Healthy weight loss for the long term

Healthy weight loss – this is how it works permanently!Say hello to your feel-good weight. We'll show you how to incorporate healthy weight loss into your daily routine – without crash diets and the yo-yo effect.

There are many reasons for wanting to lose weight. The most important are health, a better fitness and more well-being. The Internet and magazines are teeming with diets. But which method leads in the long term to success. Is healthy for the body?

Healthy weight loss: Good to know

It is a widespread prejudice that excess weight is caused by weakness of will or laziness. The real causes, on the other hand, are complex and very diverse. Examples include a family predisposition, lifestyle, lack of sleep, stress, medications and metabolic disorders.

Healthy weight loss: This is why it makes sense

Regardless of the cause, if you are overweight, it is highly recommended to lose weight, because the excess pounds are always accompanied by a health risk. Probably the best known disease that can be related to obesity is diabetes type 2. In this case the metabolism of carbohydrates is disturbed. At the latest, a change in diet can no longer be avoided.

But obesity can also promote lipometabolic disorders, diseases of the cardiovascular system, an increased risk of accidents, gout, restriction of life activity, joint problems and a reduced quality of life. Therefore it is also not surprising that the psyche can suffer from it. The risk of depression, for example, is increased by half.

By losing weight in a healthy way, you not only reduce the risk of such diseases, but also feel fitter and better overall.

Lose weight healthily: Find a realistic goal

Many diets promise a weight loss of ten kilos in just four weeks. In principle, this is possible, but healthy weight loss works differently. Because after a rapid weight loss, the body weight also increases quickly again. With such a Crash Diat mainly water is excreted and only few fat is diminished. The dreaded yo-yo effect will not be long in coming.

Why is a fast diet unhealthy?

Losing weight fast can also have health drawbacks:

The risk of gallstones increases. Bone density can be reduced due to a calcium deficiency. The risk of hip fractures increases.

The unbalanced diet for such rapid weight loss harbors the insufficient supply of macro- and micronutrients. It can therefore be detrimental to your overall health. Lead to malnutrition.

Muscle loss can be accelerated.

The healthy way to lose weight

More sustainable is healthy weight loss through long-term changes in diet and habits. This is how you can lose about one to two kilograms per month.

Set yourself a motivating goal, which you can also achieve. Examples of this would be six kilograms in the next six months or one dress size less in the next two to three months.

BMI and abdominal girth as a guide

Most of the time you notice yourself if you are overweight or not. Nevertheless, there is a scientific assessment basis for this, the Body Mass Index (BMI). The index is calculated from weight and height: BMI = body weight in kg/(height in m)²

This value is classified for adult people into underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity (morbid overweight):

Consider the BMI only as a guideline, because an individual evaluation of your nutritional condition it does not represent. The composition of your diet, as well as physical changes caused by age (e.g., weight loss), can increase the risk of hip fractures. B. reduced muscle mass) are not taken into account.

In addition, the BMI is not decisive for some people. This applies, for example, to bodybuilders who, due to a high muscle mass, put significantly more weight on the scales.

By the way, the goal of healthy weight loss does not have to be normal weight. For people with overweight or obesity grade 1, for example, five percent of the initial weight within one year is a great success. With a BMI above 35 kg/m², ten percent of the initial weight is realistic.

From a health point of view, body fat distribution is very important. Belly fat in particular is considered a risk factor for diseases. Therefore, it is also recommended to measure the abdominal circumference at about the height of the belt. Women should have a value below 88 cm. Aim for men under 102 cm. You can notice the first successes of losing weight even without a measuring tape. If your waistband is looser or you can make your belt a hole smaller, you are on the right track.

How many calories per day are healthy?

Weight loss always works through a calorie deficit. That is, you consume more energy than you take in. To do this, you can either consume less energy (calories) or increase energy expenditure through exercise. A combination of both is highly recommended. But do you know how many calories you consume??

For this, a formula for energy consumption gives a rough guide. This is calculated from the basal metabolic rate. Calculate a value for activity.

You can calculate the basal metabolic rate using the Harris-Benedict formula:

Basal metabolic rate in women (kcal/day):

665.1+ (9.6*body weight in kg) + (1.85*body height in cm) – (4.68*age in years)

Basal metabolic rate for men (kcal/day):

66.47 + (13.75*body weight in kg) + (5*body height in cm) – (6.67*age in years)

Multiply the calculated basal metabolic rate by the so-called PAL value (physical activity level).

For additional physical activity (30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day) you can add about 0.3 PAL units.

Now that you have calculated your energy expenditure, subtract 500 calories to get the amount of calories you can eat per day to lose weight in a healthy way. Even though sustainable weight loss is not about counting every calorie in the long term, these do give a rough guide. Use the calculated value as a guide. Especially at the beginning this can be very helpful.

An example: Manuela, female, body weight: 80 kg, height: 170 cm, age: 52 years, activity: office job + 30 minutes of sport per day corresponds to PAL of 1.7

BMI: 80 kg/(1.7 m)² = 27.7 kg/m² → Manuela is overweight.

Basal Metabolic Rate: 665.1+ (9.6*80 kg) + (1.85*170 cm) – (4.68*52) = 1504.2 kcal → Manuela has a basal metabolic rate of 1504.2 kcal per day.

Energy metabolism: 1504.2 kcal * 1.7 = 2557.1 kcal → Manuela consumes 2557 calories per day

Calories to lose weight healthily:

2557 kcal – 500 kcal = 2057 kcal → For a healthy weight reduction, Manuela may eat about 2057 kcal daily.

10 tips – simply lose weight healthily

You have now defined your goal. This is the first step. Now it's time for implementation: in addition to everyday exercise, a balanced diet is a key adjusting screw for healthy weight loss. You don't have to change this completely overnight, but you can make small changes little by little. Here come ten tips that can help you lose weight in a healthy way:

1. Nutrition diary: Write down everything you eat and drink for a few days. At the same time you can note down your motivation for eating. Was it hunger, appetite, boredom or rather habit? Afterwards analyze your diary. This will make you aware of how much, why during and how often you eat during the day.

A professional consultation from a certified nutrition expert will help you create your optimal nutrition plan. Learn more

2. Saturation through fiber and protein: Both nutrients satiate well without putting too much strain on the calorie account. A simple rule for dividing your plate can be useful here: fill about half of your plate with vegetables or salad. One quarter should be occupied by a protein source such as fish, lean meat or legumes. Fill the remaining quarter with a filling side dish such as potatoes, whole-grain pasta or rice. In addition, you can replace all white flour products with the whole grain variety. The bright roll in the morning satiates only briefly, a slice of wholemeal bread or a bowl of oatmeal, on the other hand, keeps you full for several hours.

3. Nothing is forbidden: Also chocolate, cake and Co. Are allowed to be eaten while you are losing weight in a healthy way. However, in a sensible measure. Allow yourself a little extra per day, which you enjoy quite consciously. This can be, for example, a piece of chocolate. Here's how to avoid cravings for forbidden foods.

4. Drink properly: About 1.5 liters recommends the German society for nutrition. Ideal are calorie-free or low-calorie drinks such as water, unsweetened tea and water with lemon juice or mint. Less suitable are soft drinks, cola and alcoholic beverages.

5. Low Fat – does not have to be: When it comes to fats, make sure the quality is right. High-quality vegetable oil as well as nuts and seeds may also be on the menu for long-term weight loss. Trans fatty acids, such as those found in French fries or croissants, are not recommended.

6. Wean yourself off the sweet taste: Sugar and sweetness are a matter of habit. Do without sugar for several weeks, for example, then even a carrot tastes sweet. In everyday life, the best way to cut down on sugar is to avoid sweet drinks, convenience foods and sweets. If you prepare cakes or cookies yourself, you can save some of the sugar. Find inspiration for low-sugar baking in our recipe database.

By the way: even natural sugar is and remains sugar. Therefore, honey and the increasingly popular products, such as coconut blossom sugar, agave syrup or date syrup, are not a sensible substitute.

7. Eat intuitively: Listen to your body. When are you really hungry. When do you eat out of habit. Find out if your body does better with four to five small meals or rather two to three slightly larger meals per day. Stop eating when you are full. You should plan a little more time for eating, because the feeling of fullness only sets in after 20 minutes. Full means a pleasant feeling of fullness, the stomach should not be tense or even painful. To lose weight with intuitive eating, it's helpful to make your home a snack-free zone. If temptation beckons at every corner, it will be difficult to eat only when hungry.

8. Bringing movement into everyday lifeThose who want to lose weight are best off combining a healthy diet with exercise. Hereby also not always the sweaty sport program must be meant. Take the stairs more often instead of the elevator. Leave the car behind. Walk or take the bike. Meet with friends for a walk or hike. There are many ways to bring more movement into everyday life.

Our team of experts has developed a 12-week training program to help you develop healthier exercise and nutrition routines step by step.

9. Slim in your sleep: Even if this alone does not work as a diet, restful sleep is important for successful weight loss. Because too little sleep can lead to stress. The stress hormone cortisol is then increasingly released. This in turn makes weight loss more difficult.

10. Relaxation: Some people are stress eaters. To avoid having to compensate for stressful everyday life with food, relaxation exercises can help. Whether this is a relaxing walk, autogenic training or yoga, it makes no difference at all. The main thing is to take time for yourself and become more relaxed.

These foods help you lose weight

Some foods are particularly good for losing weight. Either they saturate without providing many calories, stimulate the metabolism or contain important nutrients. The following is a small list of foods that you can include in your meals when losing weight.

Water: contains no calories, fills the stomach and provides some minerals

Low-fat quark: is rich in protein, provides pleasant satiety and can be made into a delicious dessert or snack with fresh fruit

Fish: is rich in protein, contains healthy fatty acids and can be prepared gently (steamed or stewed)

Oatmeal: is a source of fiber, satiates and contains vital substances

Coffee: boosts circulation and contains bitter substances that can inhibit appetite

Grapefruits: score with bitter substances

Chili peppers: boost the metabolism

Vegetables: contain fiber, score with vitamins and minerals and are low in calories

Low-fat meat: chicken or turkey breast, lean meat from beef and pork contain a lot of protein

Whole grains: provide lasting satiety, fiber and are healthy carbohydrates

The power of habits

Often the motivation is particularly high at the beginning of a diet, after a few weeks this decreases and more and more old unhealthy habits creep in. To prevent this, it is useful to consciously change habits.

Together to the goal

To break unhealthy habits, a weight loss partner can help. This can be your life partner, friends or a family member. Together you set goals. Motivate each other.

You can also incorporate a control function here. For example, regularly ask yourself how often you have taken a walk or exercised. An absence in the sport course needs then a valid reason. Joint sports activities can also be planned. For example, a fixed date in the week for walking. After some time you no longer need the control, because you have developed a new habit.

Incidentally, you can also take over the control function yourself, for this you can make a checklist. Also reward yourself once in a while if you have done all the points in a week. For example, how about fragrant flowers or a new book.

Change habits

Habits that you should change to lose weight can be found, for example, in your food diary. Some examples are: That piece of cake in the afternoon, even though you're not hungry but have an appetite. Eat the plate empty, as it should be. Or the bag of chips at the TV evening.

These habits cannot simply be eliminated from your life. In order not to return to the old habits in the long term, you can replace them with healthy habits. This can be, for example, a walk in the afternoon or a fish day in the week to increase the protein content in the diet.

Healthy weight loss in old age

As you get older, it becomes more difficult to achieve a calorie deficit to lose weight. This is because the basal metabolic rate depends on age. The metabolism slows down. The body needs less energy. However, the need for vitamins, minerals and protein remains the same.

This means that when losing weight, special attention must be paid to protein-rich foods. Because otherwise the organism helps itself to the body's own proteins, i.e. the muscles. Better save calories with carbohydrates and fats.

A reduction in muscle mass should be avoided at all costs, because muscles make everyday life easier and support the body.

Here's what this means for healthy weight loss as you age:

High protein content in the diet is essential to protect muscle mass.

If the amount of muscle in the body is already low before losing weight, then only 200 calories should be saved per day instead of 500 calories. The body weight sinks in such a way slower, but also more gently.

Extra exercise promotes muscle growth or can at least prevent it from breaking down. Therefore, the combination of a healthy diet with exercise is particularly recommended.

To lose weight in a healthy way, you need sufficient patience and self-care as you age. Pay attention to your body, if in doubt have your blood levels checked for a deficiency and talk to your doctor.

With our protein calculator you can calculate your individual protein requirement and check how much protein you eat on average daily: To the protein requirement calculator

Healthy weight loss: Beware of stumbling blocks

The path to a healthy body weight is not always easy. Nevertheless, to master this one, there are some stumbling blocks to avoid:

Well-intentioned advice from friends or family is only sometimes helpful. When it comes to diet and weight loss, pretty much everyone has had their own experiences. However, what works for one person does not work for another. If, for example, you get a tip from an acquaintance about a new low-carb diet, then this does not necessarily have to be your path. Do not let yourself be put off.

Invitations to friends or family can often be a big challenge while losing weight. If you are invited to coffee and cake, it may seem impolite to refuse the cream cake. You have at least two ways around this stumbling block:

Even during a weight reduction, occasional extras are allowed. Have a small piece of cake. Enjoy it with full awareness as your extra. The next day you do without your extra for it. You refuse the cake. Explain this. That you want to lose a few kilos for the sake of your health, the host can surely understand.

The quick snack on the road is usually a small calorie bomb. No matter whether it is the pretzel from the bakery, a portion of French fries or curry sausage from the snack bar or a cappuccino in the cafe. If you know in advance that they will be out for a long time, then planning ahead is the solution. Take a healthy snack with you: Fruits, vegetables, nuts or a whole-grain sandwich are ideal.

Going to a restaurant can be a dilemma if you are trying to lose weight in a healthy way. Because on the one hand you would like to order your favorite dish, but on the other hand you know that it does not go very well with your diet. If a visit to a restaurant is something special for you, then choose the dish that appeals to you the most without worrying. Because enjoyment should also not be neglected when losing weight. On the other hand, you can simply cut down on calories when choosing a drink. Drink a mineral water instead of a lemonade, a juice or an alcoholic beverage. From tomorrow, the dietary change to lose weight continues as usual again. Visit a restaurant regularly, then this does not work so. In this case, you can choose a light dish like a soup or salad.

Once you have reached your goal, stick to your newly learned healthy diet. Maintaining your weight is quickly underestimated. Recalculate your energy expenditure to estimate how many calories will help you maintain your weight. Keep active. Consider your new habits.

Healthy weight loss: Everything at a glance

There are many reasons to lose weight healthily, because being overweight increases the risk of some diseases like type 2 diabetes. In addition, activity can be restricted and the psyche can suffer. With a balanced diet you will have more energy. Feel better overall.

Set an achievable weight loss goal for yourself. For guidance, you can calculate your energy expenditure for this and subtract 500 calories. This is the number of calories you are allowed to take in every day. You will lose about one to two kilos per month.

Establish a healthy diet in your everyday life. Train yourself in new habits. Our ten tips can help you here.

Particularly good for losing weight are: Fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains), protein (dairy products like lean cottage cheese, meat like poultry breast or lean beef, fish, legumes), bitter foods like grapefruit, spicy foods like chili peppers, and water.

As you get older, it becomes a little more difficult to lose weight because your basal metabolic rate decreases. Basal metabolic rate refers to the calories you burn even when you are not doing any kind of activity. Then pay special attention to the distribution of nutrients. Protein intake should be high enough to protect your muscles. In addition, you should be active. Because sports and exercise also have a beneficial effect on the muscles and also burn calories.

Biesalski, H. K.; Grimm, P. & Nowitzki-Grimm, S. (2011). Pocket atlas nutrition (5.

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