5 Things to Do if You Want to Lose Weight
Lose weight faster with simple adjustments to your daily routine
The days leading up to Thanksgiving are often marked by perennial jokes about who’s going to be more stuffed at the end of the meal, the turkey or you. It’s a time when people steel themselves with what are meant to be reassuring words, telling themselves that “It’s Thanksgiving, of course I’m going to gain weight.” The holiday season can actually be a good time to lose weight, or at minimum, not gain any extra weight.
Here are five realistic, simple and achievable things you, your spouse and family can do to lose or manage weight.
- Set Realistic Goals.
- Dedicate Time.
- Track Your Caloric Intake
- Exercise (more)
- Use Social Support.
A goal weight loss of 1 pound per week is realistic and doable. It may not sound like a lot but in three months you’ll be down almost 15 pounds and, depending upon your starting weight, 1 to 2 inches on your waist line. To lose 1 pound per week you have to consume 3000 fewer calories each week, which is equivalent to two 14” pepperoni pizzas. Setting smaller, attainable goals is self-reinforcing and when it comes to changing your diet, much easier to stick to.
Don’t use “I don’t have time” as an excuse. People often, very often, kid themselves about not having enough time to improve their diet and incorporate some exercise into their weekly routine. Let’s be real. You know you make time for what you consider important; you also know that if you reflect back on a week, there was time that you ‘wasted’ that could have been time to take a quick walk, make a healthful meal, etc. If you want to lose weight, you have to find a way to make time to eat health and be physically active.
Calendar time in your schedule … literally, put it in your GroupWise, Microsoft, Google, whatever calendar … to ensure you can eat healthy and get a minimum amount of exercise in each week.
Count calories. Weight loss happens when you burn off more calories than you take in, bottom line. This ‘caloric deficit’ has to occur if you ever want to lose weight. The question that perplexes all of us but our Department Dietitian/Nutritionist Rana Parker is – how many calories are in that sandwich, soda, steak, etc.? One of the only ways you’re going to know is to use a food log and record what you’re eating.
Food logs (or diaries) are not what they used to be. The easiest thing you can do, and really, one of the most effective ways of losing weight, is to download a food log (“Lose It”, “Calorie Counter”, “Fooducate”) to your smartphone and enter everything you eat into it. Be sure to enter everything! That 50-calorie snack you had mid-morning, the 80-calorie one in the afternoon, they all add up.
When recording your caloric intake, serving size is important. Here are some guidelines you can use to help:
1 serving of cereal = size of your fist
1 serving of a starch (rice, pasta, potato) = half of a baseball
1 serving of cheese = 4 stacked dice
1 serving of fruit or vegetable = baseball
1 serving of oil or fat (butter, olive oil) = 1 die
1 serving of meat, fish, poultry = a deck of playing cards
Calorie counting will take no more than a few seconds and your totals are stored so that you can review them at a later time.
Sounds obvious, right? Exercise doesn’t have to involve lifting 50% of your body weight over your head or running a six-minute mile. It can be as easy as walking for 15 minutes more, doing housework at a vigorous pace or chasing the kids and dog at the park. Don’t overestimate your exercise activity. Many people who lose weight join a gym but you actually have to go there to burn calories.
Invest in a heart rate monitor to get a more accurate estimate of your workout time and calorie burn.
Don’t compensate for exercise by eating more. While it’s normal to feel a bit hungry after a workout, don’t splurge. In fact, eating a small amount of protein with carb after your workout may help build muscle and speed recovery. But don’t let a ravenous hunger and lack of planning lead to eating whatever unhealthy is around just to satisfy your hunger. Plan ahead and have your health snack waiting for you when you finish your workout.
Engage family and friends in your effort to lose weight. There’s no question that when you let others know about your efforts to lose weight (or exercise), you’re much more likely to accomplish your objective.
The Bottom Line_________________________________________
Remember one thing … WEIGHT LOSS = MORE Movement + FEWER Calories