And unfortunately, there are no really easy solutions when it comes to sustained weight loss.
“Fad diets promising a quick fix may help you drop weight quickly, but these programs can do more harm than good,” says Dr. Jen Sacheck, author and Associate Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University.
Sacheck, along with motivational speaker and co-author Chris Crowley, explain in plain English the science of what goes on inside your body — both when you’re taking care of yourself and when you’re not. They’re urging those two-thirds of Americans that are overweight or obese to stop searching for magic weight- loss solutions.
“Preaching a commitment to proper nutrition and regular exercise may not win us any popularity contests,” quips Crowley, “but at the end of the day, hard work is the only healthful way to lose weight and keep it off for good.”
Not only that, eating right and getting exercise can boost your mood, make you feel younger, and give you an overall better outlook on life.
Whether you’re looking to drop those extra pounds, or maintain a healthy weight as you age, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Avoidance of entire food groups or excessive consumption of others isn’t healthy, realistic or sustainable. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins play necessary and unique functions within our bodies and supply different nutrients crucial for health.
- Ditch wasteful calories that come from foods that are nutritionally void — think processed and overly packaged foods, refined flour products, all things fried or covered in creamy goop, sports drinks and other beverages with added sugar. Bottom line: eat real food.
- About half of your diet should be fruits and vegetables. Enjoy healthy fats in moderation and avoid saturated and trans fat. When eating meat, make it lean.
- Don’t starve! You need energy to go about your day, especially if you’re physically active. Skipping meals can actually lower your metabolism, making it harder to burn calories and lose weight.
- Be prepared to commit to regular aerobic exercise and resistance training. There are no shortcuts. Exercise for 45 to 60 minutes a day, six days a week, for the rest of your life.
- Stay connected with friends and family. “We are built to care deeply about one another. Get isolated and you will literally get sick,” says Crowley. Friends can also offer the best support when it comes to achieving your goals.
The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll see positive change. But remember: when it comes to sustainable weight loss, there are no miracles.