How You Can Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals

Have you decided to start eating healthier and becoming more physically active? Have you realized that healthy choices have a positive impact on not only yourself, but also those around you?

If your goal is to lose weight or maintain your current healthy weight, here are some tips to help you achieve that goal.

Keep a Food Journal. Keeping track of what you ate, at what time and where and when will help you understand what triggers your hunger and what satisfies your appetite. What food do you routinely shop for? What snacks do you keep in your pantry?

Eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and they are filling. Fruits and vegetables are packed with beneficial fibers, vitamins and antioxidants. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Drink Water. You should at least drink 8 glasses of water a day. It provides hydration to your body and helps you feel full.

Allow yourself a treat. Give yourself a small treat once or twice a week. Think of it as your weekly rewards for being good. Cutting out too much of your favorite treats makes you feel deprived and restricted.

Eating Out. If you choose to eat out, watch your portions. The portion sizes at restaurants are usually more than one serving, which can result in overeating. Choose smaller portion sizes, order an appetizer and a leafy green salad with low-fat dressing, share an entree with a friend, or get a “doggy bag” and save half for another meal. Most people find it easier to lose weight by packing a home-cooked lunch for work instead of eating out.

Choose snacks that are nutritious and filling. A piece of fresh fruit, cut raw vegetables, or a container of low-fat yogurt are excellent choices to tide you over until mealtimes. Take these snacks with you for a healthy alternative to chips, cookies or candy.

Check the food labels. Always read the nutrition labels on the packaging. A product that is labeled fat-free does not necessarily mean that it has no fat and a product labeled as low-sugar or low-calorie does not mean that it is low in fat or calories. Look at the calories on the label and compare them with what nutrients you are also getting to decide whether the food is worth eating. One serving of a single food item that has over 400 calories is high in calories. Most packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts label. For a healthier you, use this tool to make smart food choices quickly and easily. Try these tips:

  • Keep these low: saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium

  • Get enough of these: potassium, fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron

  • Use the % Daily Value (DV) column when possible: 5%DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high

Don’t Skip Meals. Don’t skip meals during the day. Try to eat three sensible meals at regular times throughout the day. Skipping meals may lead you to eat larger portions of higher-calorie, high-fat foods at your next meal or snack. Eat breakfast every day.

Eat Slowly. Eat only when you are hungry, and enjoy the taste, texture and smell of your meal as you eat it. Remember that it takes approximately 15 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full.

Watch your portion size. Look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients. Try to control you portions at home. Remember that you don’t need to finish your plate every time.

Start using a scale to measure your servings. Read food labels to determine serving sizes. One bowl of cereal may actually be two ¾ cup servings. A small frozen pizza may contain upto three servings. This could add up to more calories than you think you are getting. Being aware of serving sizes may make it easier to avoid those extra calories.

Regular Physical Activity. Physical activity may help you lose weight and keep weight off. It may also improve your energy level and mood, and lower your risk for developing diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Experts recommend doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most or all days of the week for good health. To lose weight or maintain a weight loss, you may need to do more than 30 minutes of physical activity a day, as well as follow your healthy eating plan.

  • Be physically active, at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

  • Increasing the intensity or the amount of time that you are physically active can have even greater health benefits and may be needed to control body weight. About 60 minutes a day may be needed to prevent weight gain.

    Remember; do 30 – 60 minutes of physical activity a day to stay healthy. You should exercise at least 2 times a week to help you burn calories. Remember that it is better to exercise for a short period such as 25 minutes every day than 2 training days per week.