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Trying diet after diet is not an effective means of losing weight, or at least being able to keep it off for any length of time. You try a new fad, lose a few pounds and then find yourself packing the pounds back on as soon as you return to your old ways. This isn’t healthy and it will never make you happy with your weight. Start thinking smarter in order to eat and live more sensibly, and you will begin to have more success with your weight loss efforts. The following five facts will get you started in the right direction.

1. You should only eat if you are actually hungry. Don’t let false signals of hunger lead you to the refrigerator or cafeteria; rely only on the cues from your body that tell you that you really require food. Avoid eating just because others are doing it or there happens to be something delicious close by.

2. Make sure you have a negative balance of calories every day. Burning off more calories than what you consume is essential to getting your number on the scale down. If you eat more than you expend, your balance will equate with stagnation or worse, putting even more weight on. Follow your intake carefully and match it with activities that will leave you with more burned off calories than taken in.

3. Eat only wholesome foods that are good for you. You know which ones they are and which ones you need to keep away from. The junk food, the fast food and the foods that offer instant gratification, but make you feel guilty five minutes after finishing them. Use common sense when you shop for groceries, prepare meals or pack lunch and when you make selections off of a menu.

4. Keep your portions at a minimum. The size of the meals you consume will have just as big an impact on weight loss or gain as the content. If it helps, get a small kitchen scale and measure your portions so that you can count calories with absolute accuracy. Buy smaller dinner plates to avoid over-filling your plate and always walk away from the table if you feel tempted to reach for a second helping or start obsessing over an amazing dessert.

5. Sleep has a big impact on appetite. Most people don’t realize how much a lack of sleep can cause them to overeat. With regular sleep comes regulated hormones, giving hunger a normal pattern to follow. When you are behind with sleep your hormonal system goes into over-drive and causes you to feel famished even if you’ve already eaten. During such times you are almost guaranteed to blow your diet, taking three steps backwards with your plan to lose weight.

Although fad diets can help you drop a fast five pounds, they are disappointing and counterproductive in the long run. Start living better and really putting thought into the way you approach food and you should begin to see positive results with your weight loss intentions.

We have not received any compensation for writing this post. We have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that we have mentioned.