With the 2021 just around the corner, one of the most popular resolutions people make is to lose weight. Naturally, many of them may look for a fast solution to this problem. However, this is not the ideal way to conquer your weight loss goals.
Weight loss is not about taking up a ‘diet’ or a ‘program’ to reach a magic number. If you are looking to lose weight healthily, you must consider making changes in your lifestyle and habits. The journey of losing weight is an ongoing process and one that takes time and commitment.
Benefits of Modest Weight Loss
People who lose weight steadily and gradually (about one to two pounds every week) are more likely to keep the weight off.
Losing even a modest amount of weight, like 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, can positively impact your overall health. It also reduces your risk for obesity-related chronic diseases. Also, losing weight can improve your physical health, energy levels, general mood, and self-confidence.
Even if the overall goal seems broad, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination. You’ll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. These habits may help you maintain your weight loss over time. (CDC, 2020)
Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss
Getting Ready Mentally
The first step is to ask yourself if you are ready to make long-term changes and commit to better health. Being mentally prepared helps you in setting the right goals and working towards achieving them.
Setting Realistic Goals
Before you begin the journey of weight loss, consider setting a goal that is realistic and achievable. Ideally, you must not lose more than one or two pounds a week. To achieve this, you would need to reduce your calorie intake by about 500 to 1000 calories every day and include regular physical activity.
Also, keep in mind that instead of an outcome, consider setting a goal that focuses on your journey. For example, instead of setting an outcome goal like ‘lose 20 pounds’, think about a process goal like ‘walk for 30 minutes every day’. A process goal can help you change habits and keep the weight off longer.
A key factor of healthy weight loss is to reduce your calorie intake. The best way to do this is by including more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in your diet (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019).
Get your weight loss started with these tips:
- Eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits daily.
- Replace refined grains with whole grains.
- Use modest amounts of healthy fats, such as olive oil, vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, nut butter, and nut oils.
- Cut back on sugar as much as possible, except the natural sugar in fruit.
- Choose low-fat dairy products and lean meat and poultry in limited amounts.
Adding exercise to your daily routine and healthy food habits can help burn off excess calories. Regular exercise helps you build strength, reduce your blood pressure, and boost your mood and confidence.
How many calories you burn depends on the physical activity and its intensity. If you are new to exercise, you can start with a brisk walk for 30 minutes at least five to six days a week. If you find it challenging to dedicate time for exercise, consider activities like using the stairs instead of the elevator as often as possible.
Keeping up the Motivation
The journey to healthy weight loss is personal, and no one else could do it on your behalf. To stay motivated, you could post a note of encouragement to yourself on the refrigerator or computer.
Take the help of people who do not shame or embarrass you but instead inspire you and help you stay on target. You could find a support group that helps you stay motivated and encourages your efforts. You could also record your diet and exercise in a journal and track your progress.
While the process of healthy weight loss may take time, do keep in mind that you may encounter occasional setbacks. Do not get disheartened but start the next day afresh. The results will not happen overnight, but they will be worth every bit of hard work you have put into the journey when they do occur.
CDC. (2020, August 17). Losing Weight. Retrieved November 14, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, December 18). 6 proven strategies for weight-loss success. Retrieved November 14, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047752