How to Choose the Right Plan For Healthy Weight Loss
It’s almost the new year, and with the new year comes everyone’s resolutions to start losing weight and eating healthier. If there is one prediction that I can make year after year with the accuracy of Nostradamus, it’s that there will be dozens of weight loss plans on the market for both men and women.
These weight loss plans will range from fad diets to true weight loss plans that require hard work and effort.
You can expect to realistically follow a plan that will require you to spend four hours a day in the gym if you want to find success. Unfortunately, we’re not paid to spend every waking hour worrying about our diet. It is simply unrealistic to dedicate endless hours each day on your workout or diet.
However, there are some tips that will help you choose the right weight loss plan for 2016 and beyond.
Let’s take a look at some essential components that every weight loss plan should include.
Lifestyle is the most important part of any weight loss plan. The main issue is that everyone has their own likes and dislikes. Every person is different.
Maybe in your culture, grains, such as pasta, are a staple part of a typical diet.
Take a look at back of a pasta box (this is tedious, I know), and you’ll quickly see that it’s high in calories. You need to be able to change your lifestyle, but this doesn’t mean that you need to neglect all of these good foods that you love. You just need to adjust your portions.
Every diet plan in 2016 should help you adapt your lifestyle.
This can be done in incremental steps, such as:
- Lowering the amount of bad food you eat
- Introducing good-tasting foods that aren’t high in calories
- Allowing for plan adaptations
Perhaps the most important part of any plan is to ensure that it can be something that fits into your usual routine. If, for example, the plan requires seven days of exercise, you need to be realistic and know that you can fulfill these requirements.
And if you want to realize true gains, or weight loss for that matter, you need to undergo a major lifestyle change.
Most people form poor eating habits and start gaining weight early in life, and this will take some time to change. And this doesn’t mean that you will be expected to change your entire life. You need to find a good balance between a weight loss plan and your everyday lifestyle if you want to see success.
2. Cheat Days
Cheat days are often misunderstood, and sometimes given a bad reputation. The idea is to ensure that your cheat days are fulfilling – rewarding, even. While it’s not acceptable to cheat on the third day of your diet, you can have a cheat day once every two to three weeks.
In fact, many people have cheat days once a week.
You want to find a diet that allows you these cheat days to satisfy your cravings. But keep in mind that a full day of cheating is not necessarily good. Many new plans recommend that you have one cheat meal rather than a full day of bad eating.
This may mean eating a half a bowl of spaghetti, rather than 2 pounds of spaghetti, bread, meatballs and a 2 L bottle of soda.
There needs to be a balance, and depriving yourself of the foods you love will set you up for failure.
If you choose a diet that’s very strict, you need to understand that you’ll likely fall off the bandwagon and go back to your old eating habits. You need to choose a plan that’s flexible, so cheating doesn’t become a normal everyday occurrence.
Exercise is a major component of any weight loss plan. No matter what the plan promises in terms of weight loss, exercise will be the extra push that helps you lose weight faster. Weight loss plans for men, in particular, should include some form of exercise, so you burn all of your excess calories.
Think of it this way, if you’re simply eating 200 fewer calories a day with your resting metabolism, you can burn any excess calories much faster by working out.
Exercise will help you start to lose weight at a faster duration and give you motivation to stick to your diet.
Every weight loss plan should include a lifestyle change that incorporates exercise. And this exercise doesn’t need to involve weight lifting. Instead, the plan may include going for a walk around the neighborhood, or swimming. You need to find some form of physical activity that helps you reach your goals, and your weight loss plan should include exercise.
How much exercise?
It’s good to get moving every day, but the best plans will always include four or more days of exercise. This seems to be the sweet spot, and it’s a lot easier to maintain a four-day workout than it is to maintain a 7-day plan.
4. Ready-for-You Recipes and/or Meals
One of the biggest complaints with weight loss meal plans for women is that there’s not enough time to cook elaborate meals on a daily basis. Let’s be honest, it’s much easier to go in your car, and go out to a restaurant or a fast food joint.
We all know just how much our love handles are attracted to these types of foods.
You need to eat healthy meals with caloric restrictions or macronutrient restrictions. It’s a fine balance, and it’s all mathematical and scientific, but this is where many people fail to maintain their diet.
You need one of two things from your diet:
- A list of meals you’re expected to eat.
- Ready-made meals delivered to you.
The second option is very expensive, but has helped millions of people transform their bodies and life. I highly recommend that any diet plan you choose include at least a list of recipes that you will follow throughout the duration of your diet.
It’s not simply enough to say eat a lot of protein and cut out carbs for the majority of people.
You need a blueprint to follow, and this blueprint starts with the foods that you eat. If the only foods listed are outside of your taste preference, you need to learn how to like these foods and eat them no matter your preference.
Your taste buds will eventually evolve and become accustomed to these foods, and you want a plan that offers a variety of different foods. No one wants to eat chicken and broccoli six times per day because it takes a lot of motivation to stick to this type of diet. These are the types of meals that bodybuilders once believed were the best options. But to reach the high caloric amounts needed to attain this body type, it’s simply too much chicken, and not enough variety.
5. Find a Plan That Has Step-By-Step Recommendations
Step-by-step recommendations and guidelines should be available. Far too many diet plans and weight loss plans leave a lot of the logistics up to the reader. It’s very easy to say that eating too many carbs will cause you to gain weight, but it really doesn’t answer the question of what you have to do to reach your goals.
You want to follow a plan that has step-by-step instructions.
A weight-loss plan should include:
- Detailed information on what foods you should eat.
- Compelling evidence to back the diet plan’s methods.
- Rules and restrictions you need to follow on your diet.
- Step-by-step instructions that guide you from losing weight to maintaining your weight loss.
If a program does include exercise information, you want to make sure that it’s laid out for you.
It’s far too easy to become overwhelmed with information and have more questions than answers on how to lose weight in the coming new year.
The only way to combat this information overload is to follow a plan that’s not only proven (with great testimonials and reviews), but also a plan that includes step-by-step instructions to guide you through your weight loss journey.
The Path To Eating Wisely
One of the keys to creating a successful weight loss plan for anyone is to make sure that the plan will work in the long term and not be shortsighted.
There are literally thousands of fad diets that are effective while you are on the diet, but as soon as you stop and attempt to go back to a normal eating routine you add the pounds on and most likely add a few more too.
There are diet routines that do not even directly deal with calories, like hypnosis for weight loss, but before we get into that we want to help you establish a healthy weight loss program.
Knowing that your eating routine is doable and something you can maintain for the rest of your life is the most important aspect of which weight loss plan you choose.
Let’s approach this from another angle…
Imagine if your new diet requires you to eat 3 packaged meals per, say Lean Cuisine or SmartFoods. At first, you may be pleasantly surprised at the variety and tastes available but is this type of frozen food something you want to be eating a year from now?
More than likely, you will not want to adhere to a plan like this that does not involve healthy foods and meals that you can prepare for yourself.
This prepackaged meal programs like Weight Watchers & Jennie Craig are good for getting you started on a path to a healthy weight, but we see way too many people that struggle to maintain their weight once they leave the program.
It is important to be honest to yourself at the start, there is no shame in admitting that certain foods or programs are not going to work for you.
In fact, it is better to see this before you get started on the wrong plan so that you can make realistic choices upfront and not get discouraged.
First & Foremost – Go See Your Doctor
Now before you get started on any specific weight loss plans, we want to make it clear that you should consult your doctor before beginning any weight or fitness program.
Our site is for advice only and should not, I repeat should not be taken as medical advice.
It is also wise to let them know you are starting a new program so that they can get some baseline tests completed prior to starting.
That way, you’ll not only see yourself improving in the mirror but hopefully the changes will show up in your labs too.
3 Tips Before You Begin
- Keep A Journal – This is crucial when you first start out. It is not easy to keep track of your caloric intake and this is often underestimated by all first time dieters. Use your smartphone or a notepad and keep track of the food, calories, time of day, etc…
- Set Realistic Goals – The main goal should be to improve your overall health. This cannot be done overnight, at least not safely. Remember that if your program includes weight training, you may actually see an increase in your overall weight before you notice the results in the mirror. This is completely normal as muscle weighs more than fat. Don’t get discouraged if you find yourself in this situation. Take pride in knowing that this muscle you are building today, will be burning calories for you 24/7 in the future.
- Give Yourself A Free Pass – In order to stick with your new eating routine, you need to make some comprises. I like to call this a ‘cheat day’ or maybe a ‘cheat meal’ that you have once per week. As an Irish American, I cannot completely cut out Guiness or Newcastle on Sundays. Football (soccer) games are popular in my house. So as opposed to avoiding my family on Sundays, I limit myself to one drink only. Other weeks, I may skip the soccer match and go out for a nice dinner and grab a desert without guilting myself into feeling sick.
Keep that in mind as you prepare yourself for implementing healthy changes for the rest of your life. Pick up healthy eating habits and exercise routines as you go along to create the most effective weight loss program for you.
You might be surprised once you start reading and learning more about what you put into your body. You can also help eliminate brain fog and increase your focus with the right foods. We have had several readers report that they dropped meat altogether and did great with vegan diet weight loss programs. Remember, that each plan will need to evolve, be tailed to your individual needs to become the ideal program for you.