Losing weight is one of the top resolutions people make every year, and yet one that people find hard to follow through on. The emotional, physical, and relationship cost of being overweight is heavy! And it’s expensive: the US diet control and weight loss market is worth about $62 billion/year.
Here are some tips for losing weight that I give to my patients. I believe a lifestyle change is the safest, healthiest, and wisest way for most people to lose weight, but you may need some help along the way. Here are some tips to provide some of that help:
- 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.
- 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 really weighing you down. Deal with that, and food may become a much smaller problem.
- 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. Develop a healthy eating plan you can stick with.
- 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.
- 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.
- Deprivation doesn’t work. Eventually you will likely relapse if you try complete deprivation from your favorite foods. If about 90% of your diet is healthy, it’s OK to enjoy some “treats” from time to time.
- 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.
- Get moving. The power of exercise added to a healthy diet will take away more pounds than you realize. I use my Striiv to make moving fun and keep myself motivated.
- 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 functioning, and your long-term risk of disease and death. (I tell patients to make losing 10% their initial goal.)
- One day at a time. Just like 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!
When you achieve a small weight-loss goal, celebrate. And keep it up. As Nike says, You can do it!
Your turn: What tips do you find help you lose weight? How have you been successful? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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