According to research, half of all women are on a diet at any one time. Chances are you've tried to lose weight at one time in your life, but we are only now receiving sound advice on how to do it the healthy way. Follow these 5 important tips so that you can lose weight in a healthy way that will be sustainable for the rest of your life.
1. Accommodate for lost water weight
As with the common stereotype to say "I'm just big boned!" when justifying being on the heavier side, it's also common to blame it on "water weight". Well, you'll be pleased to hear that this is a real phenomenon! As you diet and follow a calorie deficit, your fat cells fill with water. You may hit a plateau for a while, but if you stay true to your healthy lifestyle, your fat cells will suddenly rid themselves of the water and you will see a drop on the scale and look noticeably leaner. While this may be fantastic news for all you dieters out there, it does mean you might be taken by surprise at how dehydrated you become. Make sure you drink lots of water to flush out your fat cells and all of the other toxins that have been held in your body and stay hydrated as much as possible.
2. Adjust your calories as you go
A common mistake that dieters make is they do not adjust their calories as they progress through their weight loss journey. If you start your weight loss journey at a high weight, you'll need to lower your daily calories as you lose weight because your daily calorie needs will reduce.
In order to calculate how many calories your body needs each day, you need to calculate your BMR. This is your Basal Metabolic Rate and indicates how many calories your individual body will burn just at rest on an average day, not taking into account your daily activity level. As your body weight and body fat level drops, make sure you adjust your diet and reduce your intake.
3. Find your comfortable maintenance weight and do not continue dieting
Dieting has to end sometime, as living in a calorie deficit is not sustainable long-term. Perhaps you're trying to lose weight for a specific sports event or for a big event like a wedding. If and when you reach your goal weight, make sure you then adjust your diet to become a maintenance lifestyle and no longer live in a deficit. Continue with the healthy habits that you have picked up throughout your weight loss journey, perhaps drinking less and cooking from scratch more, and this should be a breeze. It will prevent you from gaining back the weight you've lost and will also prevent you from losing too much.
What this does mean is you may need to increase your calories. If you've been living in a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories, make sure you start eating those calories so that you don't continue losing weight and instead enter maintenance mode. However, it's important that those calories are from nutrient-rich foods and not junk!
4. Take care of your body composition
It's common knowledge that it's bad to lose weight too fast. This is for a number of reasons, but one that is less thought about is the fact you will be at risk of being left with saggy skin and an unattractive body composition. Dependant on your goals and personal preferences, you may wish to look lean, muscular, athletic, or just skinny. This is entirely up to you. However, if you lose the weight too quickly, you will be left with sagging skin, cellulite dimples, and other less-desirable qualities.
As you lose the weight, make sure you are not being too extreme or losing the weight too fast, and do plenty of exercise - both cardio and weight training - to tone your muscles and leave you with a good and healthy physique that you will be happy with.