Losing weight is often difficult to do, especially if you have tried in the past, maybe even shed a few pounds, but failed to keep the weight off. This feeling of failure makes it even harder to build up the motivation to give it another go.
I am here to quell some myths about weight loss, and to empower you with the knowledge you need to lose weight healthfully—and to keep it off!
Here are 5 things you need to know to lose weight:
1. Calories in, calories out.
For the most part, the only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you burn from exercise, daily life, sleep, and the thermic effects of food (i.e. calories burned while digesting). If you consume 500 calories less than you burn every day for a week, you will lose one pound. If this sounds difficult or confusing, here’s a way to make it easy: Your Microsoft Band will accurately estimate the number of calories you burn throughout a day, so all you have to do is track the calories you consume. And there are great apps for tracking calorie consumption, such as “Lose It” and “MyFitnessPal.” And, really, all you have to remember is to eat 500 fewer calories than you burn!
2. Exercise is your friend.
While not necessary to lose weight, exercise will make your body burn more calories and therefore speed up the process. It’s just that simple. Check out my tips on how to get started with an exercise routine. There are also numerous other health benefits associated with exercise, including reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and it increases bone and muscle strength.
3. Watch what you put on your plate.
There is no one-size-fits-all meal plan for every person, and we all have different dietary needs, based on age, sex, cultural/religious beliefs, activity level, and health history. But here are some tips that everyone can adopt as positive eating habits:
- Choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein foods, dairy (unless otherwise specified by a dietician), and oils.
- Make sure to monitor portion size and track calories using a food diary or an app like "Lose It."
- For more information about how to balance your meal plan, go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
4. Drinking your calories is a no-no!
This may be a tough one for a lot of us. Drinking sugary drinks like soda, Gatorade, and sweet tea is a quick way to consume too many calories! In fact, did you know that one 20-oz. bottle of soda contains your maximum recommended sugar intake for 2.6 days?! Stick to water, low-fat milk, and coffee and tea without sugar to achieve fluid balance.
5. Don’t stress about it.
Don’t try to do it all in the first day. Make incrementally healthy changes every week, and over time you will gain confidence and your hard work will begin to pay off.
Marco Day, an ImagineCare Health Navigator, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Movement Training Specialist. Prior to joining ImagineCare, he worked with clients at River Valley Club in Lebanon, NH, on exercise program design and prescription, weight-loss corrective exercise prescription, and personal training. He loves any opportunity to help people make positive health changes.