- Be realistic. Whether it’s the last 5 pounds from the last baby or 50 pounds that you’ve been carrying around for a decade or more, you didn’t put the weight on overnight and it’s not going to come off overnight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a safe rate of weight loss is one to two pounds per week (though you might lose a bit more the first week or two of a diet). If you lose one pound per week starting now, by next Christmas, you’ll be 50 pounds lighter, assuming you have that much you can safely lose! So don’t lose hope, but don’t expect a miracle, either.
- Remember that weight loss is all about calories in versus calories out. In order to lose one pounds, you need to burn off or cut back 3,500 calories. So if you can burn off 250 calories per day through exercise and cut back 250 calories per day by cutting back portion sizes a bit, you will lose one pound per week. If you can double both of those numbers, you can lose about two pounds per week, which is the maximum that you should be striving for.
- Instead of counting calories, consider simply changing your focus. If you concentrate on filling half your plate with fruit or veggies (raw or cooked in a way that doesn’t add fat or sugar) at each meal, using low-fat or skim dairy products whenever possible, eating lean protein like white meat poultry and fish, and choosing whole grains over white ones, you may lose weight without trying too hard. Allow yourself 50 or 100 calories of “junk” food each day in order to avoid feeling deprived.
- In the same respect, try to go for a brisk 30-minute walk each day (or three, 10-minute walks if that is easier for you to fit in) and doing things like parking at the far end of the grocery store parking lot and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. These little changes can burn enough calories that you’ll see some progress even without counting the number of calories that you are burning.
Try to make one little change at a time. This will make it easier for you to stick to your goals. For example, arrange to meet a friend for a walk three mornings per week. That will start you toward your goal of better health. Next, switch to drinking only water with meals, instead of sodas or fruit juices. Then make it a goal to add a piece of fruit and a fresh vegetable to each day’s menu. Little things like this add up and can yield big results!
It should go without saying that you should check with your doctor before starting any weight loss plan. He can give you some tips and hints, and can also help you find a reasonable weight loss goal. He will also tell you if you have any health problems that would preclude heavy workouts or certain diets.
Is weight loss one of your resolutions for 2013? Instead of leaving that as your resolution, boost your chances of success by choosing one small thing to change starting next week. What will you start with?
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