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15 Weight Loss Tips for Your New Year's Resolution

Fulfill your new year’s resolution by learning what weight loss tips actually work.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD,
January 2, 2013
Episode #087

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It’s January again, and that means it’s time to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions. What does this mean for us physicians? It means that once again we see an influx of patients requesting help with weight loss. Which is wonderful – there’s nothing better than a motivated patient! Again and again I hear:

“Isn’t there a medication you can prescribe to help me lose this weight, Doc?”

“I think I just need the surgery, Doc.”

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for losing weight. And any book or product that claims to have one is not being honest with you. Even surgical options, which are far from risk-free, are often temporary solutions that result in weight gain once patients return to their old unhealthy habits. I wish I had a magic trick up my sleeve to help all of my overweight and obese patients – I’d be a wealthy woman while saving so many lives! 

So what does work? Besides great dedication and motivation, I have 15 weight loss tips that actually work!

What’s the Problem?

The prevalence of obesity has more than doubled in the U.S. during the last 30 years. Two thirds of all American adults are either overweight or obese. And childhood obesity has become an epidemic. What’s causing all this? First of all, the American lifestyle leaves us workaholic adults little time to devote to nutritious meals. After a long, hard day, it’s much easier to visit your local fast-food chain and take food home than to cook our own meals. Second, portion sizes have increased over the years. And lastly, with the advancement of technology, we spend more and more time playing video games, watching TV, and using the computer. Our sedentary lifestyles keep us and our kids from playing outdoors and getting more physical exercise. 

Why does this matter? Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic illnesses. In fact, it’s a close second to cigarette smoking in terms of potential dangers. It is linked to the development of heart disease (the number one killer of both men and women), certain cancers, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure – just to name a few. Weight loss of even 5-10% is sufficient to achieve major health benefits.

15 Quick and Dirty Weight Loss Tips

  • Find your BMI: The very first step -- you need to first find out if you are overweight and how overweight you really. The most standard method used by doctors is by finding your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is a formula using your weight (in kg) divided by your height (in meters squared). It categorizes you into three groups: overweight, obese, or extremely obese depending on your BMI number. Here’s a website that gives you your BMI quickly: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

  • Review Your Meds: Make sure you’re not taking any medications that can contribute to weight gain, such as some antipsychotics, lithium, anticonvulsants, and corticosteroids.

  • Do Your Homework: Before you develop a plan to lose the weight, you first need to figure out your baseline nutrition and physical activity levels. How do you know where to go if you don’t you’re your starting point? Although time consuming, you really need to keep a food and physical activity diary, and log everything you eat and drink, amount of calories you consume, along with the amount and type of physical activity you received each day. This will not only help you keep track, but will help you find your pattern of obstacles. Also, you may want to take this self-assessment survey to find out what you may be doing wrong: http://med.brown.edu/nutrition/acrobat/REAP%206.pdf

  • Set Your Goals: Now that you know how much you are eating, set a goal to cut out 250 to 500 calories a day. Initially, set a goal to lose 1-2 lbs a week for the first 6 months in order to reach a 10% weight loss goal. Losing it slowly (but steadily) means less risk of regaining later – that’s where fad diets typically go wrong.

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