Rules of Weight Loss That Lasts

Before you even begin to attack a weight-loss plan, it pays to remember this: You are not fat. You have fat. Losing weight isn’t about blame or shame; it’s simply another achievement to accomplish. As long as you act in a smart, reasonable way, you’ll ultimately get where you want to be. But there are certain rules to keep in mind

It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle: Thinking of a diet as something you’re on and suffering through only for the short term doesn’t work. To shed weight and keep it off, you need to make permanent changes to the way you eat. 

There’s a right way to exercise: Working out burns calories and fat and boosts your metabolism by building muscle. Cardio gets all the exercise glory, but strength and interval training are the real heroes. They help you build lean muscle, which in turn increases your metabolism and calorie-burning ability.

Don’t overreact to mild hunger: Some women have a hard time losing weight because of hunger anxiety. To them, being hungry is bad—something to be avoided at all costs—so they carry snacks with them and eat when they don’t need to. While you never want to get to the point of being ravenous (that’s when binging is likely to happen), a hunger pang, a craving, or the fact that it’s 3:00 p.m. should not send you racing for the vending machine or obsessing about the energy bar in your purse.

Not all calories are created equal: A calorie is not just a calorie; the kind of food you eat makes all the difference. Processed food that’s high in saturated fat and refined starch or sugar can cause inflammation that disrupts the hormone signals that tell your brain you’re full so you keep eating and eating.  Swap in whole, unprocessed foods, including vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats that will fill you up and give you the biggest nutritional bang for your calorie buck.

Juice fasts & Crash diets will backfire: When you lose weight on fast or a crash diet, you don’t learn to eat healthier, adjust your portion sizes, or deal with whatever is triggering your overeating in the first place, so the pounds quickly return. The worse the quality of a diet or the more restrictive it is, the more you end up burning precious muscle to supply energy. You’re losing muscle instead of fat, so the weight loss is just an illusion of success. 

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