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Strategies for Losing Weight
Strategies You Can Use to Lose Weight?
|There are lots of ways to lose weight. But if you plan to lose more than 15 to 20 pounds, or if you take medication regularly, you should be evaluated by your doctor before beginning your plan. Your doctor or registered dietitian can help you arrive at a sensible weight loss goal. You may not need to lose as much weight for your health as you think. Sometimes the â€œcosmeticâ€ desire to lose requires a great deal more loss than what is needed to lower your health risk.||Â|| |
Food Choices Are The Key
Increase Physical Activity
Increasing your physical activity is an important part of losing weight. Moreover, it will be a lot harder to maintain your weight loss without increasing your exercise. By exercising, you can lower your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes beyond that produced by weight loss alone. If you are at risk for heart disease, have a chronic illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes or you are obese, you should check with your doctor before adopting an exercise plan.
Change Your Behavior and See Results
Behavior therapy is a sort of a fancy way to talk about basic learning principles that can help you overcome barriers to changing your eating and exercise habits. For example it will be natural for you to set weight loss goals. But you need to look at your behavior when you set them:
- Are your goals specific?
- Are your goals attainable?
- Are your goals forgiving?
Here are some examples of goals that probably wonâ€™t help you:
â€œExercise more.â€ This sounds good, but it isnâ€™t specific.
â€œWalk five miles a day.â€ This is better because itâ€™s specific, but it isnâ€™t attainable if youâ€™re just starting out.
â€œWalk 30 minutes every day.â€ This is better still, but what if something happens during your regular walking time, like a late meeting or a thunderstorm. This goal isnâ€™t forgiving enough.
â€œWalk 30 minutes, five days a week.â€ This is a great goal because itâ€™s specific, attainable and itâ€™s forgiving.
Other techniques that change behavior include:
- Give yourself rewards that arenâ€™t food. Everybody needs to be encouraged, but choose a new CD instead of a hot fudge sundae.
- Balance your food â€œcheckbook.â€ This involves keeping track of your food intake by keeping a journal or by informally noting that if you had a high-fat breakfast, it would be best to keep lunch and dinner low-fat. Regular monitoring of your weight, especially if you can see it on a chart, can really help you see what youâ€™re doing for yourself. Check out lifeclinic.comâ€™s Nutrition & Fitness Diary and My Health Chart features to see how easily this can be done.
- Pay attention to social cues. Certain environmental or social situations may encourage unhealthy eating or other habits that you donâ€™t want. For example the office coffee pot may be where the treats are displayed during the week. You might want to bring a thermos from home or try the local deli to avoid this situation where you have eaten too many goodies before. Or if you meet a friend at the doughnut shop every week, try meeting for a walk on a nature trail instead.
- Send the â€œfullnessâ€ signal. It takes 20 or more minutes for your brain to get the message that youâ€™ve been fed. So slow the rate you eat so your brain catches up with your actual food intake. You can also drink a glass of water before eating or eat a low-calorie appetizer to help feel fuller. Another trick is to use smaller plates so you donâ€™t feel deprived when you see a smaller portion.
Combined Therapy Works Best
A combined strategy of behavior therapy, more exercise and healthy eating geared to shaving extra calories away is actually the most successful therapy for weight loss and weight maintenance.
Pharmacotherapy Is For Some
There are some patients who may benefit from medications in order to lose weight. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says these medications may be useful for people with a BMI of more than 30 with no other risk factors, or a BMI of more than 27 if there are other diseases or risk factors present. Some of these medications have side effects in people with hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmias or history of stroke. Youâ€™ll want to talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of these medications.
Reduction Surgery Is For the Few
For people who are severely obese, weight reduction surgery may help. The NHLBI recommends these procedures for people as a last resort for profoundly obese people who have medical complications from their weight.
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