Updated: Oct 23
If you’ve ever struggled to lose weight, I’m sure you’ve resorted to trying everything you can find on the internet- from diet teas, and weight loss pills to powders you shake on your foods. But have any of these things worked? Or did you gain all the weight back after stopping them? If you answered yes to that last question, you are not alone. Diet pills and supplements just don’t work when it comes to long-term weight loss, because when you finish them, you are continuing the unhealthy habits you had before you started them. What does work is losing weight in a sustainable long-term manner that involves changing your lifestyle for the long term. Weight loss isn’t a quick task either, if you do it in the right way you will slowly see the weight come off. It is recommended that you don’t lose more than 1-2 pounds per week. This is because your body will need to adjust a lot of its functions as you are losing weight, and if you do this too quickly your body won’t be able to keep up and it can become dangerous. Now that we know our goal; 1-2 lbs per week, let’s talk about how to get there. Taking the first step can be the hardest part, but you need to make the commitment if it’s going to work. Writing a written contract can be useful. Include the total amount of weight you want to lose (realistically), the exercise plans you have, dietary changes you’d like to make, any lifestyle changes you want to make, etc. Make these specific and reasonable though. Like exercise for 15 minutes, 3 times a week, instead of just exercise. Or include a vegetable with every meal, instead of eating more vegetables. Come up with the reason you want to lose weight. Examples would be because you were diagnosed with pre-diabetes and you don’t want it to progress, or you want to avoid a family history of heart disease, or even as simple as you want to feel more confident. Next look at your current lifestyle and what changes you can make to it. Are you getting takeout every night? Do you eat fast food often because you are busy? How often do you go grocery shopping? Do you gravitate towards sugary snacks? Starting with a food diary of everything you eat in a 2- or 3-day span can help you see things more clearly in terms of your diet. Note what you are doing when you’re eating, or how much time you have for meals. Think about if you need help with this, either from a family member, your doctor, or seeing a Registered Dietitian who specializes in weight loss. Once you get started remembering to check in with yourself every now and then, but not too often. Since weight loss happens slowly it’s not good to weigh yourself every day, you won’t see any changes. Instead, weigh yourself every week or every other week. Make sure you do it at the same time of day each time to see the correct trends. Our weights fluctuate a lot throughout the day due to food intake, water intake, and body changes. If you weigh yourself at 5 p.m. every time you do it, you will get a much more accurate reading on how much weight you are losing. Don’t be afraid to adjust things as you go! If you initially set a goal for 30 min of exercise, 3 times a week and you find you only have time for 15 minutes, change your goal. Reward yourself as you meet your goals by buying a new clothing item or taking a night out with friends. Keep a look out for our next article on healthy dietary changes you can make to help with your weight loss journey!