It’s a new year, and we have no doubt that one of your resolutions for 2016 is going to be losing weight and getting fitter. It’s an admirable resolution, and one that many Americans can benefit from. Here are some weight loss tips to help you make healthy choices going forwards:
1. Add, Don’t Subtract
Most people try cutting back on portions and certain foods when trying to lose weight. Although this can be a good strategy, it can also be very difficult and leave you feeling deprived or hungry. Instead of focusing on portion sizes, let’s kick 2016 into gear by adding more low calorie, high-fiber healthy foods like fruits and vegetables to bulk out our meals.
2. Move More
Exercise doesn’t necessarily always mean hitting the gym. Think of alternative physical activities such as:
- playing Frisbee
- washing the car
- going on a family bike ride
- walking or hiking
If there aren’t any sidewalks or walking trails in your neighborhood, try walking around the local mall or participating in charity walks. It also helps to park your car further away when you go shopping, or when it is a mile or less, try walking to your destination. Even a five-minute walk is better than no physical activity, so get moving!
3. Go Lighter
Lighten the foods you love by making them lower-calorie options. You can do this by:
- Decreasing the amount of sugar, salt and fat in recipes
- Adding whole grains, veggies and fruits as substitutions to your favorite foods
- Choosing low-fat dairy in cooking
4. Drink Water
Stay hydrated and feel full for longer by drinking enough water. Make it a habit with meals in particular, because it helps to control your appetite and assists with portion control. The recommended quantity is a minimum of 64 fluid ounces a day, or 8 cups.
5. Share Often
Sharing with family, friends or spouses is not only fun but has unexpected health benefits. For example, sharing your meals helps to control the quantity you eat. Sharing a gym membership or personal trainer reduces the individual cost and makes fitness more accessible for each party, and you’re likely to be more successful when you’re doing things together than doing them alone. So share whatever you can and keep each other on your toes.
6. Don’t Skip Meals
It’s a myth that skipping meals contributes to weight loss. By eating a balanced diet you’ll keep your metabolism efficient and your appetite in check. You have to eat to lose weight, so make it a point to eat three balanced meals each day including breakfast, lunch and dinner, and to add a couple of snacks to your daily consumption to keep you feeling satisfied.
7. Make your Plate Colorful
Eating a variety of colorful low-calorie fruits and vegetables will increase your fiber and antioxidant intake. Purchase fresh, frozen, or canned to ensure you always have them on hand.
8. Get Physical
We all love television and we need more physical activity, so try combining the two for the best effect. Watch a show while you use the treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, rowing machine, etc. or during commercials use free weights or resistance bands. There are also lots of high-energy DVDs, as well on-demand aerobic and yoga workouts.
9. Cook More
When you’re trying to lose weight you should dedicate 80% of your efforts to nutrition for weight loss and the other 20% to physical effort. This begins with eating at home, rather than dining out or getting fast foods loaded with unhealthy ingredients. When you cook you have more control over ingredients and cooking methods, and are more likely to achieve a balanced plate. Restaurant dishes are almost always higher in calories, fat and sodium compared to home-cooked meals.
10. Switch Out Your Dinnerware
Size matters, especially when it comes to visual cues for food; a smaller plate or bowl full of food feels more satisfying than a large plate or bowl with the same amount of food on it. So choose your plate carefully and fill it—you’ll be surprised how full you feel after eating it.
11. Designate a Space for Eating
Eating in front of the television can lead to loss of satiety cues and cause you to overeat unconsciously. Eating at a table removed from other distractions, however, helps you to be aware of what you’re eating. Also, think about eating in the break room at work instead of at your desk.
12. Keep a Weight Loss Journal
Track your foods, beverages, calories, moods, and exercise. Tracking your progress in a weight loss journal can play an important role in your success.
13. Be Patient and Stay Motivated
Nothing happens overnight, and significant behavioral modifications such as changes to eating habits and physical activity take hard work, dedication and time. Keep expectations realistic. An average rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Weight loss does get easier over time, because your behaviors shift to becoming habits. Staying motivated will help you achieve success.
Adopt some of these strategies into your weight loss plan for the new year, and take it day by day. At Lifestyle Medical Centers, we offer consistent support, education, and motivation to continue your lifestyle change goals.
Download our free report on Understanding Obesity and start your journey to weight loss today.