Everyone seems to have a weight-loss solution to sell you, whether it’s the latest diet pills, special weight-loss shakes, or the best diet book ever. If these quick-fix solutions really worked over the long run, most people would be sporting svelte figures.
“Rather than on-again, off-again diets, people need to aim for lifestyle change—modifying their eating and physical activity habits for the long haul,” says Janet Feinstein, MS, RD, CDN, a dietitian at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Feinstein recommends following these key strategies:
- Figure out what’s in it for you. Although your doctor advising ,you to lose weight might kindle concern, you really need to have the inner motivation and interest in losing weight to see it through. “Maybe your knees hurt, or you’re short of breath walking up the stairs due to your excess weight,” Feinstein says. “Or, maybe you just don’t feel like yourself with the extra weight.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may help you sleep better, give you more energy during the day, and allow you to participate in activities you have had to give up because being overweight made those things too difficult.
You have to look at your reasons for wanting to make a change and be ready to commit. Ask yourself: How would your life be better if you made a change?
- Think about the process. “Setting a goal to lose 50 pounds isn’t enough,” Feinstein says. “You also have to think about how you’re going to get there.” Start by looking at what you’re currently doing and what you could do differently, then set specific goals for change. For example, are you eating fast food lunches every day or sitting at your desk for 10 hours a day? If so, you might set a goal to bring your lunch to work three days a week or to walk for 15 minutes before work. (For more tips on goal setting, see “Set SMART Goals” sidebar.)
- Track your efforts. “Monitoring is essential to help you see what you’re doing, including what you’re eating and how much you’re moving,” Feinstein says. “You don’t necessarily have to track calories; just write down what you eat. It makes you more aware.
Food-tracking apps for smartphones and websites, such as myfitnesspal.com and loseit.com, tally calories and other nutrients for you based on data in large food databases. Tracking physical activity could be as simple as using a $20 pedometer, or download a pedometer app or activity tracker on your smartphone, such as Pacer (pacer.cc) or Moves (moves-app.com).
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Weight loss success starts with setting SMART goals. They should meet these criteria:
Specific: What’s one thing you’ll do? “Eat less,” is too vague. Instead, you might set a goal to eat more mindfully, so that you’re more satisfied with your meals and less likely to overeat.
Measurable: What, where, and when will you do it? For example, specify that you will eat your lunch in the breakroom, away from the distractions of your computer and smartphone, three days a week.
Achievable: Can you realistically accomplish your goal? What will get in your way, and how can you work around these obstacles?
Relevant: What will make a significant difference for you? If it seems you barely taste your lunch when you eat at your desk, then eating in the breakroom could make a real difference in how satisfying your meal is.
Time Specific: When will you begin the new behavior? Schedule a start date on your calendar.
The post For Successful Weight Loss, Stick to Proven Strategies appeared first on University Health News.
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