We’re a month or more into our New Year’s Resolutions, and for many of us, healthy weight loss is foremost on our minds. Around this time of year, though, huge numbers of fad diets, online weight-loss programs, and scam supplements crop up, promising fast and dramatic results. It’s tempting to try them, but ultimately, success lies in long-term, healthy changes.
Rapid weight loss can sabotage your long-term goals and potentially harm your health, throwing your metabolism and nutrition out of balance. So, how do you lose weight the healthy way? We’re here with some tips and tricks for steady, sustainable weight loss success.
Set Your Goals & Intentions
When we’re starting out on a healthy weight loss journey, we need to ask a few questions:
- Am I ready to make changes to my lifestyle?
- Do I understand why I want to lose weight?
- Do I need outside support to manage factors like stress in a healthier way?
Get to know your inner motivations so you can set realistic goals and commit to permanent changes. What is a realistic weight-loss goal? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 1-2 pounds per week for the first 6 months, with an initial weight loss goal of up to 10% of your current weight.
Understand that change takes time—don’t pressure yourself to transform into a different person overnight. Give yourself the grace to create an achievable plan.
Try to Cultivate Mindfulness
Mental health and physical health are more connected than you might think. In fact, stress is a critical factor in weight loss, as it causes our bodies to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol triggers our appetite and can cause our bodies to store extra fat in the abdomen.
Studies have shown that mindfulness techniques can support weight loss. When you eat mindfully, you maintain an in-the-moment awareness of every bite you consume, breaking the automatic associations between stress and eating.
Try these mindful eating techniques at your next meal:
- Take a few deep breaths before eating to appreciate your food and consider its health value.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes and eat your meal slowly, savoring all the senses: how the food looks, smells, feels, and tastes!
- Take small bites and chew deliberately
- Try eating with your non-dominant hand
- Put your eating utensil down between bites.
Begin Making Healthy Diet Swaps
We know that burning more calories than we consume is key to losing weight. A healthy diet is about more than calorie-counting alone, however! It’s important to choose foods that nourish us with vital nutrients, provide steady energy, and help us curb cravings.
Start with these balanced diet basics:
- Fruits and vegetables: aim for four servings of veggies and three servings of whole fruit per day
- Grains: replace refined grains with whole grains whenever possible
- Protein foods: choose lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, nuts, or soy
- Healthy fats: include modest amounts of fats like olive oil, vegetable oils, nut butters, and avocados
Limit sugars, saturated fats, sodium, heavily processed foods, and alcoholic beverages. One of the easiest first steps you can take? Make water your drink of choice!
Find a Physical Activity You Don’t Hate
Going out running at 5 AM every morning isn’t the only way to get active. Of course, if you really love running, go for it! Just remember that getting in your CDC-recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week doesn’t have to be miserable.
Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving, whether that’s dancing, gardening, or walking the dog. Any activity is better than none—and if you make a plan to get a little more active each day with something you enjoy, healthy weight loss can become a labor of love.
Talk to Your Doctor About Supplements
We’ve all seen advertisements for miracle pills that promise to “blast fat” and take inches off your waistline. Unfortunately, weight loss isn’t as simple as taking a pill. Many of the supplements lining drug store shelves are not clinically proven or well-regulated. That’s why you should talk to your doctor to find supplements that actually can help support healthy weight loss alongside diet and exercise.
Your provider can make informed recommendations with your personal goals, bloodwork, health conditions, family history, and other factors in mind. With a medical professional guiding your supplement regimen, you know you’re giving your body the exact kind of help it needs.
Consider a Medical Weight Loss Program
Making lifestyle changes can be difficult on your own, especially with all the different resources clamoring for our attention. Joining a medical weight loss program like SmartFit at OB/GYN Associates of Alabama provides support, encouragement, and an individualized plan for weight loss to help you achieve your goals.
With a medical weight loss program like SmartFit, you take the guesswork out of your health and receive a dedicated partner on your weight loss journey. The only thing you have to lose is the weight that’s been holding you back from a healthy life!
SmartFit Weight Loss at OB/GYN Associates of Alabama
Dr. Foster and Dr. Johnson have been honored to help tens of thousands of people lose weight, feel better, and become healthier through the SmartFit program. Our SmartFit physicians strive to be a source of encouragement and education throughout your weight loss journey. You don’t have to go it alone—call 205-271-3166 to take the first step with a free phone consultation.