What Is a Healthy Approach to Weight Loss?
Changing the way you approach weight loss can help you be more successful in the long run. Most people focus only on their overall goal to lose weight. However, setting goals to make changes in your lifestyle can be much more effective. Goals to consider include: following a healthy eating plan, watching portion sizes, decreasing the amount of time you spend sitting, increasing your physical activity, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep.
To maintain a stable weight, your energy (kilojoule) intake needs to equal the energy you use. If you use more energy than you consume, you will lose weight. On the other hand, if you eat more than you use, you will gain weight. The sensible answer to losing excess body fat is to make small healthy changes to your eating and exercise habits.
A combination of eating fewer calories and getting more physical activity is the best approach. This can help decrease the fat you carry around your middle and increase your strength and the fitness of your heart and lungs. Initially, plan to lose about 5-10% of your body weight. (For example, if you weigh 250 pounds, multiply this number by 0.10 = 25 pounds = 10%). This amount can make a big difference in your health. You can continue to lose more as needed.
People lose weight at different paces. It is important to keep your expectations realistic. Aim to lose one to two pounds per week for a period of six months (depending on how much weight you need to lose). Don’t give up. Women, in particular, have difficulty losing more than one pound per week. In order to lose one pound of weight per week, you need to eat 3500 fewer calories per week or burn up that many calories through exercise. A nutritionist can help develop a plan just for you, finding ways to eliminate 500 to 1,000 calories per day.
A healthy approach to weight loss will include some or all of the following approaches:
1) good nutrition,
2) diet or weight loss programs,
3) exercise and movement,
4) supplements and herbs,
5) medication review,
6) mind-body therapy,
7) adequate sleep,
and 8) acupuncture and hypnosis.
Recent research has shown that a low-carb diet can reduce body weight and some cardiovascular disease risk factors, but differential adherence may play a role in these effects. The meaning of “low carb” varies from diet to diet. Some diets recommend extreme restriction of all carbohydrates, while others merely limit carbohydrates to primarily whole grains. What “low carb” means really depends on the diet and how it is followed.