Rosemary Mueller, Clinical Dietitian
Why wait to embark on a weight management effort? Now is the perfect time to make some changes. The air is crisp, the trees explode in color and we all feel a sense of renewal – an impetus for behavior change.
Behavior change for weight loss requires a solid plan. So, how do we get started? Six strategies can make up a plan for safe and effective weight loss and ultimately, the permanent management of weight and they all work synergistically.
T – Track
Not many people like to do it, but it is essential to track your food intake – at least initially. Use your PC or an app on your smart phone. Suggested free apps include MyFitnessPal.com, Sparkpeople.com or use the tracking system that came with your Fitbit, Garmin or Polar fitness tracking devices.
E – Exercise
Yes, it’s essential. Start with a trainer to learn the appropriate and safe way to do it. Include cardio, flexibility and strength training, which will build muscle. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. When you have more muscle, you “get” to eat more.
A – Accountability
Whether it’s a friend, a dietitian, your trainer or a workplace group weight loss challenge, research shows that being accountable to someone is critical for good follow-through on your weekly meal plan and exercise goals.
M – Meal plan
“Diet” is not about deprivation, but it is about reshaping your day-in-and-day-out eating habits. Load up your plate with veggies. Lean protein, low-fat dairy and healthy fats should be part of meals and snacks. Fruit should play a regular role. Limit starchy carbs to no more than two for each meal and snack. Avoid sweetened beverages. An individualized plan typically works best and can be set up by a registered dietitian.
S – Sleep
You may be surprised to know that getting your zzz’s is part of weight loss success. Aim for 7-9 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep per night. Practice good sleep hygiene to accomplish this.
+ F – Fluids
The right amount of fluid is essential. Take your weight in pounds and divide by two. This is your fluid guideline in ounces of water per day. You don’t need to exceed one gallon (or 128 oz.) of fluid. Water should make up half of that fluid total or more.
That’s it – six strategies (T-E-A-M-S + F) to jump-start your weight loss. I challenge you to implement them all and see your results. Need some help? NCH personal trainers and dietitians are available to get you on track.
For more information on how to jump start your weight loss, call 847 618-3500.