Weight loss: 6 strategies to achieve it


Weight loss: 6 strategies to achieve it

Follow these proven strategies to lose weight and improve your health.

There are hundreds of fad diets, weight loss programs, and outright scams that promise quick and easy weight loss. However, the basis for achieving weight loss remains a healthy low-calorie diet, combined with increased physical activity. To achieve long-term weight loss, you must make permanent changes to your lifestyle and health habits.

How do you make those permanent changes? We recommend you follow these six strategies to lose weight.

1. Make sure you're ready

Long-term weight loss takes time and effort, and a long-term commitment. While you don't want to put off losing weight indefinitely, you do want to make sure you're prepared to make permanent changes to your eating and activity habits. Ask yourself the following questions to determine your readiness level:

  • Am I motivated to lose weight?
  • Am I too distracted by other pressures?
  • Do I use food as a means to cope with stress?
  • Am I ready to learn or use other coping strategies?
  • Do I need other support, either from friends or professionals, to manage stress?
  • Am I willing to change my eating habits?
  • Am I willing to change my activity habits?
  • Do I have the time to make these changes?

Talk to your doctor if you need help addressing stressors or emotions that seem like obstacles to your preparation. When you're ready, it will be easier for you to set goals, stay committed, and change habits.

2. Find your inner motivation

No one else can make you lose weight. You must make changes in diet and physical activity to achieve this. What will give you the drive to follow the weight loss plan?

Make a list of what's important to you so you stay motivated and focused, whether it's your next vacation or achieving better overall health. Next, see how you can draw on your motivators during times of temptation. For example, you might want to put a note of encouragement on your pantry door or on your refrigerator.

Although you have to take responsibility for your own behavior to be successful at losing weight, it helps to have the right kind of support. Choose people who support you and encourage you in a positive way, without pity, shame, or sabotage.

Ideally, you would find people who listen to your concerns and feelings, who will exercise with you or design healthy menus, and who share the priority of having a healthier lifestyle. Your support group can also offer accountability, which can be a strong motivation to stick with your weight loss goals.

If you prefer to keep your weight loss plans private, be accountable to yourself by weighing yourself regularly, journaling your diet and physical activity, or monitoring your progress with digital tools.

3. Set realistic goals

It may seem obvious to set realistic weight loss goals. But do you really know what is realistic? In the long run, it's smart to aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) per week. In general, to lose that amount per week, it is necessary to burn 500 to 1,000 more calories than you consume per day, with a low-calorie diet and regular physical activity.

Depending on your weight, losing 5% of your current weight may be a realistic goal, at least initially. If you weigh 180 pounds (82 kilograms), that percentage is 9 pounds (4 kilograms). Even this level of weight loss can reduce your risk of chronic health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

When setting goals, think about process and outcome goals. "Walk every day for 30 minutes" is an example of a process goal. "Lose 10 pounds (4,500 kilograms)" is an example of an outcome goal. It is not essential that you have an outcome goal, but you should set process goals because changing your habits is the key to losing weight.

4. Eat healthier foods

When adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss, you should reduce your overall calorie intake. But cutting calories doesn't have to mean giving up flavor, satisfaction, or ease of meal preparation.

One way to reduce your calorie intake is to eat more plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to eat a variety of foods to reach your goals without compromising taste or nutrition.

Start losing weight with these tips:

Eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit daily.

Replace refined grains with whole grains.

Eat moderate amounts of healthy fats, such as olive oil, vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, nut butters, and nut oils.

Reduce your sugar intake as much as possible, except for the natural sugar in fruit.

Choose low-fat dairy, lean meat, and lean poultry in limited amounts.

5. Get active and stay active

Although you can lose weight without exercising, regular physical activity combined with caloric restriction will allow you to lose weight more quickly. Exercise can help you burn excess calories that you can't get rid of by just dieting.

In addition, exercise offers many health benefits: it improves mood, strengthens the cardiovascular system, and lowers blood pressure. Exercise can also help maintain weight gain. There are studies that show that those who lose weight and maintain it in the long term are those who do physical activity on a regular basis.

The number of calories you burn depends on the frequency, duration, and intensity of the activities you do. One of the best ways to lose body fat is through sustained aerobic exercise — (for example, brisk walking) — for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Some people require more physical activity than this to lose weight and keep it off.

Any additional movement helps burn calories. Think about how you can increase your physical activity during the day if you don't have time for a formal exercise session. For example, go up and down the stairs several times instead of using the elevator, or park in a space that is farther away in the parking lot when you go shopping.

6. Change your point of view

It is not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for a few weeks or even months if you want long-term successful weight management. These habits must become a lifestyle. Lifestyle changes begin when you take an honest look at your eating patterns and daily routine.

After evaluating your personal weight loss challenges, try to create a strategy to gradually change the habits and attitudes that have sabotaged your efforts in the past. You have to progress beyond simply acknowledging your challenges; you have to plan for how you will deal with them if you are going to succeed in losing weight once and for all.

You may have a setback occasionally. But instead of giving up after having a setback, just start over the next day. Remember that you are planning to change your life. It won't happen all at once. Keep up the healthy lifestyle and the results will be worth it.

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