Tips for Sticking to Your Weight Loss Goals
As the new year begins, many of us think about making changes to our lives to be healthier, which often includes weight loss goals. Have you been more active? Are you eating better and moving more, but finding progress on your weight loss goals to be frustrating? Let’s drop the weight and not your resolutions by coming up with the right weight loss solution to fit your needs. Advanced Laparoscopic Associates (ALA) has weight loss tips to make staying on track easier.
Set Realistic Expectations
First, set realistic and concrete expectations about your goals for weight loss:
- Aim for slow, modest weight loss
- Set specific, measurable goals
- Move at your own pace to reach them
Setting smaller goals can help lead to achieving an overall bigger goal. For example, if your bigger goal is to be more active, start by setting a smaller expectation of taking at least two walks a week. Tackling big goals in smaller steps will ensure a higher success rate.
Make a Plan
Sticking to your weight loss goals when dining out or traveling is challenging because you have less control of your food choices and availability. Planning ahead will help avoid setbacks and ease stress.
When eating out, look at the menu beforehand to see what entrees align with your weight loss goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about ingredients or how the food is cooked. Feel free to customize your meal too. Switching out your french fries or mashed potatoes with some veggies or a side salad is a great way to enjoy the meal of your choosing while still staying on track.
When it comes to traveling, your only goals should be to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. Plan your meals ahead by researching restaurants that offer foods to fit your needs. If you’re able to pack healthy snacks, even better!
It is possible to stay on track and feel great on vacation. Search for a gym where you’re staying or plan a great hike. Getting in a workout on vacation can keep you focused on your goals and is a great way to explore the outdoors.
Find Your Support System
Your family and friends can be a great source of support as you work toward your weight loss goals, and they may even want to join you on the weight loss journey. Plan healthy meals with your family or start a healthy potluck once a week at work. Meal prepping together is a great way to bond, learn new recipes and plan all your healthy meals for the week. Recruiting others to be active with you will help you stay motivated and keep you accountable for your progress. Consider signing up for a fun fitness class together. Many fitness classes are now available online to help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19, but allow you to stay connected to your fellow classmates. By making healthy choices together, you may find it’s easier to achieve your weight loss goals.
Find What Motivates You
People have a variety of reasons for wanting to lose weight. Think about why you want to be healthier, and remind yourself often of your “why.” Make your motivator visible for you to see every morning. For example:
- Set it as a phone background
- Hang a picture on the wall
- Place a phrase by the door or your mirror
Having a constant reminder about why you started will help keep you motivated to stay on track. Perhaps you want to have more energy to play with your children or to be able to carry your own grocery bags to your car at the grocery store. When setbacks occur, remember your reasons for making changes and then make the decision to get back on track.
Ways to Prioritize Healthy Food Options
When making dietary changes to support your weight loss goals, prioritize foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients, such as:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables, like collard greens, kale, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes
- Whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-grain bread and pasta, and brown rice
- Seafood, lean meats, poultry and eggs
- Beans, peas, unsalted nuts and seeds
- Low-fat milk and milk products
Limit foods and drinks that pack a lot of calories, but lack the essential nutrients your body needs, such as:
- Sugar-sweetened drinks and foods
- Foods with solid fats like butter, margarine, lard and shortening
- White bread, rice and pasta made from refined grains
- Foods with added salt
When making your grocery list, fill it with nutrient-dense foods and stick to it. Never shop when you’re hungry! Your cravings will take over your grocery list and you’ll likely find yourself reaching for less healthy food options.
Moderation is Key!
Adopting a flexible mindset about what to eat and drink can help you feel better and achieve your weight loss goals. Ditch “all-or-nothing” thinking, which can lead to negative self-talk or being hard on yourself for small indulgences, overeating or even weight gain. The more you restrict, the more likely you may overeat later on. Everything is okay in moderation. If you ensure that you are getting all the proper nutrients and protein in your diet, a small piece of chocolate every now and then won’t throw you off your path to success.
When you feel the desire to splurge in less healthy ways, try something else first, such as drinking a glass of water, eating a piece of fruit, or walking around your house or office for five minutes. These diversions might be enough to help you resist those less healthy temptations.
Keeping Healthy Snacks on Hand
Whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go, snacks can help combat hunger and prevent overeating, as long as you include healthy choices and snack mindfully. A “recipe” for healthier snacks to keep on hand includes:
- Baby carrots or sugar snap peas with hummus
- Fresh fruit
- Nuts or beans (like hummus)
- Low-fat dairy (string cheese)
- A whole grain, such as whole-wheat bread or whole-grain crackers and guacamole
These types of snacks are easy to prepare in advance for the week. Many of them even come individually prepacked in the produce section of your grocery store. A combination of these healthy food groups also gives your snacks more “staying power” to keep you from getting hungry before mealtime. Don’t forget to include a glass of water with your snack instead of a sweetened beverage.
Don’t keep foods high in fat, added sugar or salt in your home, workplace or car because you can’t consume what’s not there. Limiting high-calorie sports drinks and packaged, processed snacks, like chips or cookies, can help you reach your weight loss goals. Variety is key when it comes to snacking. Have a wide variety of healthy snacks as go-to’s to prevent you from looking at other, less healthy options to curb your cravings.
Get Up and Move!
Making physical activity a priority can help you to achieve your weight loss goals. Being physically active may also help you start feeling better by boosting mood, sharpening focus, reducing stress and improving sleep.
There are many ways to be active, including walking, dancing, gardening or lifting weights. Try to do at least 150 minutes (combined) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. If your time is limited, add in small amounts of physical activity throughout your day. Not sure where to start? Make a list of exercise options that appeal to you, and stick with what you enjoy. For example, each time you get up from your desk, do 10 squats. And remember, some physical activity each day is better than none.
Track Your Progress
Use a diary or food journal to help you track the foods and beverages you consume in a day, allowing you to see when you’re eating a healthy diet and when you might be slipping into less healthy eating or drinking patterns. You can also track your weight and measurements to help you see the progress you are making toward your weight loss goals. Tracking the way you feel each morning and each night, along with your food intake, can help you better visualize and understand the role healthy eating and exercise plays in your overall health and wellness. Using an app on your mobile phone is a popular way to track your goals and improve your health. Find a health app that best fits your weight loss goals and habits.
Considering Bariatric Surgery
If you have been tackling the same weight loss goals year after year and are still unhappy with the results, it may be time to consider bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery has proven to be an effective tool against weight loss, and if you are interested, our team at Advanced Laparoscopic Associates has the expertise to help you achieve and stick to your goals.
We recognize your needs extend beyond the surgery itself, that’s why we set you up for success by providing comprehensive, personalized care before, during and after your surgery.
Your weight-loss journey begins by attending a free virtual seminar or webinar hosted by our board-certified physicians and our certified bariatric nurse. These regular seminars include a detailed discussion of the various surgical options available to you and provide an opportunity to answer questions you may have.
Contact us today if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with one of our surgeons. They will meet with you in the office for a private consultation. At that meeting, the doctor will review your specific health issues and concerns, answer any questions you may have and set a date for surgery.