General Tips for Weight Loss and a Healthy Lifestyle
Aim to lose no more than 1-2 pounds each week, more is unrealistic and suggests a lifestyle you likely will not be able to maintain.
1 pound of weight lost is 3500 calories, therefore a 500-1000 calorie deficit between calories eaten versus calories burned each day will lead to a 1-2 pound loss each week. (i.e. average woman burns 1800 calories per day without exercise, so 1300 calories each day would lead to a 1 pound weight loss each week – add exercise to increase the amount burned!)
Eat every 2-3 hours, NO MATTER WHAT! DO NOT SKIP MEALS!
Do not “bank” your calories by starving yourself all day and eating the majority of food in one sitting. This will not be effective toward weight loss and is hard on your body’s metabolism.
Carry a healthy snack on you at all times so you do not go too long without eating.
Alcohol will make weight loss more difficult, monitor the amount you drink and how often.
Tiny bites of food throughout the day add up. Avoid eating off your kids or partners plates! Be mindful of everything you put in your mouth throughout the day.
Drink 8 or more glasses of water each day. Work hard to make this a habit. Purchase a water bottle and carry it on you everywhere!
If you’re hungry outside of your normal eating times, drink some water and wait 10-15 minutes. If you’re still hungry eat a healthy snack of 100-200 calories. You may be burning more calories today and need the extra nutrition! (Remember extra calories are burned just through our daily movement, so walking around for a job or shopping, etc. increases your daily caloric burn).
Weight loss is not about eating foods you don’t enjoy. Learn how to incorporate the foods you enjoy into your health lifestyle.
Weight loss is not about feeling deprived and hungry all of the time. If you are really hungry, you may need to increase your calorie intake for the day. Go ahead and grab that 100-200 calorie healthy snack.
Pay attention to your emotions when you eat. If you are mad at your spouse, kids, co-workers, friends, etc. does it make you more likely to grab that sweet treat? Or eat mindlessly? What other emotions lead you to eat? Log this in a food diary!
When do you find yourself engaging in mindless eating? Find ways to distract yourself and stay out of the kitchen when feeling this way.
Sometimes eating is mindless and we may indulge literally before we even think about it! If you catch yourself in the act, stop and remind yourself your eating is mindless, then choose to start healthy again the next minute! No need to beat yourself up, this is how we learn to begin controlling mindless eating… discovering and being aware of when we are doing it and catching it earlier every time!
SLEEP!!!! This is one of the most important factors in weight loss. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If this is not happening for you, learn tips for healthier sleep habits and work toward getting the right amount of sleep.
If you are hungry before bed, aim for a high protein snack such as yogurt, cheese stick, or egg whites. Feeling very hungry before bed may limit ability to sleep well.
No one has time to exercise all day, every day. Make realistic exercise goals for yourself and strive to be more active throughout the day. Change up your exercise regimen periodically to keep your body guessing and avoiding big plateaus.
I am a licensed clinical psychologist with specialty in weight management. I myself have lost more than 80 pounds and kept it off; through graduate school, kids with chronic illness, divorce, working full-time, remarriage, blended family, and that never ending search for balance!
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