What’s Proven To Work For Weight Loss?

Blog, Wellness

Weight Loss… What’s Proven to Work?
by Melinda D. Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDE

It’s easy to get discouraged when it comes to weight loss, but there’s good news. Here is a list of suggestions that have been shown in clinical studies to contribute to the success of those who’ve lost weight and kept it off. While there isn’t one thing that works equally well for everyone, review these ideas and focus on a few that you think might work best for you. And avoid making too many changes at once– you’re looking for changes you can make that you can stick to forever.

Choose your foods wisely

Use the Plate Method Using a smaller (9 inch/23 cm) plate helps control calories.  Fill ½ the plate with fruits and veggies, ¼ with a whole grain or carbohydrate and ¼ with a lean protein.  
Fill up on Fiber Use only whole grains and have at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies/day.   
Drink sugar-free Don’t drink your calories!  Except for milk, avoid sugar sweetened drinks like sodas and fruity beverages.  Drink lots of water, seltzer and unsweet teas or coffee.
Eat breakfast By starting the day with a healthy breakfast you’ll be less likely to over eat later on.  
Quality counts Focus more on choosing whole, unprocessed foods and less on counting every calorie or gram. Aim for 80-20, healthy choices 80% of the time… allowing room for a few treats.  
Plan Ahead The more you plan ahead what you’ll eat, the less likely you are to over eat.  Consider using a meal replacement drink, snack bar or frozen prepared meal to limit excess calories.

Seek Help

Talk with a dietitian

If you need help with a personal meal plan or helping work through challenges you face with a healthy eating plan, a dietitian can help.

Join a weight group

Groups such as Weight Watchers can be very helpful in providing eating suggestions as well as support.  Choose either in person meetings or online groups.

Seek support

Talk with your family members and friends about ways they can be helpful (and not nagging!)  Have a buddy or a sponsor you can call if times get tough – or when you want to celebrate success!

Ask about weight loss medications

Let your doctor know what you’re doing. There are new medicines that may be helpful.  Ask if any may be right for you.

Bariatric surgery

Another thing to talk to your doctor about is whether bariatric surgery (such as gastric bypass or other weight-loss surgeries) might be an option for you.

Get Active

Establish a routine Aim for at least 150 minutes of activity a week.  If you’re already there – add a little more.
Walking works Every day, inside or out, walking is great.  Keep track of steps and follow your progress.
Don’t resist resistance Exercises that help you build and strengthen muscles will help burn more calories.  Try using resistance bands or light weights.

Establish new behaviors and attitudes

Think lifestyle – not diet Managing weight is usually a lifetime process.  Don’t think about a “diet” – something you go on and off.. but a healthy way of living!  
Eat mindfully Learn how all foods can fit when you eat slowly and without distraction.  
Nothing after 9pm Set your own limits and establish smart eating habits.  Aim for 3 meals a day, some snacks if desired but stop eating after 9pm at night.
Use a food journal Keeping a food journal helps you identify your weak spot where you need to focus more attention.  Recording what you eat each day helps you be more aware (and you limit what you eat!)
Set small goals Small changes – done consistently over time, can yield big results. 
Regular weighing Weigh yourself at the same time each day.  Don’t get flustered by small day-to-day changes, but catch patterns before they become problems.

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