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The Key Components of Healthy Weight Loss

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Before you embark on a weight loss journey, you need an informed plan of action. Far too many people engage in risky behaviors when trying to shed weight. Some people will go on incredibly low-calorie diets, which can destroy your metabolism, reduce muscle mass, and increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, or an eating disorder. Weight loss that is too quick may also lead to regaining the weight. Other people may take dietary supplements for weight loss, which are not regulated by the FDA. Dietary supplements are allowed to be put on store shelves without being examined for safety, purity, or quality. The only thing the FDA requires is that dietary supplements are edible. One study found that one in three sexual minority women abuse laxatives and diet pills or induce vomiting. Still others may consider going on a strict detox, which carry risks of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and more.

Speak To Your Doctor

Health professionals are available to help you lose weight safely. Doctors can recommend a weight goal for your specific body type, help you to determine how fast you should aspire to shed pounds, and outline the benefits of weight loss such as lower blood pressure. Doctors can also conduct examinations to identify diseases and conditions which may be affecting your weight. Prediabetes is a condition which has no visible symptoms. It is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels and increased insulin production which can cause weight gain. Weight gain may also result from low levels of thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism.

Change Your Mindset

Approaching weight loss with a healthy mindset is a must. "Shifting your mindset about how to lose weight is the biggest factor in losing weight," says NYC-based therapist Kathryn Smerling. "We can't shift our weight from the outside without realizing the correct inner resolve and intention." Many people jump into diets and exercise plans with negative thoughts in their heads, attacking themselves for being flawed even as they try to “fix” themselves. Being split-minded--wanting to improve yourself but also tearing yourself down--is a surefire way to sabotage yourself. Research from Syracuse University shows that the more dissatisfied women are with their bodies, the more likely they are to avoid exercise. And simply thinking that you're overweight predicts future weight gain, according to 2015 research published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Change Your Relationship with Food

Unlike with smoking or drinking, you can’t just “quit” food. Instead, you have to shift your relationship with food from negative to positive. One step to take in improving your relationship with food is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Sometimes cravings can be confused for hunger, so it’s important to practice recognizing the difference between the two. Also, when mealtimes roll around, be sure to thoroughly enjoy your food. Many people will sit down in front of the TV for a meal and zone out, inevitably not getting the full experience and enjoyment out of eating. Pay full attention to your food and savor every bite. This can help you feel more satisfied with your food and also help you feel more full, reducing the likelihood you will overeat. Finally, try not to fill emotional voids with food. Don’t eat just because you are bored. Instead, read a book, go for a walk, take a bubble bath or go out with a friend. Don’t use food to chase away sad feelings, either. Doing so will likely leave you feeling worse in the long run.

Dieting the Right Way

Healthy diets are varied and well-balanced. However, some specialized diets have been proven to be effective for weight loss, such as the ketogenic diet. The keto diet is high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. It is based on the premise that when the body doesn't have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, it enters into ketosis and burns fat instead. If you are not losing weight on keto, there are some adjustments you can make that may help you get better results. One possibility is that you are still eating too many carbs. To get the body to burn fat as its main energy source, only 5% of your total calories should come from carbs. You may also need to consume more nutritious foods and cut out less nutritious foods like processed meats, keto desserts, and snack bars. Many keto-friendly foods including avocados, olive oil, full-fat dairy and nuts, are high in calories, so it’s important to make sure you’re not going over your daily limit.

Stay Safe

If there is one important thing to remember with weight loss, it’s that you need to approach it in a safe manner. It’s very easy to make weight loss dangerous. Be sure to take every measure you can to protect your precious health.

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