Nearly half of all American adults are trying to lose weight, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The paths people choose to accomplish their weight loss goals may vary from person to person. Some find success with diet and exercise, some decide to pursue gastric sleeve, gastric banding, or gastric bypass surgery, and some opt for other alternatives. Whichever path they choose, the lessons learned from successful weight loss are worth sharing. We’ve selected 5 tips shared by people who have been able to lose weight and keep it off in an effort to help you find what works best for you to be successful in your weight loss efforts.
Set a schedule and stick with it.
This advice is primarily aimed at scheduling time for exercise, but it can work for eating habits as well. Find the time of day that works best for your workouts and consider them to be akin to an appointment. For some, it’s before work or before breakfast. Often times that means you can exercise and shower before many members of your household are even out of bed. That way exercise doesn’t interfere with things like work or taking the kids to school. For others, after work is a better time for exercise. It’s OK to get gross and sweaty if you’re heading home afterward and you don’t have to worry about showering and getting dressed for work in the locker room. It’s also a good way to work out any frustrations you felt during the workday in a productive manner. Once you’ve found the best time for you to work out, schedule it for yourself, and stick to your schedule. Similarly, stick to a meal schedule to avoid getting ravenous and overeating.
Shop the outside of the grocery store.
The outer perimeter of the grocery store is usually where you’ll find the freshest foods, but also the least processed. Highly processed foods (like prepackaged meals or canned soups) are usually found in the middle aisles, so try to avoid those aisles. Buying fresh and minimally packaged foods means you have greater control over what ingredients you are putting into your body and frequently provide more of the good stuff (like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein) and less of the bad stuff (sodium, added sugars, preservatives, and saturated fats). Try to fill your grocery cart (and thus your fridge and pantry) with lean meats and fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, low fat dairy, eggs, and whole grains.
Chew your food more and eat slower.
This is especially important to gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients. Chewing your foods for longer than you may be used to can help break down the food into smaller pieces and promote healthier and more complete digestion. Eating more slowly has been shown to reduce overall intake, which means you’re eating less, therefore consuming less calories. Your brain has more time to register that you are full and signal you to stop eating. Putting your utensil down between bites is a good method of helping to slow your eating. Also, pay attention to your food and your eating behavior during meals and snacks instead of watching TV or scrolling through social media.
Pay attention to the cues that contribute to bad habits.
Watching cooking or baking shows on TV may be an easy place to start. Don’t watch things that make you want to eat unhealthy foods. Also pay attention to how you react to commercials, or videos, or even free samples and sales at the grocery store. Avoid going to places or restaurants where you know it’s hard to resist buying something unhealthy (like a donut shop for your morning coffee). Instead, try to find things that encourage healthier eating and motivate you to stick to your workout schedule.
Don’t lose sight of your goal.
This is a big one. Always remember why you are doing this. There may be times you’ll feel like you’re torturing yourself, but try to remember why. Is it that you want to fit into your ideal wedding dress, do you want to be able to run a 5K, do you want to avoid having to take insulin to control your blood sugar, or do you can be there to watch your grandchildren grow? A number on a scale can sometimes seem meaningless, but recognizing what you want to be able to achieve can often provide you with the motivation to keep going even when you feel like you want to stop.
These tips for weight loss, healthy eating, and exercise can help inspire you to achieve your goal. Find what motivates you. Once you’ve found the diet and exercise routines that you can do, stick with them. Motivation and consistency are often keys to successful weight loss. Find yours.
These suggestions are offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a Center of Excellence Surgeon specializing in gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s reputation for excellent surgical skills and comfortable bedside manner attract patients from all over Florida, including Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Port St. Lucie, and Orlando. His bariatric weight loss patients receive top notch care during their hospital stay at Northwest Medical Center’s Center for Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, where he serves as Medical Director, and during their follow up care in his Boca Raton office.