Tip the scale in your favor: How to reach your weight-loss goals
If losing weight has once again made it onto your list of New Years’ resolutions, make 2011 the year you scratch it off your list for good. Easier said than done, right? Not if you know how to get started.
“The first step in this journey is realizing that losing weight requires a permanent lifestyle change. No more fad dieting and no more ignoring the treadmill,” says Narinder Dabhia, M.D., an internal medicine physician with The Christ Hospital Medical Associates.
Once you’ve committed to losing weight, set your strategies for success. Dr. Dabhia shares his top-five tips to get started on your weight-loss goals.
1. Develop a plan with your doctor. The benefits to reviewing any new exercise or diet plan with your doctor are twofold. “We can check for underlying conditions, such as heart disease or osteoarthritis, that could trigger a medical emergency once a patient starts exercising or dieting,” Dr. Dabhia says.
Second, your doctor can recommend how much weight you should lose by measuring your BMI. A healthy BMI ranges between 18.5 and 24.9. You and your doctor can strategize on a long-term diet and exercise plan that gets you there. “We can set a timeline that helps you plan how you’ll succeed in your weight-loss journey,” Dr. Dabhia says.
2. Be realistic. The best way to reach your goals is to set attainable ones. “If your goals are too aggressive, they will be hard to reach and you’ll likely end up frustrated and feeling like you want to give up,” Dr. Dabhia notes. Instead, he recommends losing no more than one pound per week. For example, try cutting 500 calories per day from your diet by eliminating sweetened beverages. Over the course of one week, you can cut 3,500 calories – the equivalent of one pound of fat.
3. Start exercising regularly. Just 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity, three days a week can help you control weight. But it doesn’t have to include intense workout sessions at the gym. Try increasing your physical activity throughout the day by using the stairs, parking at the far end of the lot, or power walking on your 15-minute break. You can also track the calories you burn using a pedometer or calorie calculator.
4. Track what you eat. Jotting down everything you eat in a food diary encourages you to track your caloric intake and be more conscious of your food choices. Most people should aim to eat no more than 2,000 calories each day – most of which should come from fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains and lean protein. Dr. Dabhia recommends following the USDA Food Pyramid to get the right nutrients.
5. Find inspiration. Staying motivated with your diet and exercise plan is the hardest part of shedding unwanted pounds. “Connect with people at the local gym or in your neighborhood who have similar weight loss goals,” Dr. Dabhia says. “Plan exercises you both like and workout together.” Finding someone to keep you motivated can help you go the distance in long-term weight maintenance.
Find a physician who can share strategies to help you reach your weight-loss goals by calling 877-904-4YOU or visiting www.TheChristHospital.com