How to Achieve Healthy Weight Loss

As the weather heats up, you may notice more talk of fad diets and promises of quick weight loss than ever before. The truth is, long-term weight management takes time. You need to combine a nourishing, calorie-appropriate diet with increased physical activity. These simple changes eventually become habits, which build a strong foundation for good health.

If you want to achieve healthy weight loss, consider the following five tips.

1. Fully commit to your lifestyle changes.

Are you truly ready to change your life and make a long-term commitment to your new habits? Weight loss takes time and effort, so it’s important to be all in. To gauge your readiness, consider the following questions:

  • Why do I want to lose weight?
  • Do I use food to cope with stress? If so, am I ready to find a new coping strategy?
  • Am I willing to ask my friends and family for support in this new endeavor?
  • Am I willing to change my eating habits?
  • Am I willing to exercise more?
  • Do I have the time to make these changes in my schedule?

If you’re unsure about healthy ways to manage your stress, talk to your primary care physician for ideas. Once you’re really ready to change, it’ll be easier to set goals, which leads us to our next tip.

2. Set realistic goals.

Goal setting is so important to your efforts, but you have to be reasonable as you determine your outcome goals, or markers of success. If you want to lose one to two pounds per week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day. 

As an overall goal, consider losing five percent of your current weight. For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, this percentage equals 10 pounds. It may seem small, but even this weight loss can reduce your risk of chronic health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Once you achieve your initial goal, you can set a new one until you reach your ideal weight.

Process goals are critical too. Do you want to cook dinner at home five nights each week or take a 45-minute walk each day? These objectives will ultimately help you develop new habits that maintain your weight loss. 

3. Learn to motivate yourself!

Only you control whether or not you commit to your plan and lose weight. So what’s driving you? Do you want to feel better for an upcoming vacation? Do you want more energy to keep up with your kids? Or do you want to improve your most recent lab results

Write your reasons down and revisit your list often. You can also set a daily reminder on your phone or hang a note of encouragement on your refrigerator door. If you take responsibility for your weight loss, you’ll be more likely to reach success.

4. Experiment with healthier foods.

Let’s talk about nutrition! You must lower your total calorie intake to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up delicious food or follow complicated recipes. To start, focus on eating more plant-based foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You want to aim for four daily servings of vegetables and three daily servings of fruits. Incorporate healthy fats into your diet by sautéing your broccoli in olive oil or adding avocados to your omelet. Choose low-fat dairy and lean meats and poultry when possible. You can also cut back on added sugars. If you need some healthy cooking inspo, there are a ton of good ideas on Pinterest!

5. Do exercise that makes you joyful.

Physical activity should be fun! Studies show that people who exercise tend to maintain their weight loss for longer periods of time. In addition to helping in your weight management efforts, it also offers other health benefits, like reduced blood pressure and a boosted mood. 

If you’re new to working out, start with steady aerobic exercise — like brisk walking or cycling — for 30 minutes or more, five days a week. As you build up your endurance, you can add in strength training and high intensity interval training (HIIT). 

For long-term, healthy weight loss, your habits must become part of a new lifestyle.

Identify past struggles and potential challenges and make a plan to overcome them for good. Know that you will encounter setbacks but that you can do hard things. Each day is a chance for a fresh start. Don’t give up on yourself!

 

Contact Dr. Asha Tota-Maharaj, MD at Platinum Primary Care with all your healthcare needs. Come visit us at 2071 Dundee Drive in Winter Park.