Did you know that over half of all American adults are overweight?
With figures like those, almost all of us could use a few tips for keeping our weight where we want it.
Fad diets can do more harm than good, but careful science has found several behavioral changes we can all make to safely change our weight.
Read on to learn how to lose weight safely!
How to Lose Weight Safely
Losing weight is a combination of your eating habits and exercise habits. Many people don’t realize that running a whole mile might only burn about 120 calories. That’s the equivalent of about a slice and a half of bread!
That means you could either run a mile, or you could just eat a slice and a half of bread less in a day. The effect is the same!
Depending on which of those two choices seems easier for you, you might want to focus on eating fewer calories vs exercising more.
In this piece, we’ll focus on eating fewer calories.
Why Eat Fewer Calories?
There are complicated weight loss solutions out there that tell you the best day to start a diet or what order to eat your food types in. But out of all of those plans, none of them can give you as much bang for the buck as this one simple rule.
For most people, most of the time, eating fewer calories is the biggest thing they can do to lose weight.
Now, we don’t just want to lose weight, we want to lose weight safely. So while many of the tips we’ll look at will show you how to eat less, that doesn’t mean that less and less is always better.
For safe weight loss, we want fewer calories, but not the fewest calories. If you’ve been eating 600 calories too many each day, then eating 600 calories fewer is a great improvement.
On the other hand, eating 2000 calories fewer is almost certainly an unhealthy strategy.
There’s a certain number of calories that you need every day to keep your weight the same. That’s your “maintenance intake.” If you eat more than that, you’ll increase your weight; if you eat less than that, you’ll lower your weight.
A weight loss chart is a great way to figure out your own maintenance intake. Mark your weight on your chart each day. When your weight stays about the same for a few weeks, that means you’ve been eating your maintenance intake of calories.
Once you have your maintenance intake figured out, you’ll want to eat somewhat less than that. For most people who actually need to lose weight (which is not everybody), eating 500 fewer calories than their maintenance intake is probably safe (if your body is small, 500 fewer calories may be too many; try 200 or 300 instead).
So how can you lower your daily calories?
How to Eat Fewer Calories
The first thing to understand is the difference between fat, protein, and carbs. If you have 3 foods that are all the same weight, you might think that they provide about the same number of calories.
Actually, fat contains more than twice as many calories per gram compared to carbs and protein. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories, while each gram of carbs or protein contains only 4 calories.
To make sure you’re actually eating fewer calories, it’s important to pay attention not just to how much food you’re eating, but how many calories are in it. Even small quantities of the wrong foods can provide many more calories than large quantities of other foods.
That doesn’t mean you should avoid fat. In fact, fat can be a great part of a weight loss diet. But you do need to make sure you’re eating the right amount of fat.
It’s also important to beware of foods that are marked as “low-fat.” These foods are often high in sugar. Calorie for calorie, sugar will ruin your diet more than fat. As long as you’re eating the right amount, healthy fats are far better for you than sugar.
Lower Your Hunger
Once you know how many calories you want to eat, it’s easy to know what to do: just don’t eat more than that! The hard part is dealing with hunger and cravings.
But that’s not all bad! The fact that hunger is such a big part of why a healthy diet can be difficult means this is the ultimate weight loss secret! If we can somehow lower hunger (healthily), we can diet much more easily and successfully.
If you’ve struggled to find how to slim down before, here are some great tips to help lower hunger so you can stick to your plan.
There’s a big difference between a filling food and a high-calorie food. Filling foods make us less hungry. Some filling foods are actually low in calories, so you can eat a lot of them to keep your hunger away without spoiling your diet!
Which Foods Lower Hunger?
Vegetables tend to be pretty low calorie, but some of them are voluminous and very filling. If you’re really feeling hunger pangs, you can probably eat as much cucumber as you want without going over your caloric limit. It may not satisfy your appetite completely, but it can definitely help.
In general, proteins and fats can satiate your appetite more than carbs. If you eat 1000 calories of protein and fat vs 1000 calories of carbs, you’ll probably feel more satisfied with the protein and fat.
Eating too many carbs is an easy way to reach your caloric limit and still be hungry!
Coffee has some appetite lowering properties, so if you’re feeling really hungry, a cup of coffee might be just what you need to settle down. Drinking water and chewing gum are other great weight loss secrets to keep your hunger away.
All of these tricks are affordable, too, so if you’re wondering how to lose weight on a budget, these tips are for you!
Once you have your diet plan and your hunger under control, you may be able to get some extra benefit out of supplements. Check out these six popular supplements assist with weight loss.
Protein powder can be a time-saving way to make sure you’re getting the protein you need if you want to build muscle. Other supplements don’t help you lose weight by themselves, but can give you extra energy for weight loss workouts.
There are also supplements that are designed to lower hunger, one more way to help yourself comfortably reach your target caloric intake.
You Can Make Yourself Healthier
For how to lose weight safely and to keep up with local news and events, check out our other articles.