10 steps for successful fat loss
Fad diets and failed attempts to lose weight leave dieters frustrated that they can’t drop the pounds. According to nutrition expert Nancy Clark, MS, RD, diets just don’t work. Instead, Clark says dieters need to eat more to lose weight. "The theory of ‘the less you eat, the more fat you will lose’ contains little practical truth," Clark says. "Generally, the less you eat, the more you blow your diet and overeat because of extreme hunger."
Clark addresses dieting without starvation in Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 4E. According to Clark, there are 10 steps for successful fat loss:
- Write it down. Keep accurate food records of every morsel and drop for three days, if not more. Research suggests that people who keep food records tend to be more successful in losing weight.
- Frontload calories. Experiment with having a bigger breakfast and lunch and a lighter dinner. Clark says that cutting calories at dinner instead of at breakfast provides more energy to get through the day.
- Eat slowly. The brain needs about 20 minutes to receive the signal that the stomach is full. No matter how much food is consumed during those 20 minutes, the satiety signal doesn’t move any faster. "Overweight people tend to eat faster than their normal-weight counterparts do," Clark says. "Slow eating can save many calories."
- Eat your favorite foods. Binge eating often occurs when favorite foods are denied. "If you give yourself permission to eat your denied foods in smaller portions, you will be less likely to blow your reducing plan," Clark says.
- Avoid temptation. When food is out of sight, it is less tempting to eat. "Out of sight, out of mind, and out of mouth," Clark states.
- Keep a list of nonfood activities. Make a list of strategies that have nothing to do with eating for times of boredom or loneliness. Clark suggests calling a friend, checking e-mail, taking a bath, or going on a walk instead of eating. "Food is designed to be fuel, not entertainment, and not a reward for having survived another stressful day," Clark explains.
- Make a realistic eating plan. It isn’t necessary to lose weight every day, but instead decide each day whether to lose, maintain, or even gain weight.
- Schedule appointments for exercise. Serious athletes who are trying to lose weight likely have a regular training program. But for fitness exercisers who have trouble following a consistent exercise program, it is helpful to schedule time to exercise.
- Make sleep a priority. Not getting enough sleep can result in eating more. "When you are tired, the signals to your brain to stop eating are very quiet, and the signals to eat more are very loud," Clark comments.
- Think fit and healthy. Positive self-talk is important for personal well-being. "Every morning before you get out of bed, visualize yourself being fitter and leaner," Clark says. "If you tell yourself that you are eating more healthfully and are losing weight, you will do so more easily."
With over 500,000 copies sold, Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook has become the all-time best-selling sports nutrition guide. An internationally known specialist in sports dietetics, Clark offers sound nutritional advice for active people.
For more information, see Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.