The importance of maintaining a healthy weight has become unquestionable. Whether the motivation to lose weight is the result of certain health concerns or the decision came purely as a personal preference as a way to boost your self-confidence, the idea of dieting might seem rather unpleasant and even ineffective. The truth is that leading a healthy lifestyle is the only long term strategy to lose weight and also to maintain a satisfactory weight. The good news is that you can shed a few pounds without dieting and without other side effects by following a few simple principles.

As obesity starts reaching skyrocketing rates and the number of deaths from highly preventable diseases starts increasing as a result, many people start to become more conscious about the correlation between excessive weight and several conditions. Those who want to get rid of excess weight are often tempted to try the latest diet that promises quick results. However, turning to crash diets always seems to backfire and many people find that after an initial period weight loss they come back to the same weight that they previously had or worse they gain a few extra pounds as well.

These results are not surprising considering the fact that these diets are usually very restrictive and they don’t encourage long term behavioral changes that can help the average individual stay fit and healthy. After all, it is unrealistic to think that by changing your behavior for a really short period of time can deliver long-lasting results. The key to losing weight healthily and keeping it off is making small changes over a long period of time. Here are a few things you can do:

1. Eat at home

Eating at home can help you control your weight for several reasons. First of all, by cooking at home you have total control of what you eat and you can avoid having huge portions of food. Secondly, even if you are in the mood for junk food if you cook unhealthy foods at home your will be less likely to overeat after you notice how much work it takes to prepare it.
Thirdly, you avoid dangerous chemicals from process foods and you can experiment with new flavors while having fun in the process.

2.Trim portions

One painless way to lose weight without starving yourself is by gradually trimming portions. Try serving your dinner in 10-inch plates instead of 12-inch plates. You will automatically eat less without even noticing. Also, you can try eating from blue plates. Scientists have discovered that those who eat from dark blue colored plates tend to eat less. An explanation might be that blue has a calming effect on the nervous system making people eat slower and reach satiety faster as a result. Make a conscious effort to slow down when eating and chew the food several times before swallowing it to be able to determine when you reached satiety.

3. Try more vegetarian dishes

Most of us find it hard to meet our daily requirements of fruits and vegetables. One reason is that we often include in our meals calorie-laden meat-based dishes that help us reach satiety quicker. Studies show that on average vegetarians weight up to 20 % less than meat-eaters.

Compared to a regular diet the vegetarian diet has lower amounts of saturated fat, which is one of the reasons why vegetarians are able to maintain a healthier weight easier. If you learn to enjoy meat like a side dish instead of viewing it as the main course, you will be able to increase the number of daily servings for vegetables and lose weight without making huge compromises. Moreover, according to the initiators of ”Meatless Mondays,” you will be able to reduce your carbon emissions significantly.

4. Get enough sleep

A major cause of weight gain is emotional eating. Fatigue is one of the main reasons why most of us reach for food as a comfort measure or to reward ourselves. Fatigue can drain our internal resources making us more prone to developing cravings and making poor dietary choices. Lack of sleep also encourages the production of the hormone cortisol, the stress hormone, another major cause of poor dietary choices.

5.Monitor liquid calories

Calorie counting benefits are fairly obvious to all those who ever tried keeping a diet before. While counting calories might not become a lifelong habit it ‘s important to make sure that we analyze the calories contained in several beverages from soft drinks to alcoholic beverages as these can seriously sabotage our efforts if we don’t pay attention. Limit your alcoholic beverages intake to less than once a day and if possible, quit drinking soda. By cutting on soft drinks has the added benefit that your sugar cravings will lose their intensity.