15 Weight Loss Tips for Your New Year's Resolution
Fulfill your new year’s resolution by learning what weight loss tips actually work.
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Keep A Routine Schedule: Set a routine meal schedule with 3 meals a day. Make sure you don’t skip breakfast. Research shows that those who skip breakfast eat more throughout the day and have more difficulty with their weight.
Watch Your Portions: It’s not only what you eat, but how much of it. Make sure your portions are appropriate. Split your plate in half (not literally, but mentally). The left entire half should consist of veggies. Then split the right side in half once again. One fourth of your plate should consist of carbohydrates, and the other fourth of protein. Check out this diagram you can actually print out and place on your fridge to remind you of the proper adult portions you need with every meal: http://www.webmd.com/diet/printable/portion-control-size-guide.
Select Your Liquids Carefully: For many patients, what they drink is a great source of calories. Sometimes, simply cutting out the beverage culprits is enough to result in weight loss in many of my patients, both kids and adults. Cut out drinks with any sugar or carbohydrates. This includes Gatorade, coffee drinks, regular soda, and juice (even if it’s “natural”). Eliminate alcohol, as they often are high in unnecessary calories, or limit them to no more than one glass of wine a day for women and max of 2 for men. Instead, drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
Bulk Up With Fiber: Fiber helps keep us full, keep our bowels regulated, and are a good source of nutrients. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Eat In, Not Out: Avoid eating out as much as possible. If you do end up eating out, select healthier meal options. Watch the salad dressings, which are often high in calories, carbs, and/or fats (even if they are labeled “low fat” they can still be high in carbs).
No Pain, No Gain: There’s really no way around it – we all need to find the time and motivation to incorporate physical activity into our routine schedule. The trick is to find something you like to do – a dance class, brisk walks in the park (always keep one ear “open” please), swimming, or investing in a stationary bike or treadmill (can be bought used). Set a goal of at least 30 minutes to one hour of physical activity a day, with moderate to vigorous intensity (no, a walk around the mall does not count).
Avoid Sedentary Activities: TV, video games, computer use should be no more than 2 hours total a day total (NOT each). Keep a pedometer on each day and shoot for a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car at the furthest spot in the parking lot.
Catch Your Z’s: Maintain a routine sleep schedule: For unknown reasons, those who sleep too little or too much have been shown to have more issues with their weight.
Avoid Gimmicks: Avoid gimmicks and over-the-counter weight loss supplements, as evidence behind their claims and their potential side effects are weak. And their side effects and long term effects are not well-established. The FDA currently discourages use of these supplements. Again, remember that if something is too good to be true, it often is.
Avoid weight loss prescriptions: Studies show that weight loss medications may help some patients lose an average of 11 pounds a year. However, they are short-term solutions. Patients often gain the weight back once the drug is stopped. In addition, some of them have significant side effect profiles that really are not worth the risk.
Seek Your Doctor: Your doctor is your gateway to many weight loss resources. Ask for a referral to see a nutritionist. Also, many health plans offer free weight loss classes, programs, and even discount to weight loss centers and exercise gyms.
Don’t let the new year be the only time you consider weight loss. It should be a work in process, over a long duration of time. Just like smoking cessation, it often takes several attempts to be successful, and there will likely be challenges on the way. You will have good and bad days. But it’s important to keep yourself motivated along the way and not give up.