You’re ready to get started on that new diet, convinced it will be the way to shed that weight once and for all. But whether you’re embarking on a juice fast, a pre-paid meal plan, a starvation diet, or even a sensible plan filled with plenty of nutrient-dense foods, there may be some things you’re overlooking.
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Don’t assume that your new diet is going to be a cure-all for all of your weight loss woes. Here are some other things you should definitely be doing, in addition to changing what you eat.
You have to move your body. Period
Cutting calories or changing how you eat are great steps to take toward weight loss -- but you’ll get even better results by including exercise into your routine at least five days a week. At minimum, get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise, and do strength training two days a week, recommends the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Moving your body will help improve your mood, ward off diseases, and help you burn more calories throughout the day. Building muscle through strength training, meanwhile, helps you to burn even more calories, since muscle burns calories more efficiently than fat tissue.
At the same time, get enough rest
Exercise will help you sleep better, and sleep, it turns out, also helps you lose weight faster. If you’re not getting at least 7 to 9 hours a night, you’re not getting enough, reminds MayoClinic.com. Sleep affects your hormone production, meaning too much or too little sleep can change your hormone levels. Hormones, as you might know, control whether you hold onto fat or burn it.
Avoid excess stress
Stress can also put your hormones out of whack and cause you to hold onto excess fat. It might sound easier said than done, but try to reduce your exposure to stressful situations, and take steps to better manage stress. Learn a mind-body technique such as yoga or meditation, for example.
Depriving your body of food puts it into starvation mode, which can cause it to store fat. Likewise, waiting too long between meals can make you more likely to reach for a sugary or high-carbohydrate snack to get a dose of quick energy. To avoid those pitfalls, snack on fresh fruits, nuts, and other healthy foods between meals. Experiment a little; some dieters do better on a schedule of five or six small meals versus three large ones.
Don’t get dehydrated
Drink a glass of water before a meal to help you avoid overeating during the meal. Sometimes you’ll feel the urge to eat, but what your body really needs is fluid. Thus, staying properly hydrated throughout the day helps you avoid unnecessary eating.
Go in for the long haul
You might be convinced that this new diet is going to be a quick, easy solution for all your weight loss woes, but that’s not the attitude that is going to help you in the long run. Quick weight loss often leads to quick weight gain. Instead of thinking in those terms, think of this journey as a long-term commitment to your health.
Eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, exercising and sleeping well should be parts of your routine all the time, not just when you’re "dieting." Start making an effort toward a healthier lifestyle in general and you’ll probably find your weight shifting slowly over time.
So does the diet you’re doing factor in the above-named items? If not, you might want to re-evaluate whether it’s really a diet worth trying.