Obesity can take a toll on your health. Excess weight can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and several other health conditions that lower your quality of life. It can also affect your day-to-day life by limiting your mobility and tanking your energy levels. However, weight loss isn’t easy. The health and beauty industries capitalize on this difficulty by peddling weight loss supplements, untenable diets, and exercise programs.
The best approach to successful weight loss is making a long-term commitment to regular exercise and eating a healthy and balanced diet. However, there are several nuances to weight loss than can affect your progress. The following suggestions can help set you on a path to successful weight loss:
- Set realistic goals. If you’re expecting to lose 10 pounds every week, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Healthy weight loss is typically 1-2 pounds per week. Focusing too much on your ideal weight can lead to disappointment and giving up on losing weight. Set smaller, more attainable goals as you work toward a healthier weight.
- Applaud all progress. Four pounds in one month may not sound like a lot. However, a four-pound weight loss requires a 14,000-calorie deficit. Cutting that many calories through diet and exercise is an impressive accomplishment. To put this into perspective, you need to reduce your recommended caloric intake by 500 calories per day to lose one pound per week. A 150-pound individual walking at a moderate pace of 3 miles per hour burns around 112 calories after half an hour and 224 calories in an hour. That same person would need to cut between 275-400 calories from their diet to achieve the 500-calorie deficit. Celebrate every pound lost because you put in a significant amount of work to achieve it.
- Focus on fitness. Many people decide to lose weight for aesthetic reasons. They want to look better in their clothes or slim down to a certain clothing size. However, focusing on thinness can lead to disappointment, and you may overlook what you’ve already achieved. Focus on improving your health and strength instead, as those are much more reliable metrics to track.
- Recognize non-scale victories. Losing weight after doing the hard work is a rewarding feeling. However, the number on the scale isn’t the only measure of health that matters. For example, your lab work may show significant improvements in your cholesterol. Other non-scale victories include having more energy, greater mobility, and increased strength.
- Cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Many people use food as a source of comfort when they’re stressed or upset. Eating can trigger dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. Dopamine is at the core of the brain’s reward system, and the brain releases it as a reward for eating. However, individuals often feel bad about their emotional eating if they gain weight or struggle with their weight. These individuals can become stuck in a vicious cycle of seeking food for comfort only to feel bad about overeating later, which triggers food-seeking behavior for a brief burst of dopamine. Focus on eating food to nourish and fuel your body instead of as an emotional response. Pay attention to hunger cues and practice mindful eating to know when you’re full.
Losing weight requires a lot of hard work, but it can be harder for some individuals. It can become almost impossible for individuals struggling with certain health conditions or taking medications known to cause weight gain. Weight loss surgery can help overcome these hurdles to achieve significant weight loss. Contact us to learn how bariatric surgery can improve your health and wellbeing.