A blog series to help you focus on making healthier choices and living a healthier life, choices that can lead to weight loss and maintenance.
Struggling with weight is nothing new, and if weight loss is achieved, many struggle to maintain it. Reasons may vary for weight loss, but everyone is well aware of the benefits: Losing weight can lower cholesterol and blood pressure; reduce the risk of diabetes; as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Although we all know the benefits, hectic schedules, convenient foods, genetics, and changes in metabolism that accompany age, weight loss and maintenance can be a challenge.
We know the struggle so let’s change the approach! Let’s focus on leading a healthier life by setting realistic goals, making deliberate choices, rewarding ourselves for goals achieved, and reaching out for assistance when needed. With a change in behavior, weight loss can be the result.
To begin your journey of building a healthy lifestyle and setting realistic goals or milestones, it is important to know your body mass index or BMI. AARP has a BMI calculator that can be used by people of any age to help determine where you are currently and where you should be based on your height and current weight.
Set Achievable or Realistic Goals
Setting the right goals is an important first step in living a healthier lifestyle. If you want to begin your health journey by setting a weight goal, that is fine but know that lifestyle changes will be the keys to weight loss and maintenance.
Start with a realistic, achievable goal. Although the focus is on lifestyle changes, you may have the end goal of weight loss. You can start there by incorporating achievable lifestyle goals. Your health can be greatly improved by a loss of five to 10 percent of your starting weight. That doesn’t mean you have to stop there, but an initial goal of five percent to 10 percent of your starting weight is realistic and achievable. Losing one to two pounds per week is a good goal to work towards and can help with long-term weight management.
People who are successful at managing their weight set only two to three goals at a time. When setting those goals consider the following:
- Be specific when setting goals.
- Walk 30 minutes, five days each week.
- Always be realistic.
- Walking 30 minutes every day is more attainable than walking five miles every day.
- Forgive yourself.
- Missing your walk due to life’s commitments or splurging on dessert will happen. Forgive yourself and pick up again tomorrow.
- Reward yourself when you achieve even the smallest of goals.
- The rewards you choose should celebrate your accomplishment and bring you joy.
- Recording some aspect of your behavior, or self-monitor.
- It can be calorie intake, servings of fruits and vegetables eaten, and amount of physical activity.
- Self-monitoring of a behavior can be used at times when you’re not sure of how you are doing, or help you to notice patterns in eating, activity, sleep, and even your moods regarding when and what you eat.
Balancing Energy in and Energy Out
Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight requires keeping a balance of energy. You must balance the calories you get from food and beverages with the calories you use to keep your body functioning and physically active. The basic formulas for your weight:
- The same amount of energy IN and energy OUT over time = weight stays the same.
- More IN than OUT over time = weight gain.
- More OUT than IN over time = weight loss.
Your energy IN and OUT does not have to balance exactly every day. It’s the balance over time that will help you to maintain a healthy weight overall and feel good. Making healthy food choices that are lower in fats (saturated, trans-fat, and cholesterol), added sugars, and salt can help you cut back on calories.
To help you establish your calorie intake based on factors such as age, height, current weight, and weight loss goals, click here to view a calorie calculator.
When focusing on living a healthy life, it is also important to be mindful of portion sizes. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat, and a serving is a measured amount of food or drink contained on the food’s nutrition label. The serving sizes on packaged foods are not always the same as those included in nutrition recommendations. However, serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods.
Listen to Your Body
Being mindful of portion size, as well as listening to your body can be a great cue. Eat slowly, taking time to chew your food. When you start to feel satisfied or full, but not “stuffed,” that is a good point to stop eating. If you are at home, pack it away for tomorrow’s leftovers or if you are in a restaurant, ask for a to-go box up front so when you are feeling full, you can immediately box up your food taking it out of sight.
This is the beginning of living a healthier life, losing or maintaining weight, and feeling great! This series will continue to deliver tips to help you achieve your goals. There are times when focusing on making healthier choices presents challenges and help is never far away. Speak with your healthcare provider about your health goals, your weight goals, your overall health, and the challenges you face. Your provider can assist in guiding you on your health journey.
As part of living a healthier life, RPM Healthcare offers remote patient monitoring for weight loss and maintenance with the goal of not only helping you feel good, but to prevent or help treat heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.