Healthy weight loss

Healthy weight loss is a big deal. Losing weight – or trying to – is big business. Researchers tell us that being overweight or obese affects two-thirds of American adults. The emotional, physical, and relationship costs of being overweight are heavy. And it’s expensive: the US diet control and weight loss market is worth about $62 billion/year.

But there are also plenty of success stories. My husband is one of them. He lost about 100 pounds, and did it without dieting! And he hasn’t gained any of it back. It was mostly a matter of eating smart – less processed foods, more fruits and vegetables and healthy protein. I’m so proud of him! And if you need to lose weight, I know you can do the same thing.

Here are some healthy weight loss tips that I used in helping my husband to lose weight. And they’re the same tips I give to my patients when they want that same kind of help. I believe focusing on lifestyle change is the safest, healthiest, and wisest way for most people to lose weight, but you may need some help along the way. It may not be sexy, but this kind of weight loss is the kind you’ll be able to maintain.

10 Healthy Weight Loss Tips

  1. You are more than your body weight! Your happiness, your relationships, your spiritual life – all are more important than your BMI (body mass index). Keep things in perspective. There are no scales at the pearly gate into heaven.
  2. It’s not what you’re eating: it’s what’s eating you. My friend Kathrine Lee likes to talk about this. The emotional, mental, relationship, or spiritual baggage you carry may be what is truly weighing you down. Deal with that, and food may become a much smaller problem.
  3. Keep it natural. Focus on increasing the natural food in your diet. Vegetables and fruits are number one. Include some unprocessed protein (legumes, eggs, chicken, fish, milk, and occasionally unprocessed red meat if needed) every day. Stay away from baked goods and processed meats.
  4. Your brain responds slowly. It takes about twenty minutes for your brain to register how much food you have eaten. Practical application: prepare a moderate amount of food, and eat it slowly. Then wait twenty minutes before deciding whether you are still hungry or not.
  5. Stress impacts body weight. Be sure you address how well you sleep. And if you use food as a stress reliever, you can find other means to manage your stress. Make the effort to do so.
  6. Deprivation doesn’t work. You’re going to relapse if you try complete deprivation from all your favorite foods. If about 90% of your diet is healthy, it’s OK to enjoy some “treats” from time to time.
  7. Don’t do it alone. Accountability to a spouse, a good friend, or a professional will make you much more successful. Tell them what you want to accomplish, and tell them what they can do to help you stay on your program.
  8. Get moving. The power of exercise added to a healthy diet will take away more pounds than you realize. I’ve used a free app from My Fitness Pal that helps make moving fun, as a game.
  9. Small changes add up. You don’t have to get back to an ideal body weight to start experiencing benefits. Losing just 10% of your body weight will make a major change in your sense of well-being, your endocrine (hormonal) system function, and your long-term risk of disease and death. (I tell patients to make losing 10% their initial goal.)
  10. One day at a time. Just as with any lifestyle change, losing weight is a process. Small changes today add up to big results over time. If you “fall off the wagon,” get back up tomorrow and try again. That’s normal! But think of it: lose just one pound a week, and next year you’ll be 50 pounds lighter!

When you achieve a small weight-loss goal, celebrate. And keep it up. As Nike says, Just do it!

Your Turn: Which one of these 10 tips seems most possible for you? Which one are you going to start using this week? Leave a comment below.

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