I am constantly being asked for weight loss advice. Most of the times, people want my opinion on the latest diet fads circulating the market and when I deliver the grim message that “fad diets don’t work,” they look at me with utter disbelief before narrating how Jane lost weight on the “diet” as did Brenda, Peter and Paul. However, when I ask them how long their friends kept the weight off, their disbelief is replaced with what appears to be a moment of enlightenment and they probe for more information.
Long term weight loss is not about gimmicks, pills or restrictive diets. Rather, it a combination of determination, behavior change and enjoying food (that’s all foods) in moderation. Here are a few tips to help you begin your journey to permanent weight loss. Be A Goal Digger.
You’ve set the goal to get healthier and lose weight….now grab a piece of paper and write it down. There is something about writing goals that makes us focus on achieving them. Place your written goals in a place where you can review them at least once a day and recommit to them each and every day. Make it a Group Thing.
Don’t go it alone…..solicit support. There is nothing worse than having a family member at the table enjoying multiple servings oltf your grandma’s fried chicken smothered in week old cooking oil with a sky-high side of plantain cooked just the way you like. All this while you’re trying to make better food choices. Similarly, the co-workers that constantly bring cakes and donuts don’t make it any easier.. For this reason, make it a family thing and get co-workers to join the bandwagon. After all, we could all use diet and nutrition makeovers.Journal It. Research shows that people who keep detailed information about their dietary intakes, lose more weight than their non-journaling counterparts. Just like there is power in writing goals, there is power in tracking your daily dietary intakes. A colleague always tells her clients, “if you bite it, you must write it.” Not much of a writer? Don’t worry, the camera on your phone can be a great tool in getting you healthier. Take pictures of all your meals as a visual reminder of what you ate and how much you ate. Feeling really gutsy? Post your food diary on-line for your friends to see (e.g on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). Accountability is higher when you know someone will be looking forward to seeing what’s on your plate. Be patient and don’t give up.
Long term weight loss takes time and you will have set backs but don’t get discouraged. For most people, a 1-2 pound (0.4-0.9 k.g) weight loss a week is optimal, a far cry from the weight loss promised by the gimmicks and fad diets. If you have a set back, don’t worry, just get back on track and keep your goals in focus. Plan….plan…plan….plan…plan!! At least once a week, sit down and decide everything that you will eat for both meals and snacks over the next few days. Planning minimizes the possibility of snacking on that candy bar or entire bag of salt ‘n’ vinegar chips. Don’t stop at planning just meals, schedule your workout as you would any meeting or class you have to attend. Stick to your plan and schedule. Balance. All foods have their part in a healthy eating plan. Make sure you start each meal with a hearty serving of veggies (half plate), a dabble of starch ( quarter plate) and top it off with a small piece of meat (quarter plate) or high protein pulses like peas, lentils, beans, Enjoy everything in moderation. Personalize it . Th
e plan that worked for someone else may not be the one for you. Plan your food choices and schedule your work outs according to what works best for you, your taste buds, daily routine, physical capabilities and daily routine. Get your ZZZ’s.
Research indicates that women who slept less than 5 hours a night, were 32% more likely to experience significant weight gain than those who slept at least 7 hours a night. So make sure you go to bed and get all that beauty sleep. Move. Get active. Go for walks, play with the kids, learn a new sport, train for a mini-marathon. Just do something out of your usual daily routine, especially if that routine involves mutliple hours spent sitting in front of a computer, television or on the couch. Drink water. You are drinking enough fluid when your urine is a pale lemonade color. That may mean drinking 4 glasses, 6 glasses, 8 glasses or even 10 glasses of water. The darker your urine, the more you need to drink. What’s the beverage of choice? WATER!
Do you have any tips that help you lose weight and keep it off? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a message in the section below.
Here’s to Your Health
~ Thomas Jefferson