If you want to lose weight, you want to get rid of those excess pounds as quickly as possible. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And how do you maintain your weight afterwards?
Am I at a healthy weight?
First figure out whether you are at a healthy weight and need to and want to slim down. You can do this by calculating your BMI, but be aware that your BMI is not the full picture. Your waist size is important as well. You may for example have a low BMI, but a lot of fat accumulation around the stomach. Fat accumulation around the stomach damages your health and increases the risk of ailments such as diabetes or cardiovascular disorders. The ideal waist size is below 80 cm for women and below 94 cm for men. Stand in front of the mirror in the morning, just after getting up, and put a tape measure at navel height. This allows for an easy reading of the result.
You slim down by taking in less energy than you use. It sounds like that makes sense, but how do you do this? Pay attention to what you eat and get sufficient exercise. Plant-based and unprocessed products are the basis of healthy nutrition. Try to eat the most pure things possible and drink enough water. Vary, search for healthier alternatives, and eat consciously and with moderation. You do not have to go to extremes in this, everyone cheats sometimes. That should be allowed, this keeps you going for longer. After a while you will notice that cooking healthy food becomes a habit and it turns out not to be that difficult. The same holds for sufficient exercise. By making small changes, such as taking the bicycle to the store, scheduling running days, or parking your car further away, you will get more active over time and it will take less effort to get out of your seat.
Everyone would like to get rid of excess weight today rather than tomorrow. Don’t step into the trap of a crash diet. If you follow a strict diet, you will often end up with a deficiency of certain nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Or you will break down muscles instead of fat. That is not the goal. Allow yourself time and set a realistic target, with achievable intermediate targets. Do not be too harsh on yourself for not meeting that target. You did not fail for not losing a lot of weight. You took the first step towards living more healthily and should be proud of that, you did go for it!
Even more tips
- Do not implement changes that do not suit you. Choose healthy nutrients that you consider tasty. If you oblige yourself to eating certain food you do not like at all, you will not persevere. Pick fresh healthy (seasonal) products which taste good and nourish you.
- Do not take up a diet. Everyone has their own way to lose weight, but some diets are often based on superseded principles and do not take your own needs into account. Think about the principle of energy balance (healthy food and sufficient exercise) and read food labels. You yourself can definitely determine what is healthy, less healthy, and not healthy at all.
- Make yourself aware of why you’re hungry. Did you know there are multiple types of hunger? You can for instance get ‘hungry’ when seeing, smelling, or thinking about food. You’re actually not hungry, but feel like eating. Be aware of when you are truly hungry. Still feel like eating? Pick a healthy snack.
- Ask your social circle for help. Get support from family and friends and do it together. Are you not managing on your own? Look for professional help from a dietician. That’s not weird at all. If you can’t fix your bike, you’re also going to a bike mechanic, right?
- Organize your surroundings in a motivating way. Your surroundings can support you making healthy choices. For example, already take out your running clothes in the evening if you would like to run the next day, or put healthy products within eyesight and put unhealthy cookies a bit further away in the pantry. Sit down in the living room to have a chat instead of in the kitchen, so you have fewer interactions with food.
- Plan ahead. When you are hungry it is more difficult to make the right choices and you would like to eat something as quickly as possible. So plan what you will eat that week beforehand and make a structured shopping list. You might already make some small preparations.
- Pick products which saturate you for a long period of time. Pick proteins combined with high-fiber carbs from vegetables.
- Be aware of your eating habits. Sometimes question yourself on why you want to eat something at that moment. Am I eating because I am hungry, bored, or emotional? Always think about replacing that unhealthy snack with something else.
- Do not resign to failure. You are a go-getter!
- Photograph yourself during the process, this can be motivational. It will have you look at your progress proudly. Or buy that nice blouse in a smaller size, that might be motivating.
But… the most important thing is you feel good in your own body. And you don’t always have to slim down for that!