If you’re overweight, it’s so important to shed those extra pounds. Even a small weight loss can make you healthier and help ward off problems like heart disease and diabetes. You know that, but how to do it? All this month, we’re exploring tips offered by the National Weight Control Registry. According to a recent study looking at participants in the registry, successful weight-loss maintainers:
- Weigh themselves at least weekly. This is a good reminder that you’re actively working on weight loss and helps you monitor your progress. It’s easy to slack off once you have some success, and weekly weigh-ins will keep you on track. I don’t recommend daily weigh-ins, because our weight naturally fluctuates so it can be frustrating to see the scale up one day with no real understanding of why that is.
- Count calories and fat grams. I actually find this limiting and encourages people to eat more packaged foods (instead of whole foods) because it’s easy to see what the caloric value of the food is. I offer a twist on this – learn what a serving size is and how many servings are right for you. For example, once you learn that a serving of cooked grains is half of a cup, you can apply that to any cooked grain. This encourages you to make healthier choices and include healthy fats like olive oil rather than eliminating them because they’re high in calories. The key to both methods is knowing how much you’re eating.
- Limit eating out to an average of three times per week including all meals and limit fast food to less than once a week. Eating out can be tricky when you’re trying to lose weight. There can be a ton of hidden (or not so hidden) fat and salt in restaurant food, especially fast food. And since eating out is more of a treat than eating at home, you’re more likely to choose higher calorie meals. Save calories (and money) by eating at home more. When you do eat out, feel free to make special requests like no added butter or salt. Start with a green salad to boost your veggie intake. Split an entree with your date. Order from the appetizer menu rather than the main course menu. And be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush out the extra salt you may be eating.
Next week, we’ll take a look at a perfect weight loss day.