What makes up a complete weight loss program? Over the next few paragraphs this question will be answered. Most people achieve some weight loss when going on a program, but most programs only include one component of weight loss. When you go on a healthy diet plan you will lose weight. When you start exercising you will lose weight. When you address the reasons causing your weight loss and set goals for the future you will lose weight. But to get the optimal the results you must combine all components into a comprehensive program.
The first and most important part of any weight loss program is eating an adequate and balanced diet. This must not be confused with starving yourself. A balanced diet includes meals from all food groups in moderation. You must not completely exclude any type of food, just eat it in moderation. You wont find a long-term solution from limiting yourself from the foods you love. This will improve long-term compliance with the program, and you stay sane and happy in the meantime!
The biggest mistake people make when changing their diet is not eating enough! Starving yourself is detrimental to weight loss. You may find in the first few days you will lose weight, but long-term you will put twice as much on. When you stop eating enough food, you body goes into life saving mode. This may sound extreme but let me explain. You body doesn't know when your next meal is going to be, and starts storing energy as fat in your body. When you do finally eat again, the same thing happens. Your body needs energy to survive, so you store more and the cycle continues. On the other hand, if you are eating regular nutritious meals, your body starts to learn that it doesn't need to store energy, and is constantly burning more of it. In other words your metabolism speeds up id you eat regular small meals.
The next most important part of your weight loss program is exercise. Without exercise you will only reach half of your weight loss potential. In simple terms to lose fat you need to burn off more energy then you eat. Research has found that the optimal amount of exercise is for a minimum of 30 minutes of constant cardio exercise (walking, jogging, cycling, swimming etc). This should be done at least 4 days a week for optimal results. The best way to exercise is with a friend! This will keep you motivated and more importantly interested and you will never get bored.
This last aspect of long-term sustainable weight loss is finding out what caused your weight gain in the first place, and changing this. This may sound simple but can often be a complex task. Some people may even need psychological help in dealing with certain situations to aid with their problem. If there is something, and event or incident in the past, that causes your stress and anxiety, which in turn makes you turn to food, you must address these underling issues. If not, there is a high chance you will go back to your old ways. If you find you regularly snack because you are bored, substitute your snacks for healthier alternatives. If you drink a lot of soft drinks, simply don't have them in the house, and so on.
Goal setting is an important part of long-term weight loss, particularly when it comes to being motivated to stay on track. Start off by setting a long term big goal, "i want to lose 40 pounds in the next two months'. Make it reasonable, achievable and set a time frame. Them break this up into smaller goals, "I need to lose 5 pounds a week for 8 weeks to get to my goal". Now it sounds much easier and achievable. Then get to work! Try your hardest to lose those 5 pounds by next Sunday. When you do, you will be more motivated to lose more the week after, and so on.
In summary, a comprehensive, long term sustainable weight loss program should include the following: a balanced healthy diet plan, an exercise program and goal setting.