A healthy diet depends on several factors for success. Cutting calories alone isn’t the answer to attaining and maintaining your target weight. To achieve success, you must combine the right nutritional balance with a proper amount of exercise. Another important component necessary for the success of your diet is mental focus – changing your eating and exercise habits is as much a psychological change as a physical one. You must call upon determination and willpower will enable you to meet the challenges you set for yourself in your diet.
By simply cutting calories, you may actually withhold necessary vitamins and nutrients your body needs to become healthier. In the extreme, relying only on cutting calories as a means to lose weight may lead to a state of starvation. Instead of slashing a certain number of calories from your diet to achieve the magic number you think you need to lose weight, reallocate those calories to healthier foods. Instead of reducing the number of meals you eat on a daily basis, reduce the size of those meals and increase the number of times you eat. That’s right! By eating more often, but in smaller portions, your metabolic rate will increase, enabling an increase in your calorie burning potential as well as your energy level.
The smart dieter will plan meals ahead of time, in order to properly balance the number of meals, amount of calories and types of food consumed. Maintain a well-balanced diet by ensuring proper levels of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, fiber, fat and water. Consult the food pyramid for suggested servings-per-day for each basic food group. Try to break these suggested servings evenly between your multiple meals – eating all of your fruits in one meal, all of your grains in another, and all of your proteins in yet another will not be beneficial to your diet.
When you are designing your nutritional plan, keep in mind that the first pounds you will lose may come off rapidly as your body sheds water weight. After that, plan your caloric intake based upon your activity level and the goal of losing one or two pounds per week. Look at the amount of calories you already consume on a daily basis. In order to lose one pound per week, you will probably need to reduce your overall caloric intake by around 3500 calories per week, or 500 per day. When creating your nutritional plan, never plan for less than 1200 calories per day, or your body will not properly maintain itself. Falling below 800 calories per day could lead to malnutrition and starvation.
You do not need to reduce the amount of calories in your diet simply by cutting food; you can also cut calories by increasing your current exercise to burn a certain number of extra calories per day. Long-term weight loss must always include an exercise regimen to supplement smarter eating habits. Just as you moderate your food intake to sensible levels, also moderate your exercise. Never take on more than you can safely handle – even burning just 100 extra calories per day by walking briskly for 20 minutes can be beneficial to your diet.
Most importantly, always keep your head in the game and your eyes on the goal. Healthy weight loss and a healthier future are well worth making your best effort to strive for, but you must have the determination and perseverance not to expect immediate results but to work towards long-term success. Remembering that simply cutting calories is not enough will be the key to your goal achievement. Instead strive to change your entire lifestyle through nutrition and exercise, and you will be well on your way to becoming healthier and more fit!