With more than half of us either overweight or obese, losing weight is something many people need to work towards for both health and appearance sake.
Losing weight is easier than you may think, provided you know a few key tips. Use these tips to help you lean up in 2010:
- Eliminate all alcohol and soft drinks. Alcohol and soft drinks are rich in calories and provides no other nutrients. In addition, alcohol consumption increases the risk for dehydration and can take pose barriers to physical activity. Eliminating all alcohol and soft drinks is critical if you want to see results.
- Avoid eating out for the first one to two weeks of your program. Restaurant eating poses significant challenges to people who are struggling to lose weight. Resisting the urge to eat out during the early phases of a weight loss plan will help you to get off to a good start.
- Measure all foods and beverages that you eat for 1 week. Portion sizes impact calorie intake (e.g. larger portion = more calories). Measuring your foods will help you gain a visual appreciation for appropriate portion sizes.
- Record everything that you eat or drink. Recording your food intake will assist you in becoming more conscious of your eating habits; a key step towards long-term behavior change.
- Drink water every day, starting, if necessary, with small amounts and gradually increasing to 1 ½ to 2 liters (6 to 8 cups) daily.
- Have regular meals and snacks (e.g. eat something roughly every 3 hours during the waking part of your day). Do not skip meals and do not “under-eat". Always sit down when you eat.
- Take a minute to think, if you feel you are hungry. Many adults struggle to differentiate between hunger and appetite. Hunger is the physical need for food and must be addressed by eating something. Appetite reflects a psychological interest in food and is not satisfied by eating. If you think you are hungry, stop; take a moment to assess how you are really feeling. If you decide you are truly hungry, choose a healthy snack based on your meal plan. If you are experiencing an “appetite attack,” distract yourself: go for a walk, meditate, call a friend to catch up.
- Plan to be active. Let’s be clear – adults do not lose weight and maintain the weight loss without exercising. If you are not active, the only way you can reduce your calorie balance enough to lose weight is through food. This raises problems because it requires you to really restrict your food choices! Be good to yourself – aim to be active for 60 minutes at least 6 days a week at a pace that you can sustain.
- Weigh yourself regularly. Weighing in will help you track your progress. In addition, weighing in keeps you focused. For best results weight in once a week on the same day and time.
- Expect to be challenged. Losing weight requires significant changes in behavior and behavior change is not easy. Forget what you’ve heard – there are no short cuts. The key to successful weight loss is consistency, planning, and resilience.