At one point in your life, you've probably needed to lose weight quick. Maybe you were getting married, going to your high school reunion or simply planning a spring break cruise. Either way, you probably didn't have a lot of time so you may have turned to unhealthy measures such as exercising for hours a day or going on a very low calorie diet. When the special event was over, you went back to your normal ways and probably ended up gaining more weight than you started off with. What if there was a way in which you didn't have to go through all that each time a special occasion came up. That way is called a healthy lifestyle and it's a lot more permanent than most diets.
Weight Loss Explained
Losing weight is simple to do. All you need is a calorie deficit, that is, burning more calories than you eat. When you consume less calories than your body needs (calorie calculator), it'll start using stored body fat for energy and you'll lose weight.
Think of your body as a bank account. When you make more money than you spend, you deposit the extra income into your savings. When you spend more than you make, you withdraw money from your savings. Body fat is like a savings account for excess energy.
Weight loss is a function of how big your calorie deficit is. The less you eat and the more you exercise, the faster you'll lose weight. Eating healthy can help you lose weight but it's not a requirement. You can lose weight by eating junk just as you can gain weight eating healthy. Weight balance is all about calories.
Healthy Food vs. Counting Calories
There are two approaches you can take to losing weight. You can start a diet, count calories, measure your food and drive yourself crazy, or you can simply eat healthier. Choosing the first option can lead to strict diets which will work in the short term but are unsustainable for a long period of time. The result is that you'll end up losing weight but will eventually get fed up with your restrictions and go back to your pre-diet eating habits.
If you take the second approach of eating healthier foods, your calorie count will naturally come down and you will lose weight. Foods such as vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, nuts and seafood are lower in calories than junk such as fast food, candy and soda.
Exercise Routine vs. Hours Burning Calories
The same mentality works for your exercise routine. If you start a routine simply to lose weight, you'll be setting yourself up for failure. Too often people exercise too much in hopes of burning more calories. This will eventually cause you to burn out and you'll quit your routine.
Small Changes Towards a Healthier Lifestyle
The best approach to take is making improvements to your lifestyle over a long period of time rather than overnight. When you make a lot of changes very quickly, its hard to adapt to them. Giving yourself more time by making less changes over a longer period of time will help you get used to your new healthy lifestyle. This slower paced change will also make it more likely that you'll stick to the healthier you rather than go back to your old ways when you reach a certain weight.
The Bottom Line
A healthy lifestyle has a lot more benefits than weight loss. A life high in physical activity and healthy foods can help you prevent diseases (heart disease, cancer), will keep you energetic and feeling great well into your retirement years.
Temporary fixes will simply get you from one yo-yo diet to the next. With each failed attempt to lose weight, you'll gain more and lose less moving further and further from your ultimate goal. Though a healthy lifestyle may produce results slower, the results will be real and long lasting.