10 Tips For Successful Weight Loss
1. Eat varied, colorful, nutritionally dense foods
The foundation of your diet should be healthy meals and snacks. A suggestion is to make each meal 50% fruit and vegetables, 25% whole grains, and 25% protein. Total fiber should be 20-30 g daily. Eliminate trans fats, and saturated fats should be kept as low as possible as their ingestion is strongly linked to the incidence of coronary heart disease. When fats are consumed, they should be monounsaturated (MUFA) or polyunsaturated (PUFA).
Foods to include: fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal.
Foods to avoid: added oils and butter, non-lean red or processed meats, baked goods, bagels, white bread.
It is not uncommon to become deficient in necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals while losing weight. Consult with a nutritionist or other knowledgeable clinician about how to prevent this during your weight loss program.
2. Keep a food and weight diary
Self-monitoring is one of the key elements in a successful weight loss program. Whether it be a paper diary, a mobile app or an Internet program, recording everything eaten over the course of the day is necessary. Weight should be measured and recorded weekly so as to follow progress.
3. Engage in regular physical activity and exercise
Physical activity is important for overall good health, and increasing it is another integral ingredient of a successful weight loss program.
Regular physical activity and exercise are crucial to losing weight successfully.
A total accumulation (activity can be portioned throughout the day) of one hour a day of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking is ideal. If one hour is not possible, 150-250 minutes per week is beneficial. For people who are not normally physically active, exercise should be initiated slowly and the intensity should be increased gradually.
Additionally, keep track of physical activity. There are many free mobile apps available to record food and activity that credit your calorie balance after you log your exercise. Activities like taking the stairs, raking leaves, dog walking, gardening, dancing, playing outdoor games and parking farther away from a building entrance are all good ways to increase your physical activity.
Medical evaluation prior to initiating an exercise program is typically not necessary for individuals at low risk for coronary heart disease. However, there are cases where medical evaluation is warranted. Consult your health care provider if you are unsure how much exercise is safe for you.
4. Eliminate liquid calories
It is easy to consume hundreds of calories a day from sugar-sweetened sodas, teas, juices or alcohol. This is a waste of your calories. Unless you are having a meal supplement healthy smoothie, drink water or unsweetened tea or coffee. Add a splash of fresh lemon or orange if you need taste. Don't mistake dehydration for hunger; if you think you are hungry and it is not a scheduled meal or snack time, have a drink of water.
5. Measure servings and control portions
Too much of any food, even low-calorie vegetables, will result in weight gain. Never make a habit of estimating a serving size or eating food right out of the bag. Use measuring cups, measurement guides or count out the appropriate amount for a serving. Guessing leads to overestimating and the potential to eat much more than what the serving really is.
If you are eating out, you can still have a good idea of how much you can eat by using these size comparisons:
- ¼ cup is a golf ball
- ½ cup is a tennis ball
- 1 cup is a baseball
- 1 ounce of nuts is a loose handful
- 1 teaspoon is 1 playing die
- 1 tablespoon is a thumb tip
- 3 ounces of meat is a deck of cards
- 1 slice is a DVD.
6. Eat mindfully
Being aware of why, how, when, where and what you eat is mindful eating. When you become in tune with your mind and body, you will make better choices regarding your food.
Slow down and savor when you eat and concentrate on the taste of the food. Making a meal last 20 minutes allows the body to register physiological signals for fullness.
And when you eat, focus on being satisfied after a meal, not full. Consider what you are eating; is it a good "value" for the calorie cost? Will it provide satiety? If it has a label, what are the ingredients, fat content or sodium amount? You may not be aware that many food items labeled all natural or low fat are still not a healthy choice. Make a commitment to mindful eating.
7. Stimulus and cue control
Many social and environmental cues seem to encourage undesired eating. For example, some people are more likely to overeat while watching television. Others have trouble passing by a bowl of candy without taking a piece. Be aware of what might trigger in you a desire to eat unwanted calories, and think of ways you can change your routine to keep these instances under control.
Getting rid of unhealthy foods that might be tempting can help prevent undesired eating in the future.
8. Plan ahead
Having a kitchen stocked with weight loss-friendly foods and keeping meals structured will result in greater weight loss. Clear the shelves of processed or junk foods, and have healthy and easy meal choices available to prevent potential quick and careless eating. Think ahead of ways you can manage your food intake at social events, or restaurants.
9. Seek social support
Enhancing social supports is an important part of a successful weight loss. Enlist the support of loved ones and friends to your weight loss endeavor. Other avenues of support may include a positive social network, group or individual counseling, exercise clubs or partners, and work employee-assistance programs.
10. Be kind to yourself
It is normal to feel discouraged when the pounds do not come off as quickly as desired. There will be days when it is harder than others to stick to a weight loss or maintenance program. A successful weight loss program requires perseverance, staying the course and not giving up when self-change seems too difficult.
Staying positive and persistent is key to developing a healthy lifestyle and achieving weight loss goals.
It may be necessary to reset goals, adjust total calories or change exercise patterns. The important thing is to keep a positive outlook and be persistent in working toward overcoming the barriers to successful weight loss.
Maintaining weight loss requires a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. There is no "vacation" from healthy habits. A special meal out, a birthday celebration or a joyful holiday feast should be observed without guilt. However, a person's mindset must still be one of not straying too far from the path of healthy eating and activity. Otherwise, it is a slippery slope that might be hard to recover from. It is easy to gain back weight lost, and then some.