Modifying our diet is one of the keys to losing weight.
But the statistics on diet successes aren't good and only a very small percentage of dieters achieve permanent weight loss. To help you become one of those that do achieve permanent weight loss from dieting, here are Ten Golden Rules to Dieting that you can trust to help you lose those unwanted inches and pounds.
Rule 1: Never Skip Breakfast
The old saying that 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day' is certainly on the money when it comes to dieting.
Nothing gets our metabolism going faster than breakfast after a good night's sleep.
Sleeping causes our metabolism to slow right down and breakfast kick-starts it again for us.
But always remember that just as important as having breakfast itself, it's also important to choose healthy breakfast options like wholegrain cereals and breads, low-fat dairy products like milk and yogurt, and fruit or fruit juice.
Rule 2: Drink Plenty of Water and Get Plenty of Sleep
Drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep are critically important when we are dieting.
As well as helping to keep us healthy, drinking sufficient amounts of water can help us when dieting because it helps keep us feeling full and stops us from feeling hungry, and when we drink plenty of water we usually drink less soda, coffee and alcohol, all of which can add significant amounts of calories to our daily intake.
New links to the importance of sleep to weight loss are being uncovered all the time.
One case in point was a series of studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which showed that sleep loss can make weight loss far more difficult than it needs to be.
So to make sure your weight loss doesn't encounter any hidden barriers to success, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep.
Rule 3: Count your Calories
Do you know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and do you know how many calories you therefore need to consume in order to lose weight?
Once you know these things, you also need to keep track of how many calories you consume each day so that you can compare them to your target and make any necessary adjustments.
Writing down your calorie consumption after each meal will help you realize how much of an effect the little piece of candy here and the occasional cookie there has on your weight.
Writing down your calorie consumption needn't be hard, most of us eat the same things week in week out so chances are you'll only need to get to know the energy values of a relatively small number of foods and drinks in order to keep track.
Rule 4: Don't try to lose weight quickly
Gaining significant weight usually takes years and so should losing a significant amount of weight.
Our bodies don't like sudden and significant change; in fact it is built to resist it.
This resistance has a scientific name called homeostasis.
When our body heats up to a temperature above its preferred level what happens?
We sweat, which is an automatic response designed to cool us down to the preferred level again. That's homeostasis at work.
When we lose weight too quickly, what happens?
Our body automatically slows down its metabolism, that is, the rate at which we burn energy to survive and function. That's homeostasis at work again.
In addition to keeping our body from fighting against us on the weight loss front, losing weight too quickly doesn't work because early rapid weight loss usually results from losing body fluid and muscle tissue which is not healthy nor helpful in our battle to lose weight.
Rapid and significant weight loss from dieting alone is usually indicative of a very calorie restrictive diet which is also counterproductive because for most of us it is unsustainable.
Rule 5: It's not just what you eat that counts
Weight gain isn't a sign that we have been eating the wrong food; it is a sign that we have been eating too much food.
The great news about this is that we don't need to all start eating lettuce to lose weight; we just may need to cut down a little on the foods we enjoy each day.
Rule 6: Keeping your metabolism up
Muscle and activity keep our metabolism up which is why weight training to build or maintain our muscle mass and aerobic activity like walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are so important to those of us wanting to lose weight
Dieting alone is not the best route to weight loss and to staying in an ideal weight range.
To lose weight safely and keep it off for as long as possible, always combine dieting and exercise.
Rule 7: You won't continue to eat foods you don't like
Most diets fail because they require us to eat plenty of foods we don't actually like.
If we don't like what we're eating we're not going to stick with our diet for more than a week or two.
The key to successful dieting is to reduce the amount we eat and introduce healthier and lower calorie options of the foods we like gradually into our diet over time.
Rule 8: Watch what you drink as well as eat
Almost everything we drink, except water, has calories in it.
Drinks highest in calories are typically sodas, colas and alcoholic drinks.
If we typically drink a lot of any of these high calorie drinks, it may be them and not what we're eating that is causing us to get fat.
This being the case, for many of us simply reducing these drinks or eliminating them altogether from our diet may be all that is necessary for us to lose a significant amount of fat and weight.
Rule 9: Avoid extremes of any kind
Balance is not only the key to a happy, healthy life; it is also the key to a healthy diet and dieting.
Be very weary of any diets that completely cut out some foods or food groups or severely limit some foods or food groups, for example very low or no-carb diets.
Diets that are extreme in one way or another are likely to be very unhealthy at best and very dangerous to our health at worst.
If you're ever considering such a diet, which will probably promise very rapid and significant results, remember what we said about rapid weight loss and how our body is designed to maintain the status quo.
Rule 10: Seek help
If you have a lot of weight to lose, you've got a better chance of success if you get help.
If your weight is affecting your health to such an extent that it is or is becoming life-threatening or is leading to you suffering from weight related diseases like type-2 diabetes, seek medical help from a doctor or professional help from a dietician or another suitably qualified health care professional to lose weight immediately.
Even if your weight isn't directly affecting your health now, it is a great idea to get help in your battle against the bulge from professionals like dieticians, personal trainers, gyms, psychologists (overeating is often caused by emotional factors) or weight loss program providers and other weight loss specialists.
In addition to getting professional help, non-professional help, support and encouragement is also vital in improving your chances of dieting success.
For this type of help turn to friends, family and the support of other people with similar weight related goals, such as those that can be found on weight loss forums.
Good luck with your weight loss and remember that if you keep in mind the ten golden rules of dieting you are sure to be a dieting success story in the making.
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