I don’t usually post much about weight loss diets here at Healthy Ideas Place; because I believe we should focus more on living a healthy lifestyle instead of dieting to lose weight. However, it’s the start of a new year and many people set new goals and resolutions for the year, the most popular being weight loss. I’m not going to lie. It is a tough goal and many people, probably most people, will give up some time during the year when the scale decides to plateau and/or climb back up after the first few pounds lost.
Here are a few simple strategies that can help you stay on target with your goals:
- Change your focus from weight loss to healthy habits and get rid of the “diet” mentality. I know you want to lose weight, but when the scale won’t cooperate it just leads to feelings of failure and thoughts of giving up – even if we’re eating healthier and being more active. If our goal is to establish healthier eating and exercise habits, the scale’s influence on how successful we feel is diminished. We can feel good about ourselves knowing we are doing what we can to take care of ourselves. Weight loss is a result of that.
Helpful tools: A notebook or app in which to write and track your goals
- Keep a food journal – In all my years as a dietitian this is one of the most helpful tools anyone can utilize to improve their diet and lose weight. If you want to lose weight, you need to look at your diet and see what you need to change. An accurate food journal is essential. Keep track of every morsel of food or drink you put into your mouth. Everything – those little tastes while you make supper, the samples of food given out Sam’s Club or Costco . . . every.little.bite. Most of us eat more than we realize, and when we write down what we eat, it’s easier to make realistic changes to our diet and promote a healthy weight loss.
Helpful tools: Journal or notebook; My Fitness Pal app
- Increase your physical activity. Move more and be more active. This is another area to track. Know where you are at and set realistic exercise goals. If you become winded walking around the block, don’t shoot for running a marathon right away. Focus on short-term workable goals. Get to the point where you can walk around the block without getting winded, then set a new goal. See my post on goal setting for more ideas.
Helpful tools: Journal or notebook; a good pair of walking/running shoes; My Fitness Pal app; Setting Goals
- Cook and eat your meals at home more often. If you eat out a lot, you have less control over the ingredients in the food you eat and the method of preparation. Moreover, restaurants often serve larger portions of food than we need, leading to a greater calorie intake.
Helpful tools: Menu and grocery planner
- Drink 2 cups of water before each meal. Evidence exists showing that people may eat less at meals after consuming 16 ounces of water prior to the meal. When combined with a lower calorie intake, people in that study experienced a 44% greater rate of weight loss than those who did not consume water prior to eating.
Helpful tools: Water bottle
If you have already set a goal for weight loss in the New Year, consider refocusing to one of establishing healthy eating and exercise habits. The strategies listed above are just a few that can help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Have you made any new year’s resolutions about weight or healthy habits? What are you doing to help achieve those? Share with us in the comments below. We would love to hear about them.
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Image: fruit with scales design vector 01 found at www.freedesignfile.com under CC Attribution 3.0
References: Dennis, Elizabeth A. et al. “Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-Aged and Older Adults.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 18.2 (2010): 300–307. PMC. Web. 1 Jan. 2015.