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Food and fitness: The best ways to lose weight

Food and fitness: The best ways to lose weight

Sometimes it seems like everywhere you look, there’s an ad for a new weight loss program. What’s more, each one gives different advice for the best way to lose weight. With so many choices, how do you know what’s right for you?

It’s important to remember that reaching a healthy weight doesn’t necessarily require following a specific diet program. Instead, it involves committing to a healthy lifestyle, which includes making wise food choices, getting regular physical activity and managing stress. By making a plan and sticking to it, you can improve your overall health and reach your long-term weight management goals.

Take a look at where you are

Once you have made the commitment to lose weight, a good first step is taking stock of your current habits:

  • Keep a food and activity journal. Write down everything you eat and drink for a few days, as well as any exercise you do. It can also be helpful to write down how you’re feeling as well as your sleep habits.
  • Identify challenges. Are there things happening in your life that make it harder for you to stick to healthy habits? Maybe you travel frequently for work or don’t have a lot of time to cook in the evenings.
  • Talk to your doctor. If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, consult your doctor about the best ways for you to lose weight.

Set goals you know you can reach

To set yourself up for success, focus on two or three goals at a time. Remember to make your goals realistic, specific and forgiving, which means leaving room for mistakes. For example, instead of making your goal “eat healthy foods,” make it specific by saying “I will eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal.” Instead of committing to exercising for 30 minutes every day of the week, make your goal more realistic and forgiving, like “I will walk for 15 minutes per day, four days per week.”

As you become more accustomed to your new habits and hit your targets regularly, you can add new goals. Also, consider adding motivation by rewarding yourself. Each time you reach a milestone or turn a goal into a habit, do something nice for yourself, such as taking an afternoon to yourself to read a book or buying yourself something small you’ve been wanting.

It's also important to realize that you may experience setbacks. Simply get back on track! Don’t let one mishap keep you away from your health goals.

Adopt healthy eating habits incrementally

When you set out to change your eating habits, it can be overwhelming figuring out the best foods to eat. Remember, you don’t have to completely change the way you eat overnight. Set realistic goals and begin to make healthy changes.

In general, a healthy diet is one that incorporates a variety of nutritious foods, including:

  • Plenty of fruits and veggies
  • Whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Protein, such as lean meat, seafood, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds

Aim to limit processed foods, as well as foods with added sugars and saturated or trans fats. Drink lots of water and avoid sugary beverages.

This doesn’t mean you can never eat your favorite comfort foods. Just eat them less frequently and in smaller portions or try making healthier versions of high-calorie dishes.

Move more to improve overall health

Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Experts recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. For example, you might break it up into 30 minutes of brisk walking, five days per week. Add strength training activities, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, two days per week to build strong muscles as well. If you’re not used to exercising, start slowly and add intensity to your workouts over time.

Want help developing the best weight loss plan for you? Learn about weight loss services at LCMC Health.