Our modern lifestyles make it all too easy to fall into habits that are harmful to our health. Whether we succumb to the convenience offered by fatty fast foods, or allow days in the office and nights in front of the TV to render us inactive, it doesn't take too much for a big deficit to build up between the calories we ingest and the calories we burn.
Unfortunately, if you do start to gain a substantial amount of weight it can trigger something of a vicious cycle. Exercise can seem more daunting and you may well lack the confidence to believe you can make any real changes, especially as so many popular weight loss programmes put such extreme demands of their followers.
In truth, you will probably see much better results coming from the cumulative effects of lots of little positive changes adhered to over time. The famous maxim ‘desperate times call for desperate measures' isn't a particularly useful mindset when it comes to weight loss. More often than not, even if you do manage to rapidly lose a substantial amount of weight as the result of a fad diet, it'll only be a matter of time before the regime proves unsustainable.
At this point, you'll still be no closer than you were before to knowing how to consistently go about your day to day routine in a way that won't leave you out of shape. (Indeed, the muscle loss that results from slimming down too quickly can actually leave you with a slower metabolism, which will further compound the impact of falling back in bad habits.)
Rather than yo-yoing between low and high calorie diets, you're better off using less drastic methods to bring the food you eat into line with your actual needs. Of course, to assure that this will work in practice you need to think about more than just food. After all, often what we end up eating (and drinking) is determined by factors such as the social situation we find ourselves in or our emotional state. By thinking about the scenarios where you are likely to over indulge and planning ahead you can avoid being ambushed by a sudden need to binge.
(It's also important to acknowledge that, if you do drink on social occasions, this will account for a fair few calories. Not only that, but in addition to drinks themselves, you'll be more likely to find the temptation of take out food far harder to resist.)
By thinking more carefully about how you eat when preparing food for yourself as well as when you're out and about, you can easily cut undesirable elements from your diet by substituting them for healthier alternatives which is a key element in many diet cooking plans. Things as simple as switching to wholemeal bread instead of white and snacking on fruit instead of chocolate can make a big difference if you manage to make them changes permanent.
It's important to remember that weight loss isn't all about food. If you aren't getting any exercise, you'll struggle to loose weight however well you eat. Again, this doesn't mean you necessarily need to start hitting the gym five times a week or set yourself a series of outlandish fitting goals. Simply investing in a pedometer and using it to gradually increase the amount of physical movement you get through in a day can go a long way to getting you on the right track.
If you can start to consistently get above a minimum amount of 10,000 steps a day, you'll be on your way to increasing your capacity for aerobic exercise, meaning things will get easier as you go. No matter how hectic your daily routine, there will be plenty of opportunities for to get in an extra few paces, weather you simply take a stroll on your lunch break or make a policy of shunning escalators in favour of taking the stairs.