Lose weight healthily: five tips

Many people fail when trying to lose weight over the long term. These tips can help you reach and maintain your desired weight

Too many pounds on the scales? If you want to lose weight permanently, it is better to plan for the long term

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Many people find it difficult to lose weight. Often the weight loss doesn't work out at all. Or the success only lasts for a short time. The following points can help you to become slim in the long run:

1. Get sound help

Finding your way in the jungle of many diet promises is not easy. "There are also a lot of dubious offers on the Internet," warns Professor Hans Hauner, Director of the Else Kröner-Fresenius Center for Nutritional Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. Anyone who is not well versed in nutritional issues should first look for reliable information - especially if they also have an illness such as diabetes or are significantly overweight. "The first point of contact can be your family doctor, for example," says Professor Hauner, "he can recommend sound nutritional advice if necessary". If the doctor certifies the need, health insurance companies often reimburse part of the costs. Inquiries can be worthwhile. Health insurance companies sometimes also offer their own weight loss programs. In some large cities there are also specialized institutes and consultation hours, for example at university hospitals. Trustworthy information is also provided by consumer advice centers or the German Nutrition Society, for example.

2. Plan realistically

Lose a lot of weight quickly - that rarely works. Often times the expectations of a diet are too high. If the hoped-for success does not materialize, it only leads to frustration and the motivation dwindles. Strict diets also promote the yo-yo effect: the body reacts with a kind of emergency program, shuts down the metabolism, and gets by with fewer calories. It is easier to gain weight after the diet. "Better to proceed in small steps," recommends nutrition expert Hauner. "The rule of thumb is: realistic is a maximum of one pound less per week". The first goal could be, for example: I want to lose five percent of my current body weight. "Achieving that is a great deal". If necessary, the next step can then follow.

3. See sport as a supplement

Regular exercise is healthy, counteracts muscle breakdown and helps you lose weight. "Sport is always useful as a supplement," says Professor Hauner, "but the effect on weight loss is often overestimated". If you want to lose a kilo of weight, you have to save about 7,000 kilocalories. To burn this amount, the average person jogs for around 10 to 12 hours, depending on their body weight and intensity. Exercise helps you lose weight in a healthy way. Most of the time, exercise alone is not enough to lose weight. Proper nutrition is also important. If you are new to sport and are over 35 years old or have chronic illnesses, you should get the green light from your doctor to be on the safe side. Otherwise, as much exercise as possible is recommended in everyday life.

Prof. Dr. Hans Hauner, Director of the Else Kröner-Fresenius Center for Nutritional Medicine at the Technical University of Munich

© W & B / Ulrike Frömel

4. Choose the right path

The perfect diet for everyone - does not exist. Preferences and living conditions are different. Which concept is the best to use for weight loss is ultimately always a question of type. If you have little time, you will probably find it difficult to cope with elaborate diet plans. Anyone who loves sweets will not obey the ban on snacking for long. In the end, it's the calorie balance that counts. "The concept should fit your own life," says Professor Hauner, "after all, you have to hold out for a long time". If you have chronic illnesses or have to take medication regularly, it is best to consult your doctor beforehand.

5. Rethink lifestyle habits

A diet can work, but the pounds often come back quickly. "The real goal must always be to eat well over the long term," explains nutrition expert Hauner. "An initial success through a diet can certainly motivate. It should, however, only be viewed as an introduction to a generally healthier way of life". If you want to lose weight permanently, you have to take a close look at your habits: How much time do I have to cook? Am I consciously enjoying my food? How balanced do I eat? Why do I eat - out of hunger, out of frustration, out of boredom? This can also help to keep the comfortable weight stable in the long term: move as much as possible in everyday life, sleep enough, reduce stress.