For your weight loss plan to be a weight loss success, it's absolutely critical that you understand the difference between weight loss fad diets and safe, effective weight loss routines that produce long-lasting weight loss results.
There are all sorts of weight loss programs out there that can help you lose weight (not necessarily fat), but they are so miserable that it's impossible to stay on them very long - even more difficult is keeping the weight loss results you achieved.
The four characteristics for successful weight loss are:
1. The weight loss plan must avoid cravings
2. The weight loss plan must avoid hunger
3. The weight loss plan must include increasing your activity level
4. It must be a weight loss plan you can live with for a lifetime
What are cravings? A craving is when your body pushes you to want a particular food ingredient. This can occur even when you are not hungry. When you finally give in and get the food, you almost always binge, that is, eat more than you would have if you did not have the cravings in the first place. For the most part, you body is probably asking for water, but out of bad habit you might turn to fatty fast foods to fill the gap.
What causes cravings? Your body needs 6 essential food ingredients to function properly. They are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins and water. If you deprive your body of any of these, it will create the sensation that will drive you to get it. The most easily identified example is when you deprive your body of water. You develop thirst. Thirst is the body's craving for water. Don't turn to fast food, when all your body is asking for is a big glass or two of fresh cool water. Better still, don't turn to a fad diet that restricts you to eating one or two items only. This will only heighten your body's need for other foods.
Weight loss plans that tell you to cut out particular foods will always lead to cravings. It is this battle in your body to give it what it needs that creates conditions of discomfort and lead to most individuals ending the weight loss programs. There is an area of the brain that controls what and how much you eat. It is also responsible for creating cravings as a way for you to provide the body what it needs.
So, what is the best way to avoid cravings? First and foremost, the best way to avoid cravings is by eating all the required food ingredients. The key is that in all of the food groups, there are "good" types and "not so good" types of foods. You need to know the good types and eat only those. For example, with carbohydrates, good types (in general) are the ones with a low glycemic index (GI). GI is a measure of how fast a food increases the production of insulin. Insulin causes fat buildup. Whole grains and vegetables have low GIs and therefore are good for weight loss.
By understanding the weight loss concept of eating all of the essential foods and dividing them into "good" and "not so good" foods, you will avoid cravings and overeating.