Losing weight and keeping it off can sometimes feel impossible, especially around the Holidays. There always seems to be an abundance of tempting foods and holiday treats at every turn we take. Dr. Meir Stampfer, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, states that in addition to greater access to food, most people are much more sedentary than were past generations. He further states, that even active people who exercise frequently, are not burning as many calories as our ancestors did.
Food tends to be viewed as more than just fuel for our bodies. Food is associated with social activities, rewards, celebrations, and is a source of gratification. Many diets work short term but often fail in the long run. Many diet plans include radical changes from what we normally eat. Continuing that pattern of eating is not sustainable long-term and sets us up for regaining weight.
However, don’t lose hope! Despite the challenges we face in our weight loss journey, there are strategies that are proven to help with getting rid of those extra pounds and keeping them off! Check out these simple tricks you can use to reach and maintain your weight loss goals:
- Delete the word “Diet” from your vocabulary. Many diets are way too restrictive and make it difficult to stick with. Extreme calorie restriction can slow metabolism and alter appetite-regulating hormones. Focus more on slight calorie restriction and adopting healthy eating habits. Make changes that support a long-term healthy lifestyle. Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Don’t buy into the fat-free is the best myth. Eating fat does not make us fat. Many studies show consuming healthy fats help to control hunger and weight better than going without fat entirely.
- Be Mindful. Distracted, hurried eating can add pounds and take away the enjoyment of consuming foods. People seem to be getting busier and busier these days. Working through lunch, picking up food at a drive through and eating on the way to your next destination, watching TV and scrolling through your phone while eating dinner. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? If so, try to slow down and be more mindful of what, and how quickly you are eating. Research shows that mindful eating can help people avoid processed food and to select healthier options. Here are some great tips to get you started on the road to mindful eating:
- Try eating with your non-dominant hand.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes and take that time to eat a meal without any other distractions.
- Take small bites and chew thoroughly.
- Before opening the refrigerator, as yourself, “Am I really hungry?” If not, do something else (go for a walk, read a good book, yard work, etc).
- Put your fork down between bites. When ready for another bite, pick back up.
- Be Active. This has been said and heard thousands of times, but it cannot be emphasized enough. Increasing activity level can help with weight loss and help to keep it off. For most people, long-term weight maintenance is almost impossible without some form of physical activity. Cardio and strength exercises should both be combined for optimal weight control. The current recommendations for adults are as follows:
- Aim for 150 minutes weekly of aerobic activity at a moderate to the vigorous intensity level. Increasing to 250 minutes weekly can provide significant weight loss and will also help to prevent rebound weight gain.
- Resistance training should be incorporated 2-4 days weekly for a least 30 minutes for each of those days. Those who are consistent with this routine can increase their resting metabolic rate by 10-15%. Beginner to moderate level start with 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions. Moderate to advanced perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
- Aim for 10,000 steps daily. Taking 10,000 steps daily can equal up to a 400-500 calorie burn. This means you can average a 1 pound weight loss weekly just with daily steps alone. 2,000 steps equals 1 mile. 10,000 steps equals 5 miles. A sedentary person typically only averages 1,000-3,000 steps daily.
Losing weight and keeping it off is not easy. But whatever you do, don’t give up! Perseverance is key. Every day, commit to eating a little less, and exercising a little more. Focus on healthy food selections and mindful eating habits. Be consistent with your efforts and you will soon be able to reach and maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime. At Blue Sky, MD, we understand that weight loss is a journey, and provide the support you need along the way. Contact your local BlueSky MD office for more information on our weight loss program and to schedule an appointment.