So many patients assume that I know nothing about weight loss, and that I am naturally slim and toned. I always make it a point to let them know that I work extremely hard to be in the shape that I am in, and its to the point that I keep a food diary in order to measure my intake. Now, I know that this may sound harsh, but it is the only way that I could ensure my caloric intake for the day is lower than the amount that I burn on a given day. My mother has hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, and for as far as I can remember, she has always been on a “diet”. I use quotes, because a diet signifies a short term situation. The word lifestyle should replace the word “diet” indefinitely! Now, being that the formula for losing weight is “eating fewer calories than you can burn”, the why can’t most people do this? It sounds easy enough…straight forward even..well, what works for me may not work for other people. There is no short cut, but you must be motivated and have a positive attitude towards weight loss, in order to achieve it. This excitement must be authentic, because the journey is not a short one. It will be life long.
Lifestyle changes are a must in order to achieve safe and effective weight loss. It will be a gradual process, but you will have an easier time keeping it off, the slower it comes off. For instance, you can lose 15 lbs. in 6 months safely, versus 15 lbs. in 1 month unsafely through the use of a crash diet. Lifestyle changes need to be geared towards limiting and eventually, eliminating sugar. This will lead to a reduction in your overall caloric intake. Weight loss will still be gradual, but this is exactly what we are looking for!
Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, and it is no secret that it leads to hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just to name a few. The American Heart Association recommends weight loss for people who are prediabetic, and with risk factors for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, or diabetes. It is also important for all of us to AVOID weight gain. Trust me, it is so much easier to maintain your weight than lose weight. This can occur through clean eating and exercising for maintenance.
Setting goals is important, and a safe goal would be 0.5-2 lbs. per week. This occurs by cutting between 250-1,000 daily calories from your diet. For the ladies, that would be 1,200-1,500 calories per day, and 1,500-1,800 calories for the guys. Now, do not cut any more calories than that, because even though you will lose even more weight, it will be impossible to sustain. Remember Jonah Hill anyone? If you are patient, you will achieve your weight loss goals, and even better…be able to sustain it!
Also important, stay clear of the cleanse! If you are doing it for detoxification of the body, then OK…but if you are doing a cleanse for weight loss, then you are going to lose muscle mass, which is critical for weight loss! Muscle tissue burns calories, and fat tissue simply does absolutely nothing.
As long as you consume fewer calories than you burn, weight loss will be successful! You need to devise a plan that fits in with your lifestyle. Replace your daily snack of cookies or bread with fruits or vegetables. It is these little changes that result in long term success. If you are a serial “diet cheater”, then eat more protein. This will help you feel full for longer periods of time, as opposed to sugary carbohydrates that have you hungry in no time. Also, drink water throughout the day, in order to combat those hunger pangs. A lot of the time, people mistake the feeling of hunger with thirst, and go straight for the food. If we make a conscious effort to make these small changes, it will evoke big changes in the long haul!