat anything until dinner (that’s how you wind up in a vending machine-induced food coma).
  • Schedule regular meals and opportunities to stay active, like going for a walk at a designated “walking” time of day.

Doing those three things consistently may sound simple, but sometimes it can be more challenging to apply in real life. Stick with them by following the basic steps ahead as a guide, and make adjustments based on the foods you love and the activities you enjoy doing:

Contents

Step 1: Prioritize personal health by assessing your routine.

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Considering where you are when you’re eating throughout the day is crucial, because your environment determines what types of foods are available to you. Ask yourself:

  • Do I eat when I’m at home? At work? On my way home from work?
  • Where do I “lose” time I’d otherwise use for physical activity?
  • Where am I when I typically say, “Whatever, I’m getting cheese fries!”?

Assess your schedule, and use it as your guideline for how to put a healthier habit into action. Let’s say you’ve been struggling because your current job requires dining out at lunches at least four times per week. Your first healthier eating habit to prioritize is adding more vegetables to your meals. After looking your calendar, you can:

  • Make a plan to add more vegetables at this specific meal, three days per week.
  • Check your calendar to see where you’re due to eat lunch, or suggest to your lunchmates where you’d like to go.
  • Wherever you are, you add a veggie-based salad, soup, side, or sauté. If that sounds too hard, scale back: Make it once per week, or decide not to make that change at lunch and add more veggies to your dinner instead.

If that sounds too simple, decide that you’re going to add more produce at all meals this week, and plan from there.

Step 2: Set boundaries that will help you stick with a schedule.

If you only like the pancakes at your local diner, but your priority is to make healthier habits, then is breakfast at said diner every single day of the week really your best bet? Establish a boundary with yourself to put this into action, like only going to this diner on Sunday and committing to making more breakfasts at home during the week.

Honoring what’s important to you for the sake of your mental, physical, and emotional health does not require restriction of a specific food or nutrient for life, but it may mean restriction from a scenario that you associate with that food. So plan on eating those pancakes at a specific time, and invite people you enjoy spending time with.

Step 3: Identify your boundary bullies.

Boundary bullies are the people, places, and activities that pop out of nowhere and suck the time and energy out of your day. Figure out where they are, who they are, where they’re “hiding” and what it is that makes you the victim of said “bullying.” Is it happy hour at the local bar where the buffalo wings become dinner? (Pack a snack before you go.) Is it a colleague who always gets coffee at the same time as you and talks you into donuts? (Make this mid-morning run a part of your breakfast by eating half of your breakfast sandwich before the break, and the other half during coffee.) Is it friends who order items “for the table” when you’re at a restaurant, only to leave you grazing on a bucket of fried dumplings you didn’t even want in the first place? (Tell Jane, “No thanks, I’m having the shrimp and broccoli instead.”)

Step 4: Design your own Ulysses contract.

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In psychology, this term from Greek mythology describes a plan you make for yourself before you get into a tougher situation in which you’ll have little to no control. For example, your workout “hour” is scheduled for post-work, which means you miss it about 80% of the time thanks to impromptu meetings, conference calls, and general exhaustion. What can you do for yourself right now that sets you up for success at 5 p.m. to actually make it to a 6 p.m. class? If you know it’s a meeting that always runs late but is unavoidable, you may have to adjust.

But if it’s a person who always seems to find you at 4:58 p.m., your level of comfort telling Bob what’s what will determine your self-care promoting action. Put this in your calendar so that you know — even if you’re exhausted/hangry/busier than ever and have Bob clamoring at your office door — that this is a priority for you. Then, follow your Ulysses contract for tonight and tomorrow by saying, “See you tomorrow, Bob!”

Step 5: Identify your needs before taking action.

Take a second to evaluate what’s really going on before diving into your pantry:

  • Are you thirsty? Drink 16 ounces of water or an unsweetened beverage before hitting the snacks.
  • Are you full, but not satisfied? If yes, have a treat that’s individually wrapped (like a few mini chocolate pieces). If you’re actually hungry versus “I just want a little something sweet,” it’s probably time for a snack. Enjoy!
  • Are you tired? Time for a little caffeine. Use the guideline of 400 milligrams of caffeine per day as your max, which is the equivalent of Venti at Starbucks, and time this accordingly. But if your schedule allows: Start counting sheep!

Step 6: Decide when “good” is better than “best.”

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The best tip I can give you on how to reroute yourself when you’re on your way to the bag of chips is to pause and think a little bit more about what you’re actually in the mood to eat — and what you’d really want if you could have absolutely ANYTHING. Do some strategic thinking and consider if it’s the meal that you want, or if it’s a specific spice or flavor. (Burritos? Maybe you just wanted some guac!)

Every time you eat is a chance to make more nutritious choices that support your overall health goals, and a big part of that is giving yourself permission to indulge and move on (rather than indulging and kicking yourself for it hours later). Consciously choosing to indulge is the ultimate way to take care of yourself, mind, body, and spirit.

For more ideas, tips, tricks, and healthier eating guides that’ll help you stick to your health-focused resolutions, check out our nutrition director’s new book: Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked): 11 Science-Based Ways to Eat More, Stress Less, and Feel Great About Your Body.

Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Good Housekeeping Institute Director, Nutrition Lab A registered dietitian with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, Jaclyn “Jackie” London handles all of Good Housekeeping’s nutrition-related content, testing, and evaluation.

Start losing weight


Healthy weight

Download the NHS 12-week weight loss plan and start your weight loss journey.

The plan, which has proved very popular online, is designed to help you lose weight safely – and keep it off.

Start the NHS weight loss plan

The keys to success:

  • make realistic changes to your diet and physical activity that can become a part of your regular routine
  • the best way to lose weight is to make long-term changes to diet and physical activity that result in a steady rate of weight loss
  • aim to lose weight at around 0.5kg to 1kg a week (1lb to 2lb), until you achieve a healthy body mass index (BMI)

Below are some helpful tips to start your journey towards a healthy weight. Once you’re on the way, there is lots of information and advice provided in the plan.

Lots of us eat and drink more than we realise and do little physical activity. The result is often weight gain.

To lose weight, we need to change our current habits. This means eating less – even when eating a healthy, balanced diet – and getting more active.

Fad diets and exercise regimes that result in rapid weight loss are unlikely to work for long, because these kinds of lifestyle changes cannot be maintained. Once you stop the regime, you’re likely to return to old habits and regain weight.

If you’re trying to lose weight fast, it can be easy to get caught up with fad diet or other ‘quick fixes’ that promise a flat stomach in days. That’s especially true in January when you’ve just eaten your own bodyweight in poultry, or a vegan alternative, and are now thinking of next summer’s beach holiday. Don’t worry about it though; there are ways to lose weight – and lose belly fat – that are tried and trusted. It might not be the easy and quick weight loss of your dreams, but it’s very doable. We have nothing against the keto diet, for instance, but a lot of people will find it is difficult to fit into their lifestyle. We’ve tried to keep these diet, workout and weight-loss tips as simple as possible so you can get fit and in shape, in 2020.

So, if you’re serious about losing weight, you’ve come to the right place. We won’t promise you’ll get a six pack in as many hours, but we can guarantee expert advice and key tips for losing weight quickly, but in a healthy and sustainable way. We’ve also got the lowdown on the best exercise for losing weight fast, and all the gear you’ll need to get started.

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Is there a “best” way to lose weight fast?

The best way for you to lose weight fast will depend on your starting point, your end goal, and your lifestyle. In this article we lay out ten strategies that are applicable to everyone, whether you’re a fitness novice looking to shed several stone, or you simply require motivation to keep going.

Generally speaking the best way to lose weight quickly, and maintain that weight loss, is to follow a steady, manageable plan. Don’t try to take on more than you can reasonably fit into one day, unless you’re willing to make the sacrifice. Most likely sleep or your social life.

The NHS recommends that you aim to lose no more than 2 lbs (1kg) per week; anymore than that and you risk burning out and giving up. With that in mind, here are ten strategies to get you losing weight quickly.

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1. Achieve a consistent calorie deficit

The short answer to the question of how to lose weight fast is to achieve a consistent calorie deficit. That is, burn more calories than you consume.

If you eat 2,500 calories a day – the recommended daily amount for a man, although of course this can vary wildly depending on your height, weight and frame – and burn 3,000, you are in a calorie deficit.

If, however, you burn 3,000 but have consumed 3,500, you’re not in a calorie deficit, even though you’ve almost certainly been working out a lot have burned that much energy.

What you need to do is ensure you’re eating the right food and doing the right exercise so that you’re sufficiently full and satisfied even when consuming fewer calories than you burn. Here’s how…

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2. Decrease calorie input through diet changes

As we alluded to above, a common pitfall that many people experience when trying to lose weight is that as they start exercising more, they feel like they need to eat more to keep their energy levels up and consequently fail to see results. Instead, we recommend adapting your diet to get the most out of your calories.

All foods have different energy densities. Foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains have low energy density, which means you will get fuller faster when eating these than you would high energy density foods.

Nutritionist Jenna Hope explains: “Proteins and healthy fats promote more stable blood glucose levels, keeping you fuller across a time period and less likely to crave sugar or over eat,” and so these are the kinds of foods you should get the majority of your calories from.

Consuming the same amount of calories as you are now (or fewer if possible), but getting more nutritional value from them will help you feel fuller for longer and lose weight more quickly as a result.

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Cutting down on sugar will help reduce your waistline

3. Don’t cut out all of any single food group

We all know that some foods – and some food groups – are healthier than others, and that we need every type of food in our diet. The problem is that many of us aren’t getting the right balance.

Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”

For example, unless you’re training to become a weightlifter, there’s nothing wrong with carbs per se – despite what keto diet fans might tell you – but the biggest food culprit when it comes to hindering weight loss is the simple carbohydrate.

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Compared to complex carbs like beans, whole grains and vegetables, which break down and release energy slowly, thereby keeping you full and energised, simple carbs such as sugar and starchy foods which break down into sugars – such as pasta and spuds – give you a shorter boost of energy, then leave you wanting more.

The likelihood is that the more simple carbs you eat, the more you’ll end up eating overall, harming the balance of your calorie deficit.

One easy trick if you’re a carb fan is to swap out white pasta or rice for courgetti, or noodles made from other vegetables like butternut squash. This can make an arrabiata, curry or stir fry much lower in calories. You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but you’ll be fuller for longer despite consuming fewer calories.

Spiralizing vegetables is a great alternative to pasta

(Image credit: Pexels from )

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4. Try a food substitute

Sometimes it’s a real struggle to reduce the calories you take in, or even just to track them. If you’re constantly on the move and don’t have the time to count calories, or you have the best intentions and are cooking fresh with ingredients that aren’t all labelled with their nutrition info broken down, then accurately tracking calories can be a nightmare.

To ensure you’re getting a good mix of nutrients, as well as all-important protein, you could try a food substitute such as Huel.

This is not marketed as a dietary aid, but it is highly nutritious, and makes calorie counting a lot easier. A word of caution though: Huel may replace meals from a nutritional standpoint, but slurping a cool, slightly slimy milkshake instead of getting your teeth into a warm, healthy paella isn’t for everyone.

5. Try intermittent fasting

Some people thrive on intermittent fasting, which means significantly cutting calories – or completely fasting – for a portion of the day or week, and then eating normally for the rest.

The most popular form of intermittent fasting is the 5:2 diet, where you eat normally for five days a week but then eating no more than 600 calories two days a week.

There’s also the 16:8 diet, which is a bit different. With this diet you can eat anything for 8 hours a day, but can only drink water during a 16 hour fast. The recommended time to eat is between 10am and 6pm, although this can be flexible depending on what time you’d prefer to start or end eating (as long as you stay within an eight hour window).

The benefits of intermittent fasting is that during the fast period the body will run out of carbohydrates to run on, and so start to take energy from the body’s fat stores, thus starting to burn that belly fat once and for all.

Drinking water will also rehydrate during exercise

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6. Drink more water and less alcohol

Drinking more water – especially before a meal – can help us to feel fuller, thereby helping us to stop eating sooner and consume fewer calories than we otherwise would have.

What’s more, few of us consider what we drink when we total up our daily calorie count and so potentially hundreds of extra calories can sneak into our bodies. Replacing fruit juices, fizzy drinks and even tea and coffee with water means we can save up our calorie allowance for the good stuff: the food that fills us up.

Top tip: keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times and restrict what else you drink. This can feel like a hard habit to break at first, but is surprisingly easy to maintain once you have a zero calorie drink to hand 24/7.

Read more: These are the best reusable water bottles

Reducing the amount of alcohol we drink also comes with benefits. Most obviously, alcoholic drinks are often very calorific, so drinking less alcohol means consuming fewer calories. Simple.

Secondly, drinking alcohol increases our appetite, so we’re more likely to eat more than usual – and more of the bad stuff – when we’ve been drinking. Cheesy chips, I’m looking at you.

Lastly, we all know how we feel after a night of heavy drinking. Ready for a session and the gym and a day eating fruit, veg and simple carbohydrates? We didn’t think so. Drinking alcohol not only means we take in more calories at the time, but can affect our ability to function well and make healthy choices the next day.

(Image credit: Victor Freitas from Pexels )

7. Increase calorie output through exercise

Now we’ve tackled diet and nutrition (calories in), it’s time to look at exercise (calories out).

Even if you’re eating healthily and are reasonably active in your daily life, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to lose weight quickly without additional exercise, whether that’s running, gym, crossfit, team sports, cycling or any of the other myriad activities available.

What’s more, working out will make you look and feel better and in our view, once you start looking and feeling better, it gets a lot easier to find the will power needed to improve your diet.

When it comes to choosing what type of exercise you do, the most important thing is that it’s something you enjoy and will stick to. Don’t force yourself to run if chances are you’ll be walking ten minutes in.

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(Image credit: Pexels)

8. Focus on weight training in addition to cardio

There are two main types of exercise: cardio training and weight – or resistance –training.

Both burn calories, the difference is that whilst cardio burns a lot of calories upfront, weight training continues to to burn calories post workout.

This is because weight training builds muscle, and muscle burns more than fat as you carry out day-to-day tasks. In short, the greater your muscle:fat ratio, the more calories you burn even when you are standing still.

Weight training may seem daunting, but you don’t have to join a gym and face up to the squat rack right away. There are so many weight exercises you can do at home with simple bits of equipment from dumbbells to kettlebells, and balls to ropes.

We’re not going to cover all the exercises you can do with weights here, so why not pick the body part you want to start burning fat from and toning up, and check out one of our guides below:

  • The best glute exercises
  • The best leg workouts for women
  • Get big arms fast with the best workouts for building biceps

All of this aside, don’t neglect cardio, as cardio workouts are important for fitness and stamina, and will still burn calories.

Kettlebells are a very powerful weightloss tool

9. Vary the intensity of your workouts

As well doing both cardio and weight training, if you want to lose weight it’s also important to vary the intensity with which you exercise.

In any given week, and within any given workout, you should exercise both aerobically (a little out of breath but not gasping) and anaerobically (going flat out, like when running for a bus).

Aerobic exercise needs oxygen to give muscles energy and generally requires moderate exertion. Examples include gentler running, cycling and swimming.

It’s a crucial part of losing weight quickly because it uses both sugar and fat as its energy source, but to burn fat you need to do it for long enough that you’ve burned through your sugar stores first.

Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, primarily uses sugar as its fuel. This doesn’t mean that it’s not good for weight loss, though. Anaerobic exercise helps build muscle, and as we explained above, this will help you burn calories even when you’re resting. Anaerobic exercises are generally high intensity, for example sprinting and weight lifting.

A running watch or fitness tracker will help you to know what intensity exercise you’re doing. As they either have built-in heart-rate trackers or pair with ones you strap to your chest, they can show you how hard you’re working out and let you know when you need to push it harder.

• Find out more about heart rate zone training

Keep track of your weight loss and fitness goals with a running watch

10. Track your input vs. output (that all important calorie deficit)

It’s important to decide how you want to measure your success and keep track consistently, understanding that you will see daily fluctuations due to things like digestive contents and water retention.

Running watches are the easiest way to track your progress, remain motivated and keep weight off. Depending how fancy you go, you can track pretty much any metric that works for you, certainly way beyond whether you’ve achieved your 10,000 steps. Whether it’s weight, BMI, resting heart rate, calories burned or activity level, the best running watch will track it all.

Many wearables branded as fitness trackers also have a stab at these more advanced metrics nowadays, but we’d always recommend a watch over a band.

Another way to keep track of your progress is the old fashioned method of weighing yourself. The great thing about modern bathroom scales is they don’t just tell you your weight; they also let you know your body fat percentage.

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This is a much, much better metric to track than weight alone. If you’re working out while dieting you can easily put on weight, even when running a calorie deficit, just because muscle is denser than fat so there can be less of you, yet weight more.

Now, although the calculations of body fat percentage scales produce are based on sound science, accuracy can vary. The key thing to note is that if the overall trend is going down, you’re doing well.

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We can’t stress enough the importance of giving your body time to lose weight. You can lose weight faster by using the right gear and having the right knowledge and attitude, but you’ll likely need to redefine what ‘fast’ means to you.

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What You Should Know Before You Start A Weight-loss Plan

Exercise

Both adults and children should get regular physical activity. It is important for losing weight and maintaining good health. Below are ways to increase your activity and burn calories.

  • Add 10 minutes a day to your current exercise routine.
  • Challenge yourself. Move from moderate to intense activities. (See chart below.)
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park further away or walk to your destination instead of driving.
  • Do more household chores, such as dusting, vacuuming, or weeding.
  • Go for a walk or run with your dog and/or kids.
  • Exercise at home while watching TV.
  • Be active on your vacations. Try going for a hike or bike ride.
  • Buy a pedometer or activity tracker. This measures how many steps you take each day. Try to increase your daily number of steps over time. (You can buy pedometers at sporting goods stores.) Some experts recommend walking at least 10,000 steps a day.
  • Limit time spent online, watching TV, and playing video games. This should equal less than 2 hours total per day.
Moderate activity Approximate calories per 30 minutes*
Stretching 90
Light weight lifting 110
Walking (3.5 miles per hour, or mph) 140
Bicycling (less than 10 mph) 145
Light yard work or gardening 165
Golf 165
Dancing 165
Hiking 185
Intense activity Approximate calories per 30 minutes*
Heavy weight lifting 220
Heavy yard work 220
Basketball 220
Walking (4.5 mph) 230
Aerobics 240
Swimming (freestyle laps) 255
Running or jogging (5 mph, or 12 minutes/mile) 295
Bicycling (more than 10 mph) 295

Adapted from Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.
*Average calories burned for a person who weighs 154 lbs. If you weigh more, you will burn more calories. If you weigh less, you will burn fewer calories.

Lifestyle

You may have to alter your schedule to make changes to your diet and exercise. This could mean waking up early to work out or packing your lunch so you don’t eat fast food. Along with diet and exercise, you should make other lifestyle changes. Getting enough sleep can help you lose weight. Sleep affects your body’s hormones. This includes the hormones that tell your body if it is hungry or full. You also should try to reduce your stress level. A lot of people relate stress to weight gain.

Things to consider

When you start a weight loss plan, there are things to keep in mind. You may have an obstacle that makes it hard to lose weight. Or it could have lead to weight gain in the first place. You also need to be careful of where you get advice. Your weight loss plan should be safe and successful.

Obstacles

Most people who are trying to lose weight have one or more obstacles. You could have bad habits that started at a young age. Habits are hard to break, but they are possible. Your doctor can help you make changes, one step at a time.

For other people, weight gain can be related to genetics. You may have a health condition that makes it hard to lose weight. Examples of this include:

  • Hormonal disorders
    • Cushing’s disease
    • Diabetes
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Congestive heart disease
    • Heart valve disorder
    • Idiopathic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Sleep disorders
    • Obstructive sleep apnea
    • Upper airway respiratory syndrome
  • Eating disorders
    • Bulimia
    • Carbohydrate craving syndrome.

Certain medicines also can interfere with your weight loss efforts. This includes:

  • antihistamines for allergies
  • alpha or beta blockers for high blood pressure
  • insulin or sulfonylureas for diabetes
  • progestins for birth control
  • tricyclic antidepressants for depression
  • lithium for manic depression
  • valproate for epilepsy
  • neuroleptics for schizophrenia.

Talk to your doctor about how to manage your weight despite these obstacles. Lifestyle changes, treatment, or surgery can help. You also may benefit from a support group or counseling.

Diet pills, supplements, and fad diets

Some companies and people claim diet pills make you lose weight. This may be true at first, but pills don’t help you keep the weight off. They don’t teach you how to make the necessary lifestyle changes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test most diet pills. Many of them can have harmful side effects. Talk to your doctor if you think you need a supplement. They can recommend one that doesn’t interact with your medicines or conditions.

Fad diets also are not proven to be safe or help you lose weight. They often offer short-term changes, but don’t help you keep the weight off. People who promote fad diets are famous or get paid to make claims. This does not make them correct or trustworthy.

There is no one magic diet that helps every person lose weight. The idea of “going on a diet” implies that you will “go off the diet” one day. Do not rely on a fad diet to do the work for you. Instead, find a healthy, balanced eating plan that can become a practical lifestyle.

Weight-loss management

There are tools you can use throughout your weight loss plan. They help to track your progress and reach your goals. These include:

  • a pedometer to count your steps
  • a food diary, or journal
  • smartphone apps to record diet and exercise
  • a measuring tape or scale
  • a BMI calculator.

Continue to check in with your doctor while on your weight loss plan. Remember to think about the big picture. Setbacks are bound to happen, but you should concentrate on the small goals and changes. These are what will get you to the finish line.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Are there any risks to a weight loss plan?
  • What weight loss goals should I make?
  • What BMI should I aim for?
  • What happens if I lose more than the recommended 2 lbs. per week?
  • What should I do if I have a food craving?
  • Should I take any supplements as part of my weight loss plan?
  • Can you recommend a dietician?
  • Can you suggest a support group for people who are losing weight?
  • Once I meet my weight loss goals, how do I maintain my weight?

Resources

American Academy of Family Physicians, Food Habits Survey

American Academy of Family Physicians, Nutrition for Weight Loss

American Academy of Family Physicians, Nutrition: How to Make Healthier Food Choices

American Academy of Family Physicians, Nutrition: Keeping a Food Diary

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adult BMI

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Losing Weight

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), ChooseMyPlate.gov

When it comes to weight loss, most experts agree a healthy diet is more effective than exercise. People often work out more and more, desperately hoping they can eat whatever they want. But it’s a balanced diet that makes the real difference with your waistline.

That’s why people who successfully lose weight — and keep it off — adopt lifelong, healthy eating habits.

“I wish I hadn’t tried all the gimmicks and spent thousands of dollars on fad diets that never worked,” Heather Crockett Oram told TODAY, via email. Oram lost 82 pounds by changing her eating and exercise habits. “I wish someone would have told me it’s not an all-or-nothing type of thing.”

10 women on what it’s like to start a weight-loss journey

Sept. 13, 201701:09

Oram and nine other women share what they wished they knew before changing their diets.

1. It’s OK to fail.

When people first adopt healthy eating habits, they sometimes think they can never eat a slice of cake or a piece of pizza. Then when they do, they feel like failures. But people who succeed know one mistake isn’t the end of the world.

“The times when … my treat day turned into a treat month, I wish I had someone to tell me that it is OK and just get back on track,” Patricia Wilson told TODAY. Wilson lost 100 pounds.

After losing 100 pounds, Patricia Wilson feels healthier and happier.Courtesy of Patricia Wilson

Amy-Jo Reid, who lost 95 pounds, agreed.

“It is OK to fail,” she said via email. “As long as you fail forward — don’t give up, keep pushing through.”

2. Eating healthy saves money.

LeAnne Manuel thought buying healthy foods cost more money. That was one of her excuses to eat processed and junk foods. But soon after changing her eating habits, she learned she was saving dollars.

“We actually spend a lot less now. For one, the amount of ingredients has cut back. I eat about half the volume that I used to eat,” said Manuel, who lost 165 pounds.

LeAnne Manuel lost 165 pounds.Courtesy of LeAnna Manuel

3. Making small changes has a big impact.

In the past when Jenna Winchester tried losing weight, she cut all bad foods from her diet at once. This made weight loss challenging because she craved so many unhealthy foods at the same time and felt overwhelmed.

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But when she started on her recent successful weight-loss journey, which led to a 210-pound loss, she did it with little changes.

“Start out small. Don’t go crazy and cut out every single bad food all at once. Start out by cutting one thing out, like soda or sweets, and then slowly add on to that,” Winchester said.

After years of her father making fun of her weight, Jenna Winchester felt depressed and gained almost 100 pounds.Courtesy Jenna Winchester

4. You feel the changes immediately.

After exercising with a trainer for a month and losing 17 pounds, Lydia Dziubanek decided to introduce lean protein, fruits and vegetables into her diet. She began losing weight quicker, but she also was shocked by how she felt.

“Changing my diet brought many surprises, but most significant was the realization of how much better I felt once initial headaches went away from my body breaking free of the sugar cravings. I felt lighter and more energetic,” she told TODAY.

After thinking of killing herself, Lydia Dziubanek found herself at a gym and started exercising. This gave her the mental strength to turn her life around. Courtesy Lydia Dziubanek

5. Healthy diets include adding not just subtracting.

When Jordan Kohanim once thought of diets, she thought she had to restrict what she ate. During her 70-pound weight loss, she realized she could add foods and still lose weight.

“I added more fruits and veggies,” she said. “Make yourself eat two cups of veggies before you eat that sandwich.”

After struggling with her weight all her life, Jordan Kohanim started tracking what she ate and exercising, starting with 15 minutes at a time. In two years, she lost 70 pounds.Courtesy Jordan Kohanim

When she added more nutritious foods, she found her cravings for unhealthy foods disappeared.

6. Food is fuel.

When Amy-Jo Reid first started losing weight, she thought she could only have protein shakes or chicken breast. But then someone gave her some advice and eating became more exciting — and fulfilling.

“Someone told me to start looking at food as ‘fuel for my body.’ That was a huge help,” she said. “Mix it up and try new foods. You will be surprised.”

After her doctor told her that she was likely to become pre-diabetic and have a fatty liver, Amy-Jo Reid lost 104 pounds but also gained three friends who helped her maintain her weight loss.Courtesy of Amy-Jo Reid

7. Pay attention to emotional changes.

Like many people, Dziubanek ate when her moods shifted. It took a while for her to realize that she used food to soothe her emotions.

“Focus on changing your eating habits when you get stressed, angry, or celebrating,” she said. “We all struggle with food.”

8. Healthy food is actually tasty.

After years of noshing on fatty and sugary foods, Brittany Horton thought changing her diet would mean she could only eat bland, boring foods again and again. But Horton, who lost 208 pounds, learned she was wrong.

“Healthy food actually tasted good,” she said. “I thoroughly enjoy the variety of it all.”

After Brittany Horton was denied health insurance because she was “too big,” she started her weight-loss journey and lost 208 pounds in three years. Courtesy of Brittany Horton

Quasheena Young, who lost 108 pounds, agreed.

“I started off on a 1,500-calorie diet and it was very surprising what you could actually consume versus eating junk food,” she said.

9. Portion size matters.

When Manuel started looking at her portion sizes, she realized she was eating two or three times what she should be. Measuring her meals helped her shed pounds.

“There is no guessing with portion size, so buy a food scale to help you reach your goals,” she said. “Even now, nearly three years into my journey, my guesses are off when it comes to portion size.”

10. Be creative!

Like Reid, Young quickly became bored with eating the same thing for every meal. That’s when she realized she needed to expand her go-to recipes.

“Make sure that you have a variety of recipes because eating the same thing prepared the same way can get boring,” she said. “Pinterest works for me.”

Quasheena Young lost 108 pounds and feels healthier and stronger. When her friends mentioned the Tough Mudder, she agreed to participate and had no idea what she was getting into.Courtesy of Quasheena Young

11. It’s not a diet

“Diets are meant to end and even after you lose the weight, your journey never stops,” said Reid. “The struggle never stops.”

For more real weight-loss inspiration, check out our My Weight-Loss Journey page. If you’re interested in starting your own weight-loss journey, sign up for our Start TODAY newsletter.

I Want to Lose Weight: 8 Top Weight-Loss Tips to Start

“Where do I start if I want to lose weight?” I think I have heard this question hundreds of times over my last 10 years in the fitness industry. While everyone’s blueprint for weight loss will (and should) be different, there are definitely certain starting blocks that work for absolutely everyone.

You’re not alone if you don’t know where to start. There are tons of people just like you and you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask this question. But hopefully this posting will answer this question and you won’t need to ask it anymore – that’s my goal!

Start with these 8 weight-loss tips:

1. DECIDE!

This is the #1 most important thing ever. YOU have to decide that you’re sick of the way you’ve been living and it’s time for a change. YOU have to hit that point – no one will be able to force you to do it. YOU have to put in the work every day, so this commitment and decision have to come from YOU!

I’ve worked with people before who hadn’t fully decided but hired me as a trainer anyway. It was very obvious because the drive, determination and any spark were gone quickly. In fact, many even lied to me about what they were eating or would hide it from me when I would enter the room! Hmmm….this is for YOU (not me!). It absolutely has to be for YOU!

2. Go for a walk

Walking has incredible benefits and you can do it anytime, anywhere.

Walking is a low-stress, low-impact form of exercise (unlike running and jumping) and is an excellent fat burner. Just lace up your walking shoes, running shoes, training shoes (whatever!) and go! This is the perfect time to listen to motivational podcasts, your favorite playlist or an audio book.

Don’t think, just walk!

3. Create a vision board

Go through a bunch of magazines and cut out pictures of your dream life, body, mindset, house, etc. Put it all on a cork or poster board and hang it up in a place that you’ll see every day. Look at it, envision what it feels like to reach those goals (yes, you can close your eyes) and DECIDE that you will get there no matter what.

I have a lot of pictures of Oprah Winfrey and Jillian Michaels on my vision board. And I often touch their heart and then touch mine – as if to transfer the heart of these people who inspire me to myself. I don’t care if that sounds weird, I do that and it’s amazing!

4. Don’t drink your calories – water only!

No juices, no soda, no sports drinks…just water!

Oh and no diet soda. The artificial sweeteners still activate the “reward pathways” that are activated when we eat sweet foods. However, there are no calories in them so there is nothing to turn that switch off – thus resulting in more and more unhealthy food cravings.

Aim for 35-40 ml per kg of body weight. And add 500-1000 ml per hour of exercise.

Calculator Tip:

Find out how much water you should drink with this liquid requirement calculator.

5. Define your “why”

Why do you want to lose weight?

You need to write this down and put it everywhere: on your vision board, on the bathroom mirror, in your car, on your phone, in your wallet, at your desk…you get the picture!

It has to be something emotionally compelling like, “I want to be fit and energized to chase my kids around without feeling out of breath”, “I want to feel good in this dress/suit I bought for my best friend’s wedding,” or “I want to live longer than my parents.” And please don’t fall victim to the meme, “Do it for those who said you couldn’t.” Who cares about those people! Unsubscribe to them just like an email – goodbye!

6. Balance and stability

Start by doing exercises while balancing on one foot or on an unstable surface (running in sand, working out with a BOSU ball, etc.).

This will help your neuromuscular system to work more efficiently, as well as strengthen your core and stabilizer muscles to reduce pain and injury.

Workout:

For some great Stability & Balance Exercises check out this blog post.

7. Start tracking your food

How much are you eating? Do you even know?

Many people have no clue how many calories they are eating. According to one study in the New England Journal of Medicine, two groups of individuals (one with a history of diet resistance and one without) that were similar in weight, BMI, body fat percentage, level of education and history of employment were asked to report how many calories they thought they had consumed in a day. Both groups underreported their calorie intake by roughly 1,000 calories or MORE!

On the other side of the coin, too few calories can prevent your body from losing weight and getting rid of that extra stubborn fat because it’s in starvation mode, literally. You have to eat enough before your body starts burning stored fat.

Now, do you see why tracking your food is so important?

8. Be present when you eat

Are you watching TV, on the computer or on your phone when you eat? Are you even looking at your food when you’re eating it?

It’s time to disconnect while you eat. Did you know that digestion begins with your eyes? Your eyes see the food and then your mouth produces enzymes in your saliva to kick off the digestion process before you swallow.

Oh, and what about chewing? Do you even chew your food before swallowing or are you in such a rush that you just stuff your face? Seriously – be honest with these questions. Aim to chew your food 25 times before swallowing, that’s what teeth are for. You ever feel airy and bloated after you eat? Chewing and actually allowing your food to mix with your saliva instead of scarfing it down in record time can help with that tremendously.

So, I’ve given you 8 places to start. Choose one and master it and then move on to the next. You can do it! This is your “AHA moment” (as Oprah says), so go for it!

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In my book, Meals That Heal Inflammation (hitting book shelves Dec 27!), I discuss how if you want to lose weight you need to embrace a lifestyle shift rather than a diet. If you enjoy your food and it nourishes you, you’ll stay motivated to reach your goal. Give the gift of health to yourself this holiday, and feel jolly with less jiggle!

These tips can get your weight loss started quickly — but remember, a real lifestyle change is something you can succeed at, and all diets eventually fail.

1. Start a love affair with healthy food

Instead of eliminating foods, start by slowly adding healthy foods to your diet that will boost your mood and energy such as green veggies, berries, grapefruit, or kiwi. Post a chart to your fridge or in your personal organizer that counts the ten servings of “good-for-you foods.” Every time you eat healthy foods like kale, spinach, or peaches, mark it down; you’ll find your cravings for refined sweets will actually start to diminish.

2. Beat cravings with healthy snacks

If you have a craving, eat fibre or something sour like lemon juice to lower the glycemic index of your treat. Try to keep healthy treats such as nuts and fruit nearby to avoid the treats with flour and sugar. For more tips on how to do this, visit my website.

3. Start the day with protein to avoid sugar cravings

Try eating dinner for breakfast. In Japan, where people are historically very fit, they start the day with fish and veggies. If you want to enjoy carbs, eat them in the morning with a protein, or after a workout. Stirring vanilla protein powder into your yogurt in the morning can add up to 20 grams of protein for breakfast, which will keep you full and alert until noon.

To calculate your daily protein needs, take your weight in kilograms and multiply it by 0.8. For example, a women who is 135 lbs converts to 62 kg x 0.8 = 50 grams of protein.
4. Keep your blood sugar steady by eating every two to three hours

Pack snacks everywhere you go. If you stockpile the right stuff in your office drawers, purse, and glove compartment, you’ll remove the temptation to take trips to the vending machine or corner store. Natural meal-replacement bars, pre-washed baby carrots, and 71 percent cocoa butter chocolate make great energy-boosting snacks for that afternoon energy slump.

5. The crock-pot is your best ally for winter weight loss

Soup makes you feel warm and full, and it can be packed with veggies. Add beans and free-range poultry to boost the protein, and opt for tomato or onion broth over heavier cream-based soups.

6. Think tropical with coconuts

Coconuts have been demonized for having too much saturated fat, but it turns out that not all saturates are created equal. The flesh and milk of these giant seeds contains a very special fat called medium-chain tri-glycerides (MCTs), which the body burns as fuel instead of storing as fat. Endurance athletes turn to coconut-based supplements to delay exhaustion. So, if your marathon work week is running you down, reach for the coconut milk and add flavour and energy to your soups, shakes and desserts.

7. Try a green smoothie

If you start your day with an energizing green drink, you can count yourself in for two to three servings of veggies right off the top. So many of us struggle to eat in the morning, when it is most important. This alkalizing drink starts the motor running and will raise your energy levels.

8. Pick up a healthy meal-replacement bar

If you are too busy to cook, there are new snack bars on the market that are made with only raw nuts and fruits blended into amazing variations. Meal-replacement bars make sure that your blood sugar does not plummet, which is critical to avoid moodiness and unstoppable cravings. When your time is limited, enjoy a whey-protein shake with blueberries and cinnamon to add a dash of warming spice to your winter regime.

9. Reward yourself for healthy habits

Give yourself a non-food reward, like an aromatherapy scent, when you reach a week of making 10 good choices a day. The uplifting scent of grapefruit essential oil, applied topically, is said to increase the circulation that helps break up cellulite.

10. Make sure you get your Bs

Supplementing with B vitamins can be a huge boost in your weight loss routine. B vitamins spin your carbs into energy inside every cell of your body. Greater energy expenditure means more calories of fuel burned. It is a fantastic way to blast exhaustion and also keep your emotional balance. Since most overeating is tied to emotional comfort binges, keeping an even keel with a B-complex supplement is critical for the long-term permanent weight loss.

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon-to-be-published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.

For more amazing recipes visit Chatelaine.com’s recipe section.

This article was republished with permission from POPSUGAR Fitness.

Losing weight isn’t easy, and whoever tells you differently is lying. It takes commitment, hard work, and for many, a complete lifestyle makeover. But these 56 techniques will make losing weight much easier:

Limit Your Calorie Intake
Losing weight boils down to simple math. To lose one pound weekly, burn or cut out 3,500 calories in the course of seven days. That breaks down to 500 calories per day. It’s difficult to cut out that many by dieting alone, especially for someone who loves to eat. The most effective approach is this combo: each day, cut out 250 calories from your diet and burn 250 through exercise. Choose to either cut out one 250-calorie item such as a serving of ice cream, or omit a few small things that add up to 250 calories a day.

Check out this calorie calculator to figure out how many calories to consume each day, based on your current weight and your weight-loss goal. Don’t dip below 1,200 calories to prevent going into starvation mode, which makes your body hold on to weight.

Get Up and Out—No Matter What
Even when you’re swamped, stay active with a 10-minute break to rev up your body. Taking a walk at lunchtime is a proactive way to promote weight loss. Bonus: You’ll also get some sunshine.

Stop Skipping Evening Workouts
At the end of a hard day, it’s easy to find an excuse to skip the gym or your run. To stay committed, tell yourself that an evening workout is not optional. And honestly, who couldn’t use an extra boost of endorphins after a tough meeting? If it’s too dark to head outside to exercise, these at-home workouts will do the trick.

Focus on Intense Cardio
Doing difficult 45-minute cardio sessions a few times a week can boost your metabolism. Better yet, a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that each intense cardio sessions can elevate your metabolism even after you stop sweating, burning additional calories post-workout. Some intense cardio workouts to try: running, indoor cycling, or interval training (like this pyramid treadmill workout).

Travel Smart
Just because you’re going on vacation doesn’t mean you have to halt your exercise routine. Travel smart by packing a few workout-related items that don’t take up too much space, like these five fitness accessories.

Stop With the Scale
It may be tempting to step on a scale whenever you see one, but if it’s making you feel bad, then give it a break. Keep in mind that the number is not going to change overnight. Allow yourself weekly weigh-ins, but remember that your weight isn’t always the most accurate measure of success. You could be building fat-burning muscle, which could push the number up.

Drink Water
Aside from keeping you hydrated, regular water consumption may aid with weight loss, according to recent studies. Drinking water before a meal ensures you’re hydrated (and being dehydrated can make you think you’re hungry, causing you to eat more). What’s more, eating foods that contain a lot of water (like fruits and veggies) will fill you up faster so you end up eating less. A small study found that drinking cool water might even speed up metabolism and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice. Now that’s a reason to stay hydrated!

Eat Your Veggies
Eating five to seven servings of fruits and veggies a day is important for everyone, but dieters who go heavy on the produce are more likely to lose and keep the weight off. Fruits and veggies are low-calorie and often loaded with filling fiber. So make one of these 51 vegetable-focused recipes for your next meal.

Eat Breakfast
Eating early in the day can help your body burn more calories. Read on for more tips on how to boost your metabolism.

Shorten Your Workouts—But Make Them Count
Short, intense cardio workouts can be just as effective as longer ones, which means you reap the calorie-burning rewards. Start with one of these 10-minute workout videos.

Enjoy the Food You Eat
One of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to lose weight is eat too little. Instead of depriving yourself, enjoy small indulgences or schedule a cheat day—and don’t obsess over it. After all, eating high-calorie foods every once in a while won’t wreck a healthy diet. In fact, allowing yourself to indulge on occasion can help you develop a healthy relationship with food that may help you from bingeing later.

Play the Calorie Game Correctly
Losing weight is about simple math; don’t fool yourself into thinking that a workout is a free pass to splurge. This mindset could lead you to eat more calories than you burn, which will result in weight gain instead of weight loss.

Stop Eating Junk Food
It may seem obvious, but junk food is your weight-loss enemy. Worse yet, eating foods full of sugar and fat will make you feel irritable and sluggish. To get all the junk out of your system, consider doing a two-week elimination diet by cutting out gluten, refined sugars, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. From high energy levels to glowing skin, here are five reasons why an elimination diet can work for you.

Eat Tons of Blueberries
Blueberries aren’t just full of antioxidants. They may play a role in reducing belly fat , too. Blueberries are loaded with anthocyanin, which alters the activity of genes found in human fat cells and makes it more difficult to put on weight. So go ahead and try one of these healthful blueberry recipes.

Get Stoned
With your fruit, that is! Stone fruits like nectarines, plums, peaches, and cherries contain natural substances that ward off obesity. Pretty cool, right? Added bonus: They also protect against diabetes and act as an anti-inflammatory. Dietician Cynthia Sass recommends eating the fruit on its own in a raw, natural state.

Keep It Fresh
Maybe you don’t eat a ton of junk food, but there are still some seemingly healthy —but highly processed—foods out there. Get as close to nature as you can and eat a diet filled with all-natural whole foods. They’ll help you maintain energy levels, promote healthy sleeping habits, and provide ample fuel for all of your workouts.

Stick to Your New Habits Even After You Lose Weight
You used to devour a big bag of potato chips with your lunch, but when you decided to lose weight, you replaced it with a side salad. Now that the weight is off, don’t go back to your chips habit. Losing weight is a lifestyle change, not something you do until you reach your goal. Once you go back to old eating habits, the weight will creep back on. Give yourself room for indulgences, but make sure it’s all in moderation.

Push Your Body
If you don’t feel like trying something new in your exercise regimen, there are still ways to step up your current routine. Adding an extra few minutes to a workout, sprinting at the end of a run, or choosing heavier weights may make all the difference.

Eat Fiber in the Morning
One key to losing weight is eating foods that keep you full. The strategy can help you ward off hunger pains and temptation. To start your day off right, make sure your breakfast includes at least eight grams of fiber. Try these 10 high-fiber cereals or these breakfast meals that contain at least 10 grams of fiber.

Live an Overall Active Life
Physical activity, be it training for a half marathon or hitting the gym, is important for losing weight—but scheduled sweat sessions aren’t enough. Take the stairs, walk your dog, vacuum vigorously, bike to dinner, and garden. All these things will help burn calories and keep you in an active frame of mind.

Pack a Lunch
Packing a healthful lunch is one of the best ways to stay committed to a healthy meal plan. When you order in or take out, it’s hard to assess how many calories your meal contains. Prep your own meals, and you’ll know exactly which ingredients you’re eating.

Eat Chickpeas and Grapefruit
These foods might as well be a dieter’s best friends. Chickpeas have been found to help dieters break bad snacking habits, and eating half a grapefruit before every meal has been shown to help dieters drop more pounds than forgoing the citrus fruit.

Tune in to Your Workouts
It seems like everyone is attached to cell phones these days. Even if you’re use yours to stream your workout playlist, you shouldn’t be texting or chatting while you’re at the gym. Giving each workout your full attention allows you to maximize results for an even greater payoff.

Monitor Your Progress
If weighing yourself gives you anxiety, then monitor your progress by looking in the mirror or noting how your clothes fit.

Exercise in the Morning
Studies have found that people who exercise in the morning work out harder than those who exercise at other times in the day.

Switch to Blue Plates
The color blue is considered a natural appetite suppressant. You don’t need to don a pair of blue-lens shades before you eat; just use blue plates.

Always Pay for Food in Cash
The next time you head to the grocery store, stop at the ATM first. A study showed that individuals buy fewer indulgent foods when paying in cash.

Build Muscle
Muscle burns calories at a higher rate than fat. (Depending on which study you read, a pound of muscle burns anywhere from 15 to 50 calories per day, compared to fat, which averages about two calories per day.) Even if you consider yourself active, it’s important to make strength training a part of your fitness routine. Here are some beginner strength-training moves to get you started.

Click HERE for 28 more weight-loss tips and tricks from POPSUGAR Fitness!

More from Women’s Health:
10 Simple Steps to Crush Hunger and Lose Weight
The Surprising Food That Can Lead to Weight Loss

How to Start the First 30 Days of Your Weight-Loss Journey

Eat this. Don’t eat that. Do this. Don’t do that. When you’re looking to jumpstart weight loss, sifting through online advice and narrowing a plan of attack down to several actionable steps can be the hardest part. This is especially true for those who lead busy lives. You have work, family and other obligations to worry about. A major life overhaul just isn’t in the cards.

To make it easy, we offer three simple tweaks you can make for the next 30 days to help you start your weight-loss journey.

While making several changes to your lifestyle all at once may sound overwhelming, research shows that shifting diet and exercise habits at the same time can lead to better results. One study conducted at Stanford University compared four groups of people: One that changed diet and exercise simultaneously, one that started with diet and then worked on changing exercise habits a few months later, another that changed exercise habits and then diet, and a fourth group, which was schooled in stress-management techniques with no advice on diet or exercise.

At the 12-month mark, it turned out that those who changed things about their diet and exercise at the same time had a greater likelihood of success when it came to meeting the government’s physical activity guidelines (150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity) and eating 5–9 servings of fruits and veggies a day (with saturated fat comprising less than 10% of daily calorie intake).

With that said, trying to take on too many changes at once can derail your success. Commit to the following three habits for the next 30 days to get the ball rolling on weight loss without majorly interrupting your daily life.

1. LOG YOUR INTAKE

It turns out that the “written word” can be powerful when it comes to shedding pounds. In a study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that people who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t track anything. Another study conducted by researchers in California revealed that people who wrote/logged their goals were significantly more likely to achieve them than those who didn’t. These studies hint at the fact that tracking things can help you reflect on your actions, both healthy and unhealthy.

2. CUT OUT SODA

It’s no secret that soda isn’t a great drink option if you’re looking to adopt healthier habits. Studies have long demonstrated a significant link between sugary drinks and weight gain. In fact, recent research discovered that even diet soda leads to weight gain, particularly abdominal fat. To be sure, the recent San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging found that over the long term, people who drank two or more diet sodas a day had their waist circumferences increase a whopping 500% more than those who didn’t drink diet soda.

Long story short: Consuming soda and other sugary drinks in any form has the potential to sabotage your weight-loss goals. Reducing or eliminating it from your diet has the potential to impact your weight significantly.

READ MORE > 9 FOODS TO AVOID BEFORE A WORKOUT

3. STRENGTH TRAIN

While we often think that cardiovascular exercise is the key to weight loss, it turns out that strength training might be just as important. A study published this year by researchers at Harvard University found that participants who committed to 20 minutes of strength training a day experienced a smaller increase in age-related abdominal fat than another group of participants who did 20 minutes of daily aerobic exercise. While doing both weight training and aerobic exercise on a regular basis is ideal, this study points to the fact that strength work alone can have a major influence on your waistline.

What’s more, you can’t beat the simplicity of strength or resistance training. It can be done at home in a small space with limited equipment. Even bodyweight moves, like planks and push-ups can aid weight loss. While committing to daily strength training is a lofty goal, consider adding it into your routine 2–3 days a week to help prompt the loss of belly fat.

What should I do before starting a weight-loss program?

“Well begun is half done.” -Aristotle

Before starting any weight loss program, please consult your doctor first and get his/her clearance for physical activity and find out of there any issues that would affect you participating in a new nutrition and program (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc). I am sure your physician will be very supportive and have good advice for you.

Since nutrition and exercise are the cornerstones of any successful weight program you should consult a registered nutritionist and fitness professional like we have here on Sharecare. The nutritionist will be able to recommend a sensible diet that will help make a lifestyle change not some quick-fix weight loss program that will only end up leaving you starving and probably gaining more weight. The fitness professional will take into account your present state of health and fitness and put together a program that will be safe, effective and hopefully fun too.

Lastly, if well begun is half done, then in order to start off right you should consider what your goal for weight loss will be. All three of the afore mentioned professionals will be able to make recommendations to what they think is a challenging but realistic goal for you but you need to want it, believe in it and be ready to work towards your goal.

My expertise would be in exercising programming for weight loss so if you need any help please feel free to contact me. Good Luck!

How To Start Losing Weight Now – 51 Different Ways Charushila Biswas Hyderabd040-395603080 November 14, 2019

Being obese is not a sign of good health. According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity-related diseases claim about 300,000 lives per year (1). So, if you are overweight, you must lose the flab. Of course, weight loss takes time, commitment, and physical work and is almost never a smooth ride. But here are a few tips and tricks to kick start your weight loss, lose weight successfully, and maintain the weight loss. Without wasting any more time, let’s hop in and learn how to start losing weight!

51 Ways To Start Losing Weight

1. Know You Need To Lose Weight

The first step to start losing weight is to acknowledge the fact that you need to lose weight. Think beyond just looks. If you feel good about your body, that’s great. But you need to know if you are healthy or not. Talk to a doctor to understand if you need to lose weight or are perfectly fine. Maybe you need to lose weight from a problem area such as the tummy, thighs, hips, etc. Focus on that area.

2. Understand Why Losing Weight Is Important

Why should you lose weight? Of course, to improve your health, flexibility, and stamina and look fabulous. But did you know that obesity can trigger mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety (2)? These are serious issues that affect 1 out of 6 people, leading to bigger problems (3). So, you need to accept that you need to lose weight and understand that staying active will help you in ways beyond fitting into an LBD. I am not saying you will become a rock star or an astronaut just by losing weight, but you will be able to see yourself in a different light, which will boost your confidence and help you develop a positive attitude towards yourself and everything else.

3. Look Up To An Idol

It is very tough to stay motivated throughout the weight loss journey. So, find a source of inspiration. It can be someone who has lost a lot of weight and is now leading a healthy life or someone who has successfully made a difference in their life or someone else’s life.

4. Believe You Can Lose Weight

It is OK if you were not able to lose weight in the past. Weight loss is a journey, and you will experience ups and downs. Don’t think of it as a change, think of it as an upgradation of your lifestyle. Jump-start your weight loss lifestyle with your present lifestyle slowly, and you will lead a better and improved life soon. The end result? You will lose weight and feel healthier.

5. Calculate Your Daily Calorie Intake

You must check how many calories you are consuming per day. Also, find out how many calories you are supposed to consume according to your age, height, weight, activity level, etc. There are various online calorie calculators that you can access for free. Use them and find out how many extra calories you are consuming per day.

6. Check What You Are Consuming Every Day

Make a list of the foods you are eating throughout the day. Record what you are eating on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. This will give you an idea of where the extra calories are coming from and what you need to avoid to start losing weight.

7. Get Your Weight Checked

Get your weight checked to see how much overweight you are. This will help you set your goals right.

8. Get Your BCA Done

Apart from getting your weight checked, get the Body Composition Analysis (BCA) done in the local gym. This will show your body fat percent and lean muscle mass. Depending on it, your trainer or dietician will design a weight loss plan for you.

9. Make Smaller Goals

So, now, you know how much weight or flab you need to shed. And the best way to go about it is to set milestones. Break your bigger weight loss goal into smaller goals. Suppose you want to lose 10 pounds in a month. Break it down to losing 2 pounds every week. This way, you will be able to achieve your goal easily and feel inspired to work harder to achieve your final weight loss goal.

10. Maintain A Journal

Write your weight loss goals in your journal and give yourself a deadline. Maintaining a journal will help you track your progress, adherence to the diet and workout regimen, and how you feel at each stage as you progress through the weeks.

11. Do Not Blindly Follow Any Diet

Do not follow a diet that has worked for someone else. Talk to a doctor and find out what the best diet for you is. Get a customized diet plan that will take your weight, age, medical history, medical issues, medications, etc. into consideration.

12. Stay Hydrated

Drink water to remove all toxins from the body, keep your cells turgid and metabolism firing, and maintain the body’s pH.

13. Eat Frequently

The most common mistake that dieters make is starving themselves to lose weight. In fact, that will make you gain weight because the brain thinks that there’s a scarcity of food and signals the cells to store everything as fat. So, even if you eat healthy food, you will store it as fat. Hence, eat every 2-3 hours to lose weight.

14. Consume Veggies

Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Consuming veggies will provide nourishment to your cells, accelerate metabolism, and improve digestion, absorption, and excretion. So, consume 3-4 types of veggies per day to kick start weight loss.

15. Consume Fruits

Fruits are loaded with nutrients that are good for your body and weight loss. Consume at least three types of fruits every day, three times a day, to help improve immunity, boost metabolism, and speed up weight loss.

16. Have Healthy Fats

Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, fish oil, ghee, and olive oil are good sources of vitamins and minerals. These help to reduce inflammation and stress in the body, which ultimately prevents inflammation and stress-induced weight gain.

17. Consume Whole Grains

Whole grains are loaded with dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Consuming whole grains will improve bowel movement, support digestion, accelerate metabolism, and promote weight loss.

18. Drink Fenugreek Water In The Morning

Fenugreek seeds are natural metabolism boosters. Soak two teaspoons fenugreek seeds in a cup of water overnight. Drink this water first thing in the morning to lose weight successfully and maintain the weight loss.

19. Never Skip Breakfast

Skipping breakfast for whatever reason is the worst thing to do. Your brain and body cells need fuel to carry out their functions properly. If you do not eat, your body and brain will not function to their full potential. So, never skip breakfast. Have a wholesome and proteinaceous breakfast before you head out or start your day.

20. Have A Light Lunch

Keep the lunch light by restricting the calorie intake to a maximum of 300 kcal. Have veggies, healthy fats, protein, and whole grains in the right proportion. You will stay active post lunch and not feel too full or bloated.

21. Avoid Packaged Juices

Packaged juices are loaded with sugar/aspartame, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. These are harmful to your health in the long run and should be avoided if you want to shed the flab and keep yourself away from a host of diseases.

22. Avoid Ready To Eat Foods

Ready-to-eat foods are of great help, but they have a dark side. These are loaded with preservatives, sodium, and additives. Avoid consuming these foods as they will hinder your weight loss goal.

23. Drink Full-Fat Milk

Yes, full-fat milk is what you should be drinking instead of skim milk. It promotes a feeling of satiety and hence, you tend to eat less after drinking full-fat milk (4). Also, consume full-fat yogurt instead of low-cal yogurt. If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, avoid milk and dairy products.

24. Consume Omega-3-Rich Fish

Fish is a good source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. A lean protein source will help you build lean muscle mass and tone your muscles. Omega-3 fatty acids will help reduce inflammation in the body, thereby preventing inflammation-induced weight gain.

25. Avoid Sugar

Avoid sugar and sugary foods to prevent sugar overload in your body. Sugar or extra calories get converted into fat, leading to a high blood sugar level and putting your heart at risk. Cut down on sugar, and you will see a visible difference in your weight and energy levels.

26. Avoid Processed Foods

Processed foods such as salami, sausage, potato wafers, breakfast cereals, and biscuits are loaded with salt and sugar. The worst part is that the processed food industry cleverly adds salt and sugar in a ratio that you will keep coming back for more. And before you know it, the entire potato wafer pack is over! So, avoid foods that will make you overeat and, as a result, gain weight.

27. Add Less Salt To Food

Use an adequate amount of salt in your food preparations. Avoid adding too much salt as it causes water retention, making you look and feel bloated. It might also raise your blood pressure levels and put your health at risk.

28. Drink Coconut Water

Coconut water is a natural electrolyte and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It is one the best drinks for losing weight. Have a glass of coconut water every day to mobilize fat, improve bowel movement, balance pH, and make your skin glow naturally.

29. Have Green Tea/ Black Coffee

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants (EGCG) and other phytonutrients that make it the second best drink for weight loss after water. Drinking green tea will help neutralize the harmful free oxygen radicals and reduce the stress levels in the body. Black coffee is good for weight loss as it has a good amount of caffeine, which helps reduce body fat and the size of the fat cells (5).

30. Snack Healthy

Remember, you need to consume 3 types of fruits and 4-5 types of veggies. Well, why not have them as a snack when you are feeling hungry enough to have a mini meal? Snack on fruits, nuts, and raw veggies (carrot, beetroot, etc.) instead of processed foods to start losing weight.

31. Request The Chef

Want to hang out with your friends or have a family reunion? Sure, go out and have fun with your people. But don’t let that make you lose track of your weight loss goal. Make a special request to the chef at the restaurant. Tell him how you want your food to be or request him to make a dish a certain way so that you can avoid foods that are not in your “foods to eat” list.

32. Better Options For Your Sweet Tooth

You don’t have to lose your sweet tooth; you just need to stop consuming sugary foods to satiate your sweet tooth. There are other options that can take care of your undying love for desserts. Have a fruit salad, low-cal frozen yogurt, low-sugar carrot cake, whole grain gingersnaps, etc.

33. Avoid Late Night Snacking

Late night snacking is a killer. You consume too many calories without even realizing it, and all of it gets stored as fat as you are least active at night. So, sleep after three hours post-dinner to avoid feeling hungry and the urge to eat something sweet and salty.

34. No Distraction While Eating

Put away your mobile and switch off the TV and laptop while having dinner. Look at the food and eat to give your brain a visual cue of how much you have eaten. Distractions like social media, Netflix, or chatting with a friend will only make you eat more, and you will end up feeling hungry soon after you have had your dinner.

35. Watch Your Portion Size

Eating too much of anything can make you gain weight. If you continue having large portions of fruits and veggies, you will gain weight. You have to create a negative energy balance in the body, where the calorie intake is less, and energy expenditure is more. So, watch how much you are eating along with what you are eating.

36. Pay In Cash When You Buy Food

Paying in cash will help you know exactly how much you are paying for the junk food you are buying. When you pay with your credit card, you turn a blind eye to the bill and don’t feel bad about the unnecessary expenses. So, the next time you decide to buy your groceries, pay in cash.

37. Get A Workout Partner

Working out is great, and you must do it regularly. But it is tough to stay focused and hit the gym daily. Get a workout buddy so that you both can inspire and motivate each other. It will also prevent you from going off track.

38. Do Cardio

Cardio is a great way to mobilize the fat and pump up your adrenalin. So, get at least 3 hours of cardio every week. You can dance, run, rope jump, or play a sport to lose body weight.

39. Include HIIT In Your Workout Routine

HIIT is intense and anaerobic – meaning the fuel for the muscles doesn’t come from oxygen but from the stored carbs. So, include high-intensity workouts such as burpees, squats, jack knife, crunches, push-ups, etc. in your workout routine.

40. Don’t Forget Strength Training

Cardio is good for losing fat, but it also leads to muscle loss. So, you must strength train to rebuild your muscles. This will help you look toned and healthy even if you are in your 70s. Go for strength training every alternate day and take rest to help rejuvenate and repair your muscles.

41. Engage In Outdoor Sports Activities

Outdoor sports are great for anybody. They will help you be positive, improve your muscle action and reflex, aid weight loss, build muscle, and have workout buddies.

42. Use Smaller Plates

Using smaller plates for your meals will help you control the portion size. When you choose a bigger plate, you will end up taking more food to fill the plate. But in a small plate, the quantity of food will seem more. This will prevent you from overeating.

43. Eat Slowly

Eat slowly if you want to start losing weight. When you gobble down food, you tend to eat more and consume air. This makes you bloated and store the extra calories as fat. When you eat slowly, you will consume less air and also feel full soon.

44. Drink Water 20 Minutes Before A Meal

Drink water 20 minutes before lunch or dinner to prevent overeating and ensure proper bowel movement. Drinking water during or right after a meal will prevent proper digestion of the food and lead to bloating and weight gain.

45. Walk After Dinner

Taking a walk after dinner will give your body a reason to keep the metabolism active. This will help you burn calories and prevent weight gain.

46. Get Rest

Getting rest is as important as eating right and working out. Take one or two days off from working out so that your muscles get the time to rejuvenate and rebuild themselves. Moreover, you should not overlook the importance of sleep. Sleep helps reset the brain and the body and reduces the stress levels.

47. Stay Stress-Free

When you are stressed, the cortisol levels go up, leading to a toxic build-up in the body. This leads to DNA mutation, hampering the normal cell functions and affecting metabolism, digestion, absorption, and excretion. Moreover, stress can increase inflammation in your body, which leads to weight gain.

48. Monitor Your Weight Loss

If you don’t monitor your weight loss, you will not be able to tell how much weight you have lost, what works for you, and what doesn’t. Get your weight and body fat percent checked every two weeks. You can also take before-after pictures for visual documentation. This will help you customize your diet or workout plan and keep you motivated to lose the extra flab.

49. Take Epsom Salt Water Bath

Epsom salt water bath is refreshing and is great for losing water weight. Add a little Epsom salt to lukewarm water. Add two drops of lavender essential oil and take a soothing bath with this water. It will also help reduce stress levels.

50. Get Full Body Massage

Get a full body massage every two weeks to improve blood circulation. It will help you get rid of the toxic wastes in your body, thereby improving the metabolic rate.

51. Be An Inspiration

It’s time to move on. You have lost weight and know what to do to maintain the weight loss. Now, you must be an inspiration, a workout buddy, and a positive example for those who want to lose weight. It will not only make you feel good but also keep you motivated to keep following a healthy lifestyle.

These are the 51 ways through which you can learn how to start losing weight and become gorgeous inside out. Go ahead and give these tips a shot, and you will not want to look back. Cheers!

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.

9 Tips You Should Really Do When You Want To Lose Weight Fast

Weight loss is a touchy subject for most people. Speaking as a person who’s had to deal with weight issues, I can tell you right now that it’s both a fairly straightforward affair and incredibly difficult to pull off, let alone pull off in a healthy and efficient manner. I’ve gone from being a skinny teen – going from 130 pounds on my first day at high school to 140 pounds by the end of it – to shooting all the way up to 205 pounds in my third year of college, after I’ve quit smoking and started spending more time at homes with books, all the way back down to a relatively lean 165 pounds, packing on a bit more muscle.

It’s been one hell of a journey, and I still need a lot more work to reach my initial goal of settling at a lean and muscular 170. I’m telling you all this because I want you to know that I understand just how different weight loss goals can be for people, and that some require drastic measures to achieve. Right now I’m all about taking things slowly, but back when I shot past 200 pounds, I knew I needed to jump start the whole process and get some serious results within 3-4 months.

With a lot of sacrifices and a strict regime I managed to lose 13 pounds in little over a month (some of it being water weight), and then I slowed things down a bit and shed the other 22 pounds of extra flab (and a bit of muscle I must admit) in about 6 months. Those fast results at the beginning really help keep you motivated, but there are a lot of things to consider if you want to pull it of effectively.

1. Forget about rewards and cheating, your reward is getting fit

If you are going to take the plunge and start a training regime that allows you to lose weight fast, you are going to need to develop the right mindset. Losing a solid 10-15 pounds of fat over the course of 4-6 months can be done at a slow and steady pace, with enough wiggle room to make you feel comfortable. However, if you want to get the same results in 6 weeks, you need to be prepared to make huge sacrifices and be fairly uncomfortable for a while.

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You mustn’t reward yourself with a big bowl of ice cream after a week of successful dieting, or make Sundays your fast food days because eat will slow down your progress. Think about what you will achieve if you stick to the program rigorously, and let that sexy reflection in the mirror be your reward and motivation.

2. Don’t set arbitrary limitations, just count your calories and protein intake

While simple little lifestyle changes can be enough to put you in a 300-400 calorie deficit every day, it will take forever to lose a significant amount of weight this way. Switching to diet soda, replacing one daily junk food meal with a big salad, not eating past 7pm, walking an hour a day and doing 10 minutes of jumping jacks in the morning are all great strategies for someone who has trouble with those stubborn last 10 pounds of fat, but for fast results you need a huge deficit.

You’ll need a deficit of over 25% of your total maintenance level calories for rapid results, and this means being careful about counting everything. By simply using smaller plates and cutting your serving size by about a third, you can guesstimate, but it’s best to tack calories a bit more precisely. You want to make sure that a large portion of these calories come in the form of protein, in order to avoid losing large amounts of muscle mass along with the fat. You need at least 1.6g of protein per kg of body weight, but preferably closer to 2g per kg, or around 1g per pound, when on a severely restrictive diet.

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3. Take care of your gut

Our gut flora features a huge number of bacteria, and most of them are actually useful. They help us digest food and keep our stomachs healthy, but there are also other types of bacteria that can have a negative effect on our health. The balance of these bacteria can also determine whether we have a hard time losing weight or not. It is important to make sure that your diet not only consists of nutritious food, but that you are also taking in a good amount of healthy probiotics with your meals. With your gut working like a well-oiled machine you will be able to lose weight a bit more quickly – you won’t burn twice as many calories, but you will definitely notice an improvement over the course of several weeks.

4. Train for maximal strength, but don’t overdo it

You absolutely have to do strength training, preferably using heavy barbell and dumbbell exercises. If your don’t have access to a gym, do bodyweight exercises and slap on a heavy backpack to add resistance or do more challenging variations as you get stronger. The goal is to tell your body, in no uncertain terms, that you need all those muscles on a regular basis, so that it burns mostly fat. The idea of doing high reps to “get cut” or “tone” the muscles, e.g. 15-25 repetitions per set, is a huge fallacy – the muscles can either grow or get smaller, and the amount of fat they are buried under determines how well you can actually see the muscles.

However, you should only do enough work to stimulate the muscles and then leave, as you simply won’t have enough energy to recover properly from a hard workout, nor the calories to actually grow the muscles further. The goal is to preserve muscle mass and pump up your metabolism, so two full-body training sessions a week, or doing fewer overall sets are the preferred strategy here.

5. Keep moving, jumping and running

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It is possible to maintain a big calorie deficit purely through diet, but it is much easier and healthier to burn as much as you can through cardio training. If you need to cut 1000 calories, it’s best to ensure that you burn through about 300-400 with training, so that you’ll only need to cut another 600-700 calories from your diet.

Daily walks, taking the stairs and cleaning the house are great low intensity activities, while jumping rope, running, aerobics and martial arts type training are good moderate intensity activities. You can find something fun that challenges you and allows you to gauge your progress more clearly, but just keep moving your body.

6. Drink plenty of water before meals, and snack on fruit and vegetables

A nice little dirty tip is to drink a couple of glasses of water some 20-30 minutes before each meal, so that your stomach fills up and you can’t eat as much. A glass of water is also a great way to suppress feelings of hunger, but if you really feel like devouring an entire pizza, then eat a couple of apples, a few carrots or a simple salad. The dietary fibre will help keep the hunger away, and these “snacks” won’t have many calories.

7. Throw out all tempting junk food out of the house

This is an incredibly important piece of wisdom that you need to start utilizing right now – you can’t be tempted to reach for a soda bottle from the fridge, if the only thing you have in the fridge are veggies, lean meat and other low-calorie healthy foods. You’ll need to purge your house of all snacks, sodas and junk food from day one, and fill the fridge and cupboards up with healthy diet-friendly options.

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8. Always have quick and simple food options readily available

Recommending that you always have enough ingredients to prepare a meal in about 2 minutes may seem counter-intuitive when it comes to weight loss, but there’s a method to the madness. You see, the main problem with healthy food is that you need to prepare it yourself, which takes time. Sure, you can prepare it in advance and keep it in a plastic container, but sooner or later you will be tempted to just make a sandwich or order takeout.

If you have some pre-cooked chicken breast, oatmeal and frozen fruit, a potato you can bake in the microwave or pre-cut veggies mixed in a bowl, then you can prepare a snack in a couple of minutes and quench that hunger before it gets out of control. Even a few bites can be enough to calm you down and help you fight the urge to raid a fast food joint.

9. Remember to stabilize at a sustainable maintenance diet

These are all very important tips for cutting lots of fat quickly, but you have to remember that such extreme diets aren’t sustainable in the long run, and that you can’t simply go back to your old eating habits after those initial 2-3 months of rapid weight loss. Once you’ve reached the initial goal, it’s time to buckle down, calculate maintenance calories, find a balance between healthy eating and junk meals – 80-90% healthy and 10-20% junk food is the best solution – and reinforce your new habits.

If you want to lose weight fast, these tips will help get you to your goal with the least amount of hassle, but understand that you can’t just get the body you’ve wanted and then kick back and relax. Long term fitness is about putting in the work every week and pacing yourself, and this requires lots of little lifestyle changes, but jump starting your weight loss with something a bit more extreme can be both healthy and motivating if done correctly.

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