This post covers the most basic skills you will need to succeed in a weight management program.
The first thing you need to know is that most diet plans go through a slow metamorphosis. That often means they begin to work to some degree, but they cannot sustain permanent weight loss. It is essential to review the “ground rules” periodically just to ensure you do not stray too far off the path.
Take A Drink
First, drink at least two quarts of water daily. Some people never feel thirsty; instead, they feel hungry, but it’s a vague hunger and difficult or impossible to satisfy. Your body needs water to burn fat, so try to have at least one cup of water every time you eat something, after you wake up, and before bed.
On The Record
Next, record what you are eating. This doesn’t have to be fancy or meticulous. You just have to know what you are putting into your body. We generally recommend that you know how many grams of protein and carbs you are getting. But try not to focus on calories alone; rather, look for patterns and don’t dwell on specific foods.
On The Move
Walking is the most common exercise for weight loss and maintenance. Start with five to 10 minutes per day, and increase your walking time by one minute each week. Also, instead of trying to carve out 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, set weekly goals. For example, if your goal is 70 minutes per week, aim for 10 minutes each day, which is often more manageable than planning for 30-plus minutes of exercise three times a week.
In reality, you might only get 30 minutes done once a week. In short, 10 minutes each day is better than zero minutes.
Rather than stumbling into mindless eating and picking at food, make a rule to eat only when you are sitting down. Those random, incidental bites will seem much more obvious if you employ this rule.
Also, do not eat when you watch TV or use a screen of any kind. Lots of calories are consumed when you aren’t paying attention, and you won’t feel full or satisfied when eating in front of a screen.
You Must Eat
Your mother was right—do not skip meals! No matter how many times people are reassured they need to eat to lose weight, this old thought process sneaks back in.
It’s time to change your mantra from, “I’m trying to lose weight, so I just won’t eat” to, “I have to eat to lose weight.” People who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat in the evening. So plan out healthy meals in advance.
Protein: Your Weapon
Finally, protein, protein, protein! Try to get the recommended amount of protein I have suggested for your individual diet plan. Protein drives metabolism and is far more satiating than carbohydrates.
If you have difficulty eating enough animal protein, you can always use a variety of supplemental food products, which are available everywhere. Just remember to keep an eye on the carbohydrate component in protein powders and shakes. And don’t add any carbs (e.g., milk, fruit) unless you are counting those as part of your total carb intake.
Brandy Wiltermuth, ARNP