Losing weight is challenging, and it seems everyone has an opinion on the best way to do it. Healthy weight loss is not just about a “diet” or “program”. But it’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits. When it comes to weight loss, we could say “one size does not fit all” . Basic differences such as age, sex, body type, underlying medical issues, physical activity, genetics, and even food preferences can influence a person’s ability to lose weight and keep it off.
About half of American adults surveyed between 2013 and 2016 reported trying to lose weight at some point during the prior 12 months. And yet nearly 70% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.
Excess weight gain is associated with serious health issues including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.
Although there is not one “perfect” diet for healthy weight loss, research does support certain universal behaviors for people who are trying to lose weight. These include cutting out soda and Sweetened beverage, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, and focusing on food quality rather than simply on calories.
Here are 10 behaviors that can support efforts for healthy weight loss :
1. Know Where You are Starting.
Keep a food record for first three days. Firstly, track all the food and beverages you eat along with the portions. Identify how often you are eating home made food, eating takeout, or buying food on the run.
2. Home in on your goal and make a plan.
What is your goal for wight loss? Do you want to lose weight to just to improve your health? Or you dream of fitting into an old pair of jeans? How will you achieve your weight loss goal? Will you cook more meals at home? Will you eat smaller portions? Note down all the answers for these questions and accordingly make a foolproof plan.
3. Identify Barriers To Your Goals
Could a busy schedule get in the way of going to the gym or walking? Wake up an hour earlier. Has an empty pantry prevented you from cooking at home? Look up some healthy recipes and then head to the grocery store armed with a list of ingredients you’ll need to prepare them.
4. Identify Current Habits that Lead to Unhealthful Eating.
Do you relax and reward yourself by snacking in front of the TV? Are you skipping lunch and feeling starved by mid afternoon, and then become ready to eat anything in sight? Do you finish everything on your plate even after you start to feel full just because you took bigger portion than required ?
5. Control your Portions.
Re familiarize yourself with standard serving sizes. Control your portions, and stick to controlled standard serving size for longer till the time you achieve your weight loss goal.
6. Identify hunger and satiety cues.
Be aware of physical versus emotional hunger. Do you eat when you really feel hungry? Or do you eat when you are stressed, bored, tired, or anxious? Try to stop eating BEFORE getting full. Try to eat food that make you feel fuller. Foods that can help you feel fuller include high-fiber foods such as vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes; protein (fish, poultry, eggs); and water.
7. Focus on the Positive Changes.
Changing behavior takes time it may take about 1-3 months. Don’t give up if you slip up along the way. Get support from others and take the time to acknowledge the changes you have made.
8. Go with the 80/20 rule.
Stay on track 80% of the time, but leave some room for a few indulgences. You don’t want to feel deprived or guilty.
9. Focus on Overall Health.
Walk, dance, bike, rake leaves, garden — find activities you enjoy and do them every day. Ditch the “diet” aisle and focus on seasonal, whole, high-quality foods.
10. Eat Mindfully.
Enjoy the entire experience of eating. Take the time to appreciate the aromas, tastes, and textures of the meal in front of you.
Changing behavior takes time and effort. Taking a even few small steps today will make a difference in your health tomorrow.