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The ABCs of healthy weight loss

 Eight useful tips to help you shave that weight off – for good

If you're a repeat culprit of failed fad dieting plans and sporadic stints at the gym, the key is finding a way to do it in a sustainable manner. Here are eight useful tips to help you shave that weight off – for good

The closer you are to meeting your weight goals, the less weight you tend to lose. Don't let that discourage you though.

1. Don't fixate on calories – Sure, the general science to losing weight is to take in less calories than you burn up but there are far easier ways of keeping track of it without resorting to obsessive calorie counting. Simply switching to fresher foods will save you lots of time scanning through labels at the supermarket. 2. Love your mirror – Want to know the fastest way to trashing your high after a week of clean eating and sticking to your fitness plan? Stepping onto the dreaded scale of course! Instead, strip down and look at your new body in the mirror. That and your trusty tape-measure should be all the validation you need to know you're moving in the right direction. Better still, take full-length photos of yourself each week to keep you motivated. 3. Sleep more – Apparently, we lose three times more fat while we're catching those winks. So, hitting the snooze button every once in a while, clearly won't hurt! 4. Get to the bottom of it – Why do you make the lifestyle choices that you make? Are you an emotional eater? What are your triggers? How long have you had negative body issues? How do you deal with stress and trauma? Addressing these questions could be the first step in taking control over your weight loss from the inside in, and for good. 5. Lay off the booze – You may be doing everything else right, but your after-work binges could be your downfall. 6. Nix the cardio for strength training. Focusing too much on cardio workouts can create imbalances in your levels of progesterone and estrogen, which can throw off your ability to burn fat. Strength training three to five times a week on the other hand will help improve your hormonal balance as well as give you nice additional curves as you shed off the weight. You will lose fat but gain muscle and look great. 7. Will power. You do not have to eat just because something sinfully rich has been offered to you. Resolve to stick to your meal plan, stock up your pantry with healthy foods and if going to work, carry healthy snacks to keep the hunger pangs at bay.

Bet you didn't know that... • Your weight is genetic! There's a fat-gaining gene and if you have two copies of it you are 60 per cent more likely to be obese than those without it. • Thinking of running for weight loss? Think again. Studies show that runners overestimate the number of calories they think have actually burned – you'll also likely work up a counter-productive appetite. • Ear infections can make you fat. Studies show that they can mess with your taste buds, making you more prone to becoming a sweet-tooth. • You get it from your mama! Literally. Sugary and fatty foods consumed by your mother even before you're born can mess with your weight later in life, scientists say. • Having a cuppa will do you good! The book, "The Coffee Lover's Diet," claims that drinking more coffee will increase your metabolism. Of course watch the sugar and cream.

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