For many people, a new year means new resolutions. And one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight.
Many people believe it’s easy to take off a few pounds or that there are shortcuts that can help the weight fall off fast. The reality is that losing weight – and keeping it off – requires lifestyle changes and staying motivated over time. In fact, staying motivated is one of the hardest things about losing weight. It’s relatively simple to get started with a weight loss plan – but after a few weeks, it gets harder.
One way to stay motivated is to remember the benefits of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. With weight loss, you’ll lower your risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and various types of cancer. You’ll also have less joint pain and sleep better. You may get sick less and experience fewer mental health issues.
There’s no magic pill to help you lose weight. But by making long-term lifestyle changes, you can be successful. I recommend taking the following steps:
- Eat breakfast – Your AM meal might be the most important one of the day. Skipping a meal causes your body to slow down to conserve energy leading to storing more fat at your next meal. Also, skipping breakfast tends to lead to making poor choices at lunch.
- Drink more water – Often times when you feel hungry, you might actually be thirsty. Before tucking into a meal or snack, try drinking a glass of water to see if it quenches your urge to eat.
- Eat a balanced diet – When trying to lose weight, focus on eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. One thing that’s not helpful is to cut out an entire food group – for example, carbohydrates. When eating a healthy and balanced diet, all food groups come into play. To learn more about the role diet plays in weight loss, read Six Successful Diet Strategies.
- Increase activity – Improving your diet will help you lose weight – but exercise will help you keep it off in the long run. To maximize weight loss, aim to get 60 minutes of physical activity, five days a week.
- Reduce stress – Being stressed all the time can raise cortisol levels in your blood making it harder to lose weight. Mindfulness therapy, practicing Reiki or getting a massage may help lower stress levels.
Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss, including a surgical and medical program, dietitians, psychologists and more. If you need help getting started, call us at 630-527-7205 or 331-221-6140.