Changing the way you approach weight loss can help you be more successful at losing it. Most people who try to lose weight focus on one thing: weight loss.
However, if you set goals, begin to eat healthy foods, become more physically active, and learn how to change behaviors, then you may be more successful at losing weight.
Over time, these changes will become routine and part of your everyday life.
Weight Loss Goals
Setting the right goals is an important first step to losing and maintaining weight.
Losing just 5–10 percent of your current weight over 6 months will lower your risk for heart disease and other conditions
Losing 1–2 pounds per week is a reasonable and safe weight loss. Losing weight at this rate will help you to keep off the weight. And it will give you the time to make new healthy lifestyle changes.
Maintaining a modest weight loss over a longer period of time is better than losing a lot of weight and regaining it.
You can think about additional weight loss after you’ve lost 10 percent of your current body weight and have kept it off for 6 months.
Keep a Balance
Maintaining a healthy weight calls for keeping a balance . . . a balance of energy. You must balance the calories or energy that you get from food and beverages with the calories that you use to keep your body going and to be physically active.
The same amount of energy IN and OUT over time = weight stays the same
More energy IN than OUT over time = weight gain
More energy OUT than IN over time = weight loss
Your energy IN and OUT doesn’t have to balance exactly every day: Balancing energy over time will help you to maintain a healthy weight in the long run.
A Healthy Eating Plan
A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day and helps you to stay within your daily calorie level.
This eating plan will also lower your risk for heart disease and such other conditions as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels.
A healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
- Controls portion sizes
Cutting back on calories is part of a healthy eating plan to lose weight. Choose foods that are lower in fats, especially saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and added sugars. Also, pay attention to portion sizes.
To lose 1–2 pounds a week, daily intake should be reduced by 500 to 1,000 calories. In general:
Eating plans that contain 1,000–1,200 calories each day will help most women to lose weight safely.
Eating plans that contain 1,200–1,600 calories each day are suitable for men and may also be appropriate for women who weigh 165 pounds or more or who exer- cise regularly.
If you eat 1,600 calories a day but do not lose weight, then you may want to cut back to 1,200 calories. If you are hungry on either diet, then you may want to boost your calories by 100 to 200 per day.
Very low calorie diets of less than 800 calories per day should not be used unless you are being monitored by your doctor.
Staying physically active and eating fewer calories will help you lose weight and keep the weight off over time. Plus, physical activity has many benefits:
- Lowers the risk of heart disease; diabetes; and such cancers as breast, uterus, and colon
- Strengthens your lungs and helps them to work more efficiently
- Strengthens your muscles and keeps your joints in good condition
- May slow bone loss
- Gives you more energy
- Helps you to relax and cope better with stress
- Builds confidence
- Allows you to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly
- Provides an enjoyable way to share time with friends and family
How much physical activity should you aim for?
For overall health and to reduce the risk of disease, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
To help manage body weight and prevent gradual weight gain, aim for 60 minutes of moderate-to- vigorous physical activity most days of the week.
To maintain weight loss, aim for at least 60–90 minutes of daily moderate physical activity.
You can break up the amount of time that you do physical activity, such as 15 minutes at a time. If you haven’t been physically active for some time, then don’t let that stop you. Start slowly and gradually increase your activity.
For example, start walking for 10–15 minutes three times a week, then gradually build up to the recommended amount with brisk walking.