With two thirds of the U.S. population overweight it’s a safe bet that many people will attempt a weight loss diet at some point. But dieting is not simply going without food and, in fact, the starvation method or meal skipping is not only unhealthy but is not effective over the long term.
The Protein Factor
Foods that are high in protein send signals to your brain that keep you from feeling hungry for hours. These signals are stronger than those you get from either carbohydrates or fats. The reason is that as protein foods are processed in your digestive tract they are broken down into individual building blocks of protein known as “amino acids”. Some of these amino acids travel to the brain where they control the signals that tell us how hungry or full we are.
If you skip breakfast or have cereals that consist of refined grains you’re not going to get enough protein so by mid-morning you feel starved and indulge in a high calorie, low protein snack to hold you over until lunch time.
So the key here is that no matter what diet plan you undertake, make sure you start the day with plenty of protein.
Drink Plenty of Water
One of the most important factors in successful weight loss is drinking plenty of water. This means you should drink four 8-ounce glasses of water per day. People often feel fatigued in the afternoon and this is frequently due to dehydration. This will improve as you increase your water intake. Of course, if your are exercising or the weather is hot you’ll have to drink more to replace what you lose through sweating. But don’t go overboard. Consuming eight 8-ounce glasses a day may cause you to become water-logged and you’ll notice swelling in your hands and feet.
Some diets actually recommend this as trick keep your stomach filled so you won’t feel hungry. This is definitely not recommended as it can lead to problems.
Drinking tea in the afternoon, especially green tea, can be a great energy booster. Studies have shown that you can increase your metabolism by about 80 calories a day when you drink four to six teacups of green tea a day or you take a supplement containing green tea. This is an easy way to help your weight loss.
Tea and coffee don’t count towards your water consumption total because the caffeine causes your kidneys to increase urine flow and excrete more water than they contain. This may not be the case if you drink decaffeinated coffee or tea.
Getting Your Vitamins and Minerals
Meal replacement powders and other diet materials do contain some vitamins and minerals but at a fraction of the Recommended Dietary Allowance or RDA. Colorful fruits and vegetables also provide many vitamins and minerals but you should always take a multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement whenever you’re following a weight loss plan.
Taking a supplement is recommended even if you’re not dieting as this will insure you get adequate folic acid which is better absorbed from supplements than from food.
Women and men under the age of 50 should consume 1000 milligrams of calcium daily from their diet and supplements. Women over age 50 need to consume 1500 mg of calcium per day. If you take a calcium supplement make sure it includes vitamin D or take a vitamin D supplement.
There are many diets that have been proven for weight loss but taking a few precautions as recommended here will not only ensure that your diet plan will be effective but you can lose weight and stay healthy at the same time.
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