Let's take a look at six steps that will help you achieve total weight loss success.
Set An Appropriate Calorie Intake
The very first thing to do is to determine your appropriate calorie intake. While you will most likely need to lower your calorie intake, if you take those calories too low then you're going to see a significant reduction in your metabolic rate.
Remember, the body requires a certain amount of calories just to stay alive so any time you take your calorie intake too low, it's going to fight back, making further fat loss that much harder.
Working with a Registered Dietician is a great way to start smartly and safely. If that is not an option for you, visit the American Heart Association website to estimate your calorie intake based on your age, gender, height and activity level.
Schedule In Cheat Meals
Make sure that you take the time now to schedule in a few cheat meals. Simply knowing that you will get a chance to eat the foods you crave naturally can go a long way towards helping you stick with the program.
The minute you completely restrict yourself from all foods you enjoy is the minute you won't be able to stop thinking about them, so by planning the cheat meals from the start you help to get around this issue.
Just be sure when having your cheat meals that you keep them to an appropriate serving size.
Get Protein With Each Meal
Be sure that you're getting sufficient protein with each meal and snack you eat. If you are not taking in enough protein you're going to not only put yourself at risk for lean muscle mass loss, but your metabolism also won't be running as fast as it could.
Protein is the one nutrient that will instantly boost the metabolism upon consumption, so you'll want to be sure that you're getting enough. The best sources include chicken breasts, turkey breast, seafood and fish, low-fat dairy products, soybeans and tofu, as well as tempeh.
The main proteins to avoid if you're aiming to lose weight include high fat red meat products, bacon, processed meats, and high fat dairy products.
Aim for no less than 15 grams per meal and snack, which is about 2 oz worth of meat or one cup of low-fat dairy and you'll be right on track. Twenty grams would be even better.
Alternate Between High And Low Carbohydrate Days
Consider alternating between higher and lower carbohydrate days. Using this approach tends to work well for many people who are highly active. On the days that you have a workout scheduled, you eat more carbs and therefore feel more energetic since carbohydrates are the primary fuel that the body needs for exercise. Consume fewer carbs on lower activity days.
Changing around which carbohydrates you eat also helps to reduce the chance of your metabolism slowing down as it is closely tied into your carb intake.
Just be sure that your total weekly calorie intake is still in line with where it should be as you utilize the carb cycling approach.
Plan For Night-Time Snacking
If you are one of those people that like to snack at night, don't deny it - plan for it. Rather than scolding yourself each time you give in to late night eating, simply plan for a snack and work it into your total calorie intake.
If you count those calories towards your daily total and be sure to choose healthy, then you should have no problem achieving results. Some good evening snacks include yogurt with flaxseeds, cottage cheese with peanut butter or a can of tuna with some raw vegetables.
Get Creative In The Kitchen
Take some time to get creative in the kitchen and come up with a few great recipes to try out. The more variety you have in your routine while keeping it healthy the greater the chance that you will stick with it.
Dietary boredom tends to be the most common reason why people fall off their plans. Making sure you aren't eating the same dish over and over again will help to prevent boredom and continue your success.
These six quick steps will help you get off to a great start with your weight loss plan. Remember that small changes you make today will really pay off tomorrow. Don't feel intimidated and feel like you have to do a complete diet overhaul all at once. Instead, focus on little changes you can make that will get you on the path towards a healthier future.