One of the resolutions that many people make in the new year is to lose weight, and they certainly aren’t alone. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 65 percent of American adults are overweight and often they are looking for new ways to get their extra poundage under control.
But staying focused on a weight management plan beyond the first few weeks of 2013 is easier when people choose dieting methods that they can easily integrate into their daily routines.
“People need a motivation to lose weight and the new year is an opportunity to start fresh,” stated Jessica Bartfield, M.D., a professor at the Loyola University Health System.
The heart of any weight control plan is to lower caloric intake. A well-balanced diet of low-fat, low calorie foods eaten in smaller portions is a good start. Adding a meal supplement into the mix is an easy way to add nutrients to one’s diet and keep the calories down.
Skinny D, a dietary supplement offered by Dr. Newton’s Naturals, is a concentrate that allows individuals to replace one meal a day while stopping sugar cravings. Clinically tested to reduce pounds, it adds a mere 10 calories per serving to the daily calorie count.
Combining different food strategies has the added bonus of keeping a diet program varied and more interesting. As the pounds roll off the mid-section, people will also be lowering their risk for several health concerns, including elevated cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Keeping a weight loss regimen on track can be accomplished with a series of small steps, according to health experts at Loyola and the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), which tracks more than 10,000 people nationally who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for a lengthy period.
One of their tips is to start the day right with a healthy breakfast. When eaten within one hour of waking up, the NIH reports that breakfast can boost metabolism by 20 percent and will maintain it at that level throughout the day.
Keeping a daily log tracks food intake, including snacks, full meals and consumption of dietary supplements helps prevent dieters from underestimating the number of calories consumed in a day.
“Keep a food journal and then look up the calories for what you eat,” advises Bartfield. “Compare that to the caloric recommendation for losing weight and you will likely be surprised at how much you are overeating.”
Realistic weight loss
Aiming for a slow, realistic loss, such as 10 percent of one’s body weight, will make the plan less daunting. Even a small success in the first few weeks will offer the incentive most people need to stay the course for the rest of the year.
Weighing oneself only once a week is enough to monitor progress in a diet plan, according to NWCR recommendations. It also helps people detect fluctuations and adjust their behavior in the coming week. Eating at regular intervals seven days a week – rather than adopting an eat-what- you-want attitude on weekends – typically prevents weight from yo-yoing week to week.
Experts at Loyola and NWCR also recommend turning off the TV in favor of more active pursuits. Their studies show that people who watch fewer than 10 hours of television a week have the greatest success in losing weight. The registry reports that 62 percent of its participants say they adhere to this schedule.
The experts also warn people to expect setbacks and learn from them. “Changing behavior is tough,” said Bartfield. “It is actually a skill and needs to be approached that way.”