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Sustainable and Long-Term Weight Loss

People who lose weight gradually and steadily are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss for me isn’t just about a “diet” or “program” you need to follow. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits. It’s about creating sustainable habits.

Once you’ve achieved a healthy weight, rely on healthy eating and physical activity to help you keep the weight off over the long term. Losing weight is not easy, and yes it takes commitment. But if you’re ready to get started, I’ve got a few tips to help get you on the road to weight loss, sustain your weight loss, and better health.

We all know that sustained weight loss can be a struggle, but it’s definitely possible. Successful strategies include cutting back on foods and drinks that have been strongly tied to weight gain and increasing your intake of more nutrient-dense foods. Other approaches focus on ways you can set yourself up for long-term healthy eating in gradual steps. Aside from avoiding obvious minefields like syrup-drenched pancakes, processed and fast foods, there are several practical guidelines to follow if you’re looking to slim down and keep your weight off.

Here are my tips for sustainable weight loss and can be helpful whether you’re struggling to lose weight or simply aiming to reboot your eating plan with some healthier basics.
1. Create sustainable habits
Small consistent steps lead to permanent, sustainable life-long habits. Your health journey should be about creating sustainable habits that you can maintain and put a positive cycle in motion, slowly… It’s not a quick fix. Healthy habits are learned in the same way as unhealthy ones, through practice. For sustainable weight loss, it’s recommended to aim to lose only one to three kilos per week, at the most. Slimming down slowly instead of all at once gives you enough time to create healthy new eating and exercise patterns that you can maintain for life. You’ve got to give yourself a few months or years of consistent behavioral changes. I know it’s hard work and you’re building new habits and that takes time. Take your time and create healthy habits that are sustainable and will help you keep your extra weight off for good. Create healthy habits and not restrictions.

2. Eat more vegetables

Diets high in vegetables, especially greens are tied to better health outcomes, including weight loss and a decreased risk of chronic diseases. Veggies like kale, watercress, spinach, and chives are said to be powerhouse foods, so find a few you like, and start adding them to your plate. But don’t worry that does not mean you need to slash meat, dairy, or fish from your diet. In fact, the best results typically come from diets that combine high amounts of vegetables with healthy sources of protein and complex carbohydrates which can include seafood, eggs, and lean meat.

3. Eat more healthy fats

One reason many dieters curb their fat intake (besides the lingering influence of the low-fat dieting trend of the 1990s),  is that it’s an easy way to cut calories. But eating fat does not necessarily lead us to weight gain. Instead, it may help us to lose weight by making us feel full and curbing our sugar consumption. This appears to be especially true for healthy fats from sources like nuts, olive oil, avocados, and fish. There is one thing we know about fats. Fat consumption does not cause weight gain. To the contrary, it might actually help us shed a few kilos, so it’s actually better to cut back on refined carbs, trans fats, and sugar. I believe it’s better to focus on nutrients-density and not only calories.

4. Focus on Protein

Protein is a key nutrient that not only helps fuel our muscles but it keeps us feeling full. It also slows the breakdown of carbs into sugar, thereby acting as a sort of buffer against sharp dips and spikes in insulin levels. It’s always a good idea to make sure you’re eating enough protein with every meal. To make sure your protein intake isn’t slouching, add items like beans, legumes, tofu, fish, egg, lean meats to vegetables, and whole grain-based meals.

5. Cut back on refined carbs
Refined grains are processed quickly and turned into sugar in the body. Whole grains, on the other hand, get digested slowly and fill you up for hours. The key difference is that whole grains still have their nutritious, fiber-rich outer shells, such as the germ and bran. Those parts get stripped off of refined carbs in a factory before you eat them. Several studies suggest that curbing your carb intake is an easy way to help stabilize blood sugar levels as well. Having steady and balanced blood sugar levels has been linked with beneficial health outcomes including weight loss, better energy levels throughout the day, and a reduced risk of chronic disease. Tight glycemic control (balanced blood sugar levels) is necessary to maintain health and to prevent disease.
6. Cut back on Sugar
A growing body of evidence suggests that if there is a single villain in our diets when it comes to weight gain, it’s sugar. The more refined carbohydrates (such as sugar) that you eat, the more weight you tend to gain. So cut back on sweets and start paying attention to the sugar content on the labels of processed foods — especially in sauces, salad dressing, and bakes goods.
7. Move around more

Exercise is not a shortcut to weight loss because when we amp up our activity levels, our hunger levels tend to increase in tandem. Part of your health journey is exercise. Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. Regular movement of any kind is a key component of any healthy lifestyle and it’s especially important if you’re looking to slim down and keep the weight off for the long haul.

* Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.

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