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Successful Weight Loss: Top 10 Tips On What Works & Why

Posted Oct 01 2008 10:26pm

#1: Exercise. It's nothing new, but exercise is probably the most important predictor of whether you will succeed at long term weight loss and weight loss maintenance. In order for exercise to be helpful in weight loss, you should strive for a minimum of five 30 minute sessions per week. The good news is that recent research has shown that three 10 minute sessions in a day are as good as one 30 minute session.

#2: Pump iron. We chose to list this separately from the "exercise" category because of the significant weight loss benefits attached to weight lifting in and of itself. The basic equation is this: the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you will burn. This is why world class weight lifters must eat thousands of calories a day to maintain their weight. Muscle is active tissue, fat is not. Thus, muscle "burns" a significant number of calories each day for its own maintenance.

#3: Keep a diary. Keeping a food diary can be a huge asset in successful weight loss. Devote some time each day to record what you have eaten and how much, your hunger level prior to eating, and any feelings or emotions present at the time.

#4: Stay focused on being healthy, not on becoming thin. Many people become more successful at long term weight loss when their motivation changes from wanting to be thinner to wanting to be healthier. Change your mindset to think about selecting foods that will help your body's health rather than worrying about foods that will affect your body's weight.

#5: Find out what's eating you. All too often overeating is triggered by stress, boredom, loneliness, anger, depression and other emotions. Learning to deal with emotions without food is a significant skill that will greatly serve long term weight control.

#6: Get support. A big key in long term weight control comes from receiving encouragement and support from others.

#7: Watch your portions. With the advent of "super-size" meals and increasingly huge portions at restaurants, our concept of normal serving sizes is a distant memory. Be mindful of the amounts of food you consume at a sitting.

#8: Lose weight slowly with small changes. Try to remember that "losing 15 pounds in two weeks" is nothing to celebrate. It is important to realize that the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat.

#9: Slow down. Did you ever notice that thin people take an awfully long time to eat their food? Eating slowly is one method that can help take off pounds. That's because from the time you begin eating it takes the brain 20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness. Fast eaters often eat beyond their true level of fullness before the 20 minute signal has had a chance to set in.

#10: Eat less fat, but do it wisely. We've known for some time that limiting high fat foods in the diet can be helpful with weight loss. That's because fats pack in 9 calories per gram compared to only 4 calories per gram from proteins or carbohydrates. To many, the message to limit fats implied an endorsement to eat unlimited amounts of fat-free products. Just to clarify, fat-free foods have calories too. In some cases fat-free foods have as many calories as their fat laden counterparts. If you eat more calories than your body uses, you will gain weight. Eating less fat will help you to lose weight. Eating less fat and replacing it with excessive amounts of fat-free products will not.

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