10 Rules for Losing Weight — No Matter What Diet You Choose

A few small changes can lead to much greater success.

Trying to melt the extra pounds away with strict calorie counting and excessive exercise is counterproductive since it is not sustainable in the long run. Whether you are struggling with the last few pounds or have a lot to lose, sticking to the 10 smart rules below can help you reach and maintain your goal weight without giving up your favorite foods.

Anyone who has ever tried to follow a serious diet can tell you that losing weight is one of the hardest things you can do in your day-to-day life. The reason why so many people fail at weight loss is because they choose traditional diets that favor temporary food deprivation over gradual lifestyle changes. By incorporating these rules into the diet plan you choose, you turn any plan into a healthy approach for weight loss:

  1. Be realistic. Setting goals you cannot reach will only discourage you and set you up to fail from the beginning.
  2. Go slow. To give your body and mind a chance to get used to your new lifestyle, make one or two positive changes a week until you eliminate your bad eating habits for good.
  3. Forget about fad diets. Starving not only makes it tougher to lose weight by slowing down your metabolism, but it also creates an on-and-off cycle of losing and gaining the same number of pounds. To lose weight and keep it off, you need to stop doing temporary dieting and start looking for solutions that you can live with for the rest of your life.
  4. Fill up on protein. Because it keeps blood sugar levels low, eating protein can help you control cravings and stay full longer. Nuts, poultry, seafood, legumes and eggs are all excellent sources of healthy protein.
  5. Indulge in moderation. The idea that you need to give up your favorite foods if you want to lose weight is a myth. Occasionally snacking on high-calorie treats is perfectly fine as long as you stick to standard servings.
  6. Eat complex carbohydrates. Replacing simple carbohydrates with healthy whole grains and oats is a great way to keep your energy levels up without compromising your diet.
  7. 10 Rules for Weight LossFind a workout you can love. You do not need to spend hours at the gym to see great results from exercise. From walking around the block to pedaling on a stationary bike, any exercise is good exercise if you can do it on a regular basis.
  8. Keep hunger away all day with a healthy breakfast. Eating a balanced meal in the morning is the key to speeding up your metabolism and maintaining stable blood sugar levels throughout the day.
  9. Lower your sugar and sodium intake. Since most processed foods are high in sugar and salt, one of the easiest ways to cut back on both is to replace them with natural alternatives. For example, satisfy your sugar cravings with a few servings of fruit a day instead of reaching for a single candy bar.
  10. Learn to love good fats. Despite their popularity, low-fat foods are not always good for your body or your waistline. Not only are good fats essential to your health, but many low-fat products are loaded with extra sodium and artificial flavoring agents. To get the nutrients you need to stay healthy and satisfied, look for natural foods that are high in unsaturated fats and omega-3s.

Whether you go on a Mediterranean, low carb or low-fat diet plan, these rules will help you succeed. You could even take them as they are and turn them into your diet plan.