Many of us have a love-hate relationship with food, diet, and exercise. It is easy to say or think: eat less and exercise more. But what we eat and how much we move are tied up in many other factors, some out of our control. Our jobs, living situations, incomes, relationships, emotions, past experiences, and other health issues all factor into our eating and exercise. In the end, the trick is to eat less and move more, and that is a change that takes time and commitment to yourself. There is no easy answer, but here are a few tips to put you on the right track.
1. Join a program
Weight loss and exercise programs and groups work. It’s not the end all and be all of healthy eating and physical activity, but these groups provide many people the motivation and emotional support needed to succeed. It has been proven that programs like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Curves, and JumpstartMD work. (Source: An evaluation of a multi-component adult weight management on referral intervention in a community setting.) If you are hesitant about joining a in-person group, you might consider an online program like Nutrisystem. The best way to stay motivated is to have someone on your side who can help cheer you on and make you more active. They can even help you fight off the food cravings you might get from watching TV or surfing the internet.
2. Avoid fad diets
30-day weight loss diets you read about and see on late night TV do not work. Slick programs like the Paleo diet, Atkins diet, high-protein diet, and low-carb diet all look very enticing. They promise great results with simple steps and seem easy to integrate with your life. However, even when these programs show results for some people, they see those results quickly fade over time. There is no lasting change, and, worse yet, the programs often lead to nutritional deficits and other health problems.
3. Eat in
Take control of your diet, and stop relying on others to do the cooking for you. If you don’t have time to cook, visit your local grocery store to purchase healthy, fresh, precooked meals where you can control the amount of calories. When you eat at restaurants or eat takeout, you consume more sugars, salts, and calories and less vitamin-rich food than if you ate at home. Cooking your own food will improve your health and cut back on your monthly bills.
4. Less alcohol
For those of us that enjoy great wine with dinner, a lovely, relaxing whisky, or just a fun night at the bar this is hard to accept. But, the true is alcohol contains unnecessary calories and sugars. One gram of alcohol has almost the the same calorie count as one gram of fat. There are many reasons to limit yourself to one or two drinks at dinner or social functions: save your liver, avoid the “who is going to drive home problem,” save yourself from saying or doing something you regret, and now you can add losing weight to that list.
5. Move more
This is important: increase your amount of activity throughout the day. You don’t need to become a daily runner, a gym bunny, or super crossfit diva. You can just take stairs rather than the elevator, walk to the store rather than drive, take a walk after dinner rather than watching TV, every little bit of movement helps. Working in an office all day? Ask your HR for a standing desk. Get up and move around every two hours.
Losing weight takes time, there are no quick fixes. We have two treatments for stubborn fat removal: Kybella and Vanquish. However, they provide long-term results only if you maintain healthy eating and exercise. Make many small changes and stick with them, you will see results over time.