The beginning of a new year means new resolutions. The No. 1 resolution I hear from people is their declaration to lose weight. They ask questions like, “Is there medication that can help me?” and “What is the best diet?”
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for shedding pounds. However, reaching an ideal weight for optimal health is important. Being overweight can lead to health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart attack or stroke. Here are some tips for reaching your weight loss goals and staying on track throughout the year:
1. Set realistic goals. Weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week is a realistic and safe goal. Studies show that for those who lose weight slowly but steadily, the risk of regaining the weight is lower.
2. Be patient. Weight loss is a lifestyle change and it is achieved over time, not overnight.
3. Exercise. There’s no way around it. You need to move. Set a goal of at least 30 minutes of movement a day, such as walking, swimming or biking.
4. Keep track. Chart your exercise to get you moving and keep you motivated, and maintain a food diary. Many foods we eat have hidden calories, fat and sugars.
5. Watch your portions. Frequent, small meals keep the body fueled and allow it to burn fat and calories steadily throughout the day.
6. Choose what you drink wisely. Many energy drinks, coffees and even diet sodas have hidden sugars and calories. Try to eliminate alcohol—it is a source of unneeded calories—and aim to drink at least eight glasses of water daily.
7. Increase your fiber intake. Fiber makes you feel full longer and helps regulate your bowels. Consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
8. Save your money. Avoid fad diets, weight loss pills or quick-fix nutritional plans. Fad diets involve depriving yourself of calories and energy. The body needs a certain amount of calories to get through the day. If you fast or eat less than what your body requires to lose weight too quickly, you’ll find yourself feeling fatigued.
9. Don’t be hard on yourself if you falter. Remember, weight loss is an ongoing process and it will take time. Don’t rely on just the scale to track your progress and remember that muscle weighs more than fat. Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting. Don’t forget that you are on a journey and persistence will pay off.
10. Talk with your doctor. We also offer body fat-percentage testing via DEXA scan, which is the gold standard for accurate measuring of body fat. We also offer weight loss classes and exercise programs at Oak Street Medical – contact us for more information.