What are tips for losing weight?

Eric Olsen

Here are some principles to keep in mind as you try to lose weight effectively:

  • We use terms such as overweight and overfat indiscriminately; with regard to your health, it's not what you weigh that's important, but how much of you is fat. If you've decided to lose weight, stop thinking about losing weight; think about losing fat instead.
  • Take the long view and set realistic short- and long-term weight-loss goals. Healthful weight loss is slow and steady. Too-rapid weight loss is bad for the health and almost always results in rebound and overall weight gain. Don't try to lose more than one percent of your body weight each week.
  • Become more active. Although any activity will help you lose weight, for best results, try to include some moderately vigorous activity in your weekly routine.
  • Don't diet by restricting calories; instead, shift your diet toward more healthful eating.
  • Eat a variety of "nutritionally dense" foods, whole-grain products such as bread, pasta, and cereal, and vegetables and fruit.
  • Protein is important, but as much as possible, opt for lean meats, including fish, poultry with the skin removed, and lean cuts of beef and pork with any fat trimmed off.
  • As you limit fat in your diet, make sure you cut the most harmful fats. These are the saturated fats found in animal products and solid vegetable oils such as margarine or other hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Use liquid vegetable oils whenever you need to use oil for cooking. Liquid vegetable oils, and olive oil in particular, contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that may help fight free radicals that accelerate aging.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplementation may benefit the health, although there's some debate whether they're necessary when the diet is varied and nutritious. Important antioxidants are vitamins A (15 to 30 milligrams daily); C (250 to 1,000 milligrams daily); E (100 to 400 international units daily), and folic acid. Calcium (1,000 to 1,200 milligrams daily) and D (600 to 800 international units daily) are essential to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Eat at least three meals a day -- breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- but more of smaller meals throughout the day are even better than three larger meals.
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water a day; water helps induce satiety and helps carry nutrients throughout your body
Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

More About this Book

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

Here are some tips for losing weight...

Boost your metabolism by eating four small meals each day, with a nutritious snack in between meals.

No matter what, DO NOT skip breakfast.

Start a resistance training program (lifting weights) that is designed specifically for you and your fitness goals. A certified personal trainer can help you with this.

Don't forget about your cardio workouts. These workouts will help burn calories and fire up your metabolism, which is essential for burning up stored fat on your body.

Start eating healthy foods and don't even buy foods that aren't good for you anymore. It's much easier to stop eating bad foods if they are not in the house.

Don't skip meals. Plain and simple...If you body thinks it is starving, it will shut down access to stored fat and start eating your muscles for energy instead. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU DO NOT WANT!

If at all possible, work with a personal trainer during your journey to perfect fitness. An experienced personal trainer will be a huge help to you and reaching your goals is always easier with a coach to guide you along the way.

Don't concentrate on "losing weight." Instead be more positive and concentrate on "gaining muscle." Here's why...Muscle eats Fat. The more muscle mass you have on your body, the more calories your body will constantly require to be used as energy.

After your body is conditioned properly (see working with a personal trainer above) it will be turning to your stored body fat to use as energy and thus you will be losing weight without even "thinking about it." Your muscles will just eat away the fat. It's that simple.

And here is the last tip....No matter what you are doing, your body will react better if you are feeling good and having fun.

So make exercise a lifestyle, not a hassling chore. Pick things that you like, and you will stay with them and have a lot more fun in the process.

And that will get you better results each and every time.

Follow these tips to get started on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight:
  • Make a plan: Adopt a few specific small changes. When you make a realistic plan, the changes won't seem so overwhelming. A few small healthy changes, such as adding one piece of fruit to your diet each day, aren't difficult to do and can make a huge difference to your health.
  • Focus on your food: Plan your meals so you aren't forced to make unhealthy decisions based on convenience. Making sure you eat balanced meals with appropriate portions will help you manage your caloric intake.
  • Make calories count: Make meal choices that focus on nutrient-rich foods. The majority of your food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.
  • Increase physical activity: Regular physical activity is important for overall health and fitness. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day most days a week.
  • Play it safe: Even the right food choices can affect your health if you don't follow food safety rules. Always clean hands and food-preparation surfaces, keep raw and cooked foods separate, cook foods to a proper temperature and chill leftovers promptly to avoid illness.
  • Be aware of special dietary needs: Nutritional needs change depending upon your age and overall health. Older adults need more vitamin D and calcium to help maintain bone health. It's important to check with a registered dietitian to figure out your specific nutritional needs.
Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Set yourself up for success. Make a grocery list and keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with nutrient dense foods available to have on hand. Prepare your own whole foods so that you can eat a variety of foods with less added fat, sodium and sugar. Weight loss involves many factors including your environment, behavior change, genetics, health status, physical activity and diet. Reducing calories in your diet is an effective way for most people to lose weight. Long term healthy weight maintenance for vitality and to prevent chronic disease is best achieved with a nutrient dense diet plan including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil, proteins including lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts, legumes, beans, soy or dairy and reduced saturated fat, sodium and sugar in processed and packaged foods. Drink unsweetened beverages such as tea, coffee or water infused with fruit for flavor or a natural sweetener such as stevia.

Strive for physical activity daily in which you break a sweat for at least 30 minutes. It should be fun or you will not maintain it. Include a variety of different activities to keep from getting bored. Weight resistance training is important to build lean muscle tissue, which will help to burn calories and give your body definition and tone. If you are unsure if you are healthy enough for exercise, check with your doctor. As a rule you should be able to talk while you walk. If you are out of breath and unable to talk while exercising, decrease the intensity.

Sari Greaves
Nutrition & Dietetics

First and foremost, recognize those barriers that have been keeping you from tackling your weight loss for good. We all know that you have to reduce your calories and increase your activity but what is it that keeps most of us from being from successful? Studies show that most people don't succeed because they feel like they have to fit into the "cookie cutter diet plan" but you need to identify your hurdles, eliminate the obstacles and find the plan that is best for you!

Following are some tips for successful weight loss:

  • Calories -- It's not all or nothing. You know your goal, and adjust your meals and snacks to meet your lifestyle. Save calories for the meal you eat with others and make the other two meals simple and easy. This gives you an option to relax around your most important meal and makes meeting your goal easier.
  • Snacks -- Keep them on you as much as possible so they can be "no-brainers". Veggies and fruit are great but not always convenient so keep bars or bags of low calorie snacks for those "off" times.
  • Drinks -- They count. Think low calorie mixed drinks or wine and try very hard to keep it to no more than two.
  • Activity -- If you have not gone on your treadmill in a year, or gone to the gym or gotten on your bike -- You are not going to. Recognize that you are not lazy or unmotivated but you are choosing activities that you either don't like or cannot fit into your day. Change your outlook on burning off calories and make it easy. Try increasing your steps during the day. Walk at least 10 minutes during any break at work and don't let yourself sit for more than 1 hour at a time. Try some activities that are "out of the box" -- get a wii fit, wear a pedometer or join a "private" gym or personal training facility that is not intimidating and lets you meet your goals!
  • There is no rush -- You are not the biggest loser!!! Shoot for at least 1 pound a week and if you do more, great!
These are just some easy tips to help get you started. If you have failed before it is not due to lack of willpower or determination -- it is simply that you are choosing a path that will not work for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.