When it comes to losing fat and maintaining a healthy weight, dieting alone just won't cut it. There's no secret trick. Some people will lose weight with a fad diet, but then what happens after the diet is over? They gain it all back.
The key to reaching a healthy weight and keeping it off isn't about short-term dietary changes - it's about a healthy overall lifestyle, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If redesigning your lifestyle seems overwhelming, don't worry - getting started is much easier than you think. Change starts with baby steps; follow these five easy steps and soon your habits will lose the weight for you.
1. Drink more water
Drinking enough water is critical to weight loss success and should be done continuously throughout the day, according to dietitian Leah Kaufman, R.D.
Water has several weight loss advantages, including an increasing your metabolism rate, making you feel fuller and boosting your energy levels.
If you're wondering how much water you should drink, health authorities commonly recommendthe 8x8 rule: eight 8-ounce glasses of water or about two liters per day. You can make remembering to hydrate simple by using water bottles that measure fluid ounces, or downloading an app that reminds you to drink up.
2. Eat less processed foods
Want to lose weight? Start by eating real food. 74 percent of processed foods contain added sugars. What's more, most processed foods have a long list of health offenses, including artificial ingredients, refined carbohydrates, little to no nutrients, bad fats and little fiber.
Avoiding processed foods is simple. One way is to shop mostly on the outside edges of the grocery store rather than the aisles. That way you're purchasing dairy, proteins and produce, rather than crackers, chips and cookies. You can also check a product's ingredient list - if it has a long list of ingredients and/or names you can't pronounce, don't buy it. The very best foods have one ingredient, like apples, chicken, broccoli, eggs and so on.
3. Cut the sugary drinks
Next time you're out to eat and the server asks you what beverage you want, "Just water, please" is the right answer. Soda and other sugar-filled drinks aren't helping you lose weight.
Don't be fooled by diet soda and other zero calorie artificial sweeteners either. Researchers from the University of Texas found that over a 10-year period, diet soda drinkers had a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference when compared with non soda-drinkers. They also found that people who drank two or more sodas a day had a 500 percent increase.
Even fruit juices are not the best health choice because they contain all the sugar found in fruit but little to none of the fruit's fiber. To be extra healthy, choose an orange over orange juice and always drink water over soda.
4. Smile while you sweat
Exercise can be a major obstacle between people and their weight loss goals. Many people find exercise too hard, too boring or both.
But there's a simple answer for those who need an extra push toward working out - find an active activity you enjoy. If you hate running on a treadmill, don't do it. Instead, go for a hike, join a city sports team, go for a bike ride, play backyard games with your kids or even play a video game that gets you on your feet.
Exercise shouldn't be a chore you dread. Instead, make it a fun activity you look forward to.
5. Eat your veggies
Remember when your mom told you that to grow strong and healthy you needed to eat your veggies? She was right. Scientists have found vegetables and fruits to be directly linked to weight-loss, yet fewer than one in five Americans are eating the recommended servings of the two vital food groups.
A good trick to make sure you include enough of these two food groups in your diet is to first fill half your plate with fruits and veggies before adding other foods.
Maintaining a healthy weight is all about a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet, lots of water and (fun) exercise - not tediously counting every little calorie.