First we need to clarify for ourself why is so important to loose weight. Obviously without at least one really good reason we will not be able to keep up with the hard work. We need to know why to get up early to do our exercises, why to sweat on the rowing machine in our lunch break while everybody else is chatting in the canteen, why to swap our chips -what we love,- to steamed vegetables, why to avoid coke and candies... We need to be able to recall these reasons every time when we are down, these will keep us going ahead.
2. Healthy approach to food
We need to reveal the real reason behind comfort eating - or self-starvation. If we use food as reward or tool to punish ourselves there is no way to maintain a healthy weight. We need to look at food as fuel to our body otherwise we lose the control. Eating or starving do not resolves problems from any other part of our lives.
3. Know your body
Everybody is different. There are main rules of weight loss and healthy lifestyle but we need to know what works the best for us. Take your time, and if one thing does not work for you, do not give up, try something else. For instance I tried aerobic and rhythmic dance and I was rubbish. I was just looking into the mirrors in the gym ( mirrors all around of course) and I saw others doing the same movements in the same rhythm, but me... Then I realized all those sport activities works for me where is no choreography. When I am jogging I do not need to think what is the next step :-)
Sounds strange but if we want to lose weight we need to eat more times than 2-3 main meals. This does not means that we eat more calories, but eating less or starvation will not result in weight loss. When we starve our body switch to emergency mode and slows down the metabolism. This means that our body burn less calorie than before, so we lose weight really slowly - then when we go back to our old eating habits (nobody can starve forever), than we gain back not just the lost weight but even more. Having healthy food means that our food not just contain less calories but it supply the right kind and right amount nutrients to our body. Regularity in our daily eating routine is important, in practice we eat about the same times every day. This way we can keep our blood sugar sugar level balanced. No weakness, dizziness or headaches. It is also important to watch the fibre intake, as fibre helps the body natural detox process, which support the weight loss, and helps prevent illnesses of the digestive system (like cancer).
What and how much to drink? Of course water is the best: no additional calories, always available (we are lucky here in Europe) , alleviate thirst and hydrate the body quickly. All these put water on the top of our drink list. But herb teas, flavoured waters, sport drinks, squash, fruit juices, soups etc. also contribute to our daily fluid intake. Black tea, coffee, energy drinks contain caffeine which have a diuretic effect, so they dehydrate our body. Most of the magic weight loss pills contain caffeine for two reasons: one to compensate the low energy level, two to reduce body weight quickly by reducing fluid in the body. This is just an illusion though as we want to reduce fat in our body not fluid...
Alcohol needs to be limited in our diet again as it adds empty calories to our calorie intake, makes us more thirsty and hungry, not to mention other healthy problems caused by alcohol.
Long term weight loss means that you change your lifestyle really. Is sounds very dramatic, but if you think about it, if we go back to our old habits - which resulted in excess weight - then we will face the same problem again. Instead of letting us lead by our habits we need to look behind them, we need to educate ourself and always look for the better options. Great thing that so many information is available now in this subject, there are brilliant healthy lifestyle magazines, books, on-line informations, apps. So easy to find them.
7. Stress level
High stress level does not help weight loss, indeed it may make us ill. I would not recommend start an overall lifestyle change when we have other - stressful changes in our life. Stress raise the level of hormones which increase fat storage. So first step is to reduce stress. I know it is not so easy sometimes, there are situations when we just need to put our weight loss plan to hold - for good.
Without planning there is always room for excuses. Planning makes all our weight loss plans real. Schedule your exercises - even if it is only 15 minutes a day and stick to it. Same for the meal plans: we need to plan all meals of our day in advance: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, tea - whatever is our daily routine. We need to make sure this meal plan is balanced, contain the right nutrients in the right proportion and it supports our weight loss. A good plan is feasible, realistic, well thought out and worked out thoroughly. It must be flexible too, just in case. Once we have a good plan we just need to execute it - as it is, no changes allowed on the way.