Natural Weight Loss
When it comes to natural weight loss options, there are so many different programs it can be overwhelming. Your neighbor is trying weight loss shakes, your coworker is doing a cleanse, and your mom is drinking green tea like it’s going out of style. You want to lose weight, but how do you find a plan that works for you? It seems like there are endless options, but weight loss really just depends on a simple concept.
Calories In vs Calories Out
Natural weight loss can be boiled down to a basic principle: if your body uses more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. Likewise, if you consume more calories than your body uses, you’ll gain weight. It’s simple enough in theory, but much harder to put into practice.
For one thing, most people have no idea how many calories their body needs in an average day. Your body requires a certain amount of energy just to perform basic functions, like breathing or digestion. This energy is measured in calories and comes from the food you eat.
The more physically active you are, the more energy your body needs. That’s why you hear stories about Olympic athletes eating huge amounts of food. They do so much physical activity that they have to eat a lot or their bodies wouldn’t perform the way they want.
A lightly active 38 year old woman who is 5’5” and weighs 140 pounds needs to eat about 1,913 calories per day. If the same woman was moderately active, this number would increase to 2,156 calories. If she were sedentary, the number decreases to 1,669 calories.
To figure out the approximate number of calories you should be eating, you can use a tool called the Harris-Benedict equation. You’ll first figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and then using your estimated activity level, you’ll be able to determine approximately how many calories you need each day.
1900 calories sounds like a lot. However, people often vastly underestimate the amount of calories they consume on a regular basis. Not only are foods often packed with excess calories from sugar and fat, but portion size has increased greatly over the past several decades.
The reality is that when faced with more food in larger portions at more frequent intervals, the majority of people will eat more.
We look to diets to fix the problem, but don’t always find the help we need. We try natural weight loss remedies like cleanses, teas, and essential oils. We read books and articles about the best weight loss supplements.
There’s so much information at our fingertips, but we don’t know what actually works. What we do know is that there are some common barriers that prevent people from achieving the weight loss results they crave.
3 Common Barriers to Natural Weight Loss
First of all, what do we mean by natural weight loss? Basically, it’s any plan that doesn’t involve going to extreme measures in order to lose weight. Focusing on eating and exercise in some combination is the most common tactic used for natural weight loss. Herbal supplements and pills can be used in addition to different diet options.
So why do some people find success with natural weight loss plans and some don’t? Let’s look at a few typical reasons why you might struggle.
People are looking for natural weight loss that works fast
Often people are looking for a quick way to shed excess pounds. Maybe there’s a special occasion or a vacation coming up where you want to look and feel your best. Possibly it’s just seeing fast results is encouraging and keeps us motivated.
Regardless of the reason, people often turn to natural weight loss plans or unhealthy weight loss burners that promise quick results, and these diets tend to be very restrictive. While an overly stringent diet may yield success initially, ultimately these types of plans are unsustainable long term for most people.
In actuality, a highly restrictive diet can backfire. A sharp reduction in calories over a long period can send your body signals of starvation. Instead of losing weight, your body holds onto fat as its energy source.
Too much focus on exercise instead of food intake
There is no disagreeing that exercise is important for our overall health. Numerous studies show that we reap a slew of benefits from even moderate levels of activity. Regular exercise reduces the risk for chronic disease, helps to prevent cardiovascular problems, and improves our psychological well-being.
However, it’s unlikely that exercise alone will result in significant weight loss. You have to also reduce your caloric intake to see results. While we can control 100% of what we eat, most of us don’t have the time or energy to offset our caloric intake through exercise.
Take this example: you attend a one-hour spin class. At the end of class, the bike tells you that you burned 600 calories. You’ve used a lot of energy so on the way home, you have a banana and a protein smoothie. That’s about 470 calories right there. But after such a good workout, you also feel you’ve earned a margarita when you go out. Conservatively, that’s another 175 calories and you’ve now consumed 645 calories without factoring in any of the other food you’ve eaten during the day.
While there’s no doubt that regular exercise is a key ingredient in a healthy lifestyle, we have to pay attention to what’s on our plates if we want to see significant weight loss. Natural weight loss without dieting isn’t likely to be successful.
Return to old habits after weight loss
Another common barrier to natural weight loss programs is when you revert back to old behaviors after your goals are met. When we work hard to achieve a goal, it’s natural to expect some sort of reward. Too often though, our reward for losing excess weight is to loosen the reins when it comes to what we eat.
Similarly to the example above, in which the individual has “earned” a margarita after an intense workout, a common response after losing weight is to eat something that was previously “off-limits.” One treat becomes two and so on, until all your hard work has been undone by even a short period of indulging.
Once you recognize that these barriers exist, how do you find a successful route to natural weight loss that works?
5 Ways to Succeed with Natural Weight Loss
1 | Choose a weight loss program that works for you.
With so many different diets trending today, it’s difficult to know which will work best for you. Each program claims to offer the best results or the easiest approach, but if they all make the same claims, it doesn’t make it any easier to choose one.
There’s low carb, high protein, paleo, keto, raw foods, vegan, high fat, and low sugar, not to mention Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Medifast. Each program has supporters singing their praises and promising that this option is the best choice.
It turns out that studies show that most popular weight loss plans stack up pretty evenly in terms of results. This means that while one plan works best for your neighbor, another could be equally effective for you.
In a study of 7300 individuals on different weight loss programs, Toronto researchers determined that, “…there is no need for a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting because many different diets appear to offer considerable weight loss benefits… findings suggest that patients may choose, among those associated with the largest weight loss, the diet that gives them the least challenges with adherence.”
Basically, choosing the right diet plan means finding the option that you’re most likely to stick to based on personal preference. In other words, following a natural weight loss system that rules out all carbs will be far more challenging for someone who currently eats a very carb-heavy diet than for someone who only occasionally eats starches.
2 | Plan and prepare ahead of time.
Once you’ve determined a natural weight loss solution that will work for you, it’s wise to do some leg work before launching into your new diet. Even the best intentions can be foiled by a lack of preparation. You don’t have to map out every meal for the next month, but you increase your chance of success with a few simple steps.
- Stock your kitchen with foods that fit your plan.
There’s nothing that will undermine your goals faster than an empty fridge. If you don’t have approved options available when you’re hungry, you’re much more likely to reach for unhealthy foods. By filing your fridge and pantry with healthy foods, you can avoid making a poor choice simply because there’s not a better option available.
- Get rid of “off-limits” foods if possible.
Having healthy options in your kitchen is a great start, but it’s a lot easier to resist the other stuff if it’s not staring you in the face every time you open the pantry. If you’re the only person in your family avoiding certain foods, this is more difficult. Perhaps you can designate those foods to a specific cabinet so you’re less likely to see them.
- Plan your meals in advance.
Instead of arriving at dinner time hungry, without a plan, take time to map out some meal options. If you know what you’re cooking, not only will you have the ingredients on hand, there will be less room for poor choices.
3 | Incorporate exercise into your routine.
As we discussed earlier, exercise alone is generally proven to be ineffective for substantial results. But weight loss without exercise is also not the best option.
Physical inactivity is related to all sorts of chronic health problems. While your short term focus may be on reducing weight, your long term goal should be overall health and wellness. By adding even light to moderate exercise to your routine, you’re taking steps in the direction of a healthier lifestyle.
Also, while exercise alone doesn’t result in significant weight reduction, it can be used as a helper in your natural weight loss journey. Studies show that exercise is effective in maintaining weight loss. Once you’ve done the hard work of losing excess weight, regular physical activity can help to prevent you from gaining the weight back.
4 | Natural weight loss supplements can be useful tools.
Ultimately, decreasing your caloric intake is proven to be the most effective way to lose weight. There’s no question that it takes hard work and commitment to really see results. While there’s no magic pill, natural weight loss supplements can help you in your efforts.
You’ll want to look for a weight loss pill without side effects because no one wants to feel jittery and uncomfortable when they’re already dealing with the effect of reducing calories. A natural appetite suppressant like Lovidia is a great option because it helps reduce hunger when you’re eating less than normal. It doesn’t contain caffeine and uses only natural ingredients so you don’t get the unpleasant effects associated with many weight loss supplements.
5 | Focus on changing your lifestyle instead of just losing weight.
Experts agree that one of the key factors in long term weight reduction is to focus on a healthy lifestyle rather than just weight loss. Losing weight implies an immediate fix, while a healthy lifestyle suggests improved wellness overall.
Here are six ways to accentuate natural weight loss with positive lifestyle changes.
- Eat whole foods and those with limited ingredients.
Whole foods are those foods that occur in nature. They carry essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs. These types of foods tend to be naturally filling and can help you to stick to a reduced-calorie diet. Foods with fewer ingredients are typically closer to their natural composition and contain less additives.
- Avoid processed foods.
Commercially-processed foods are often high in sugar and fat, making them taste great, but also heavy in the calorie department. Although they can make meal prep easier by cutting down on the ingredients and time needed, they add a substantial number of calories to your diet, making them less-than-ideal for natural weight loss.
- Drink water.
Water is necessary for our bodies to function properly. While we can get water through other beverages, it often comes at a high-calorie price. Drinking plain water is a great way to cut out the empty calories and sugar associated with soda and juice. Drinking water before meals helps you to feel full, thereby reducing the amount you eat.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that our bodies need to function well. Along with providing essential vitamins and minerals, produce is typically water-heavy, meaning it fills you up naturally with a lower calorie count. Translation: you can eat more without the calories stacking up.
- Reduce sugar intake.
Consuming excess sugar is tied to several chronic health problems, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Many people eat a lot of added sugar without realizing because it’s hidden under many different names and in so many food products. Making a conscious effort to avoid too much added sugar can make a big impact on your weight loss goals.
- Get enough sleep.
Studies show that lack of sleep actually has a negative impact on our waistlines. People who get an inadequate amount of sleep show heightened appetite and are more likely to become overweight
The Bottom Line
While natural weight loss can be challenging, there are ways to make success more likely. By focusing on your overall health instead of quick results, you’ll increase your chances of keeping the weight off.
Avoiding common pitfalls will help boost your chances of sticking to your weight loss program. Remember that the specific diet you choose is less important than selecting an option that will most easily fit with your lifestyle. You’ll have to make changes to your habits if you want to see results, but less drastic changes will make it easier to get started.
As your habits change, you’ll find that it’s less challenging to stick to your weight loss plan. Once you achieve your goals, be mindful of all the hard work you’ve done. Don’t revert back to old habits and undo your progress. Natural weight loss is possible for everyone.