According to statistics provided by the Market Data research-firm, in order to shed some pounds, Americans spend over $60 million each year on everything from diet soda to weight-loss programs. Popular prescribed diet plans, such as The Zone and Jenny Craig are often quite successful, at least in the short term. Cookie-cutter formulas are fine if you need to lose those extra pounds before your high school reunion, however, if you want long-term success, you need a diet that caters to your individual needs and a full body workout on a weekly basis.

Modify Your Diet as Soon as Possible

According to the World Health Organization, in 2008, the number of obese individuals on the planet reached 1.5 billion. Due to a lack of official statistics, we cannot be certain about the number of overweight people today, however, numerous preliminary studies have indicated that the number is steadily rising. People have busy lives, and most of us don’t have the time or the funds to join a hosted weight loss program, so why not create your own plan.

Before you start anything, you have to realize that you won’t achieve any weight loss goals in a short period of time. Also, don’t approach this as “choosing a diet”, but rather as “choosing a healthy lifestyle”, because you need to avoid temporary choices and pick something you can maintain. Furthermore, in order to lose and maintain your weight, you have to monitor yourself constantly. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has discovered that over 50% of people that were able to lose their weight engage in calorie counting.

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Embrace Weekly Workouts

Do you remember when was the last time you took out that expired gym membership card from your wallet? Don’t feel ashamed, most people have the same problem. As a matter of fact, according to stats provided by President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, less than 5% of adults in the United States participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. While you don’t have to exercise five hours a day, you still cannot ignore physical activity just because you choose a healthy diet.

Just like with your diet, you have to pick a routine that you can sustain. Perhaps consult your doctor and create a safe and comprehensive exercising plan. Losing weight is one thing, retaining it, however, is harder than you think. Most researchers agree that individuals who want to sustain their weight loss have to work much harder once they enter the “maintenance phase”.

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Avoid Crash Diets and Exercises at All Costs

Rebound dieting is a phenomenon in which the person gains back all of the weight he/she has lost once the diet is over. Traci Mann, associate professor of psychology at UCLA, who supervised the team that analyzed 31 diet studies, found that only 5% to 10% of people, who lose weight on a crash diet, keep the weight off after three years.

Losing weight by changing your habits and exercising regularly is actually much healthier than a quick diet. By shedding one to two pounds per week over a course of a few months (or even years), you will let your body adapt to the changes and increase the chances of the weight staying off. That’s why you should renew your old gym membership, get yourself some new gym outfits and start working out as soon as you can.

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Changing Your Habits

In 2011, the New England Journal of Medicine published a milestone study on dietary habits. The study revealed that people are most likely to gain small amounts of weight over the years, combining three main lifestyle habits: increased consumption of sugary beverages and potato chips, irregular sleeping patterns and decreased physical activity. Perhaps the most alarming fact is that most people could start seeing changes in body weight only within a months of adopting these behaviors.

We are all born with a certain amount of fat cells in our body, and the number increases until our mid-to-late 20s. After that, the number of cells may stay consistent until the end of our life. Yes, it is possible to get in shape, and to maintain your weight, just keep reminding yourself of all the reasons why you lost the weight in the first place and remember to reward yourself from time to time. According to a survey by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, rewarding yourself for a job well done will help you maintain your weight.

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