The Beginners Guide to Weight Loss

One of the first things you have to understand before embarking on any of the many weight loss programs available these days is that magic does not work. There are no magic diet pills or weight loss foods that will transform you from a size 12 to a size 6 overnight.

In an ideal world, Hermione Granger, Gandalf or the latest, greatest weight loss guru would just wave a magic wand at you while saying a few exotic sounding words and your excess pounds would just melt away and never return.

In the real world, healthy weight loss takes time, perseverance and lots of water.

There are good reasons why all effective weight loss programs include a substantial quantity of water. This no-calorie beverage not only helps fill you up, it also aids digestion and increases your metabolism. Water makes up about 90% of your blood plasma. When your body is well hydrated, your blood volume is at the proper level to efficiently deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells. The quicker your cells receive the nutrients you consume, the sooner they can convert those nutrients into energy.

Trying to lose weight without drinking plenty of water will handicap your efforts. Researchers at Virginia Tech University recently reported that people who drank 16 ounces of water before each meal experience a 44 percent boost in weight loss over those who abstain from water before their meals.

Of course, you don’t have to be a research scientist to understand how drinking water before a meal will help control the amount of food you eat or how controlling your food consumption is the key to healthy weight loss. This is why portion control is one of the most important lessons you need to learn to achieve permanent weight loss.

Any weight loss program that fails to teach portion control is destined to disappoint you in the long run.

We’ve all known frustrated dieters who seem to spend their entire lives losing the same five pounds over and over again. In many of the cases, portion size awareness is the tool needed to break the vicious cycle.

One of the best ways to learn proper portion size for your healthy diet is to use a measuring cup and a food scale. The first time you measure a cup of corn flakes or weigh four ounces of lean meat, you might be startled by how small an individual serving seems. If so, odds are good that your concept of serving size is sabotaging your attempts to lose weight. If you’ve been consuming several adult-size servings of various foods at every meal, you’re heading for a diet disaster. The path to extra pounds is paved with excess servings.

In addition to excess servings, casual snacking and unnoticed nibbles can also cause us to consume more calories than we realize. People who measure, weigh and count the calories on every item on their plate at every meal may easily choose to ignore the 5 calorie breath mint they use regularly throughout the day, forget the handful of nuts they grabbed from a bowl at a co-worker’s desk and think their other assorted minor nibbles don’t really add up to much.

Sadly, they are usually wrong.

The best way to get a handle on what you are really consuming daily is to keep a food diary.

Numerous studies have shown that people who actually write down what they eat, each and every time they eat, are the most likely to lose the most amount of weight. If you expand the concept to include the mood you were in before reaching for each snack or random nibble, you’ll not only discover sources of extra calories but also uncover interesting patterns which may be wrecking your weight loss plans. As an added benefit, nutrition experts report those who maintain food diaries for 28 days or more develop such an awareness of what they are eating they actually end up feeling fuller faster.

Despite the millions of words spun by weight loss wizards in creating numerous weight loss diets, there is nothing mystical or complex about healthy weight loss. Barring certain unresolved medical conditions, if you eat less and you move more, you will lose weight, No, you won’t “lose 10 pounds in a week” and, frankly, you don’t want to lose that much that fast. It isn’t healthy and it certainly isn’t sustainable. It is better to lose a pound or two a week and keep that weight off than lose 20 pounds in one month only to gain 10 of them back the following month and another15 the month after that.

One of the keys to maintaining weight loss is developing good exercise habits.

We suggest starting with just a few additions to your basic routing. Parking your car further away from your usual spot at work or the shopping mall adds a bit more motion to your day and every bit of additional motion works in your favor. Try walking up a flight of stairs and catching the elevator on the second floor or, perhaps, doing 5 jumping jacks before brushing your teeth.

Don’t overdo it at the start. People who jump into an exercise routine like a ball of fire usually burn out within a week or two. You’re not looking to land a spot on the next Olympic team; you’re looking to give your body a healthy boost.

Adding regular walks to your routine can yield enormous benefits. Start with 10-minute strolls three times a week and work your way up to 20-minute walks at a brisk pace. After a few months, you’ll be amazed by how much better you’ll feel and how much better you’ll look.

Congratulations on taking control of your life. We hope these simple tips will help you on your journey to a healthier, happier lifestyle.