With the New Year upon us, many people will make losing weight their New Year’s resolution. But where do you start? We have compiled a list of 10 tips or habits that can successfully promote weight loss and promote better health. Whether you have had gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery, or if you are still contemplating surgery, these tips may help.
1.Eat a Colorful and Healthy Diet
A healthy diet should be comprised of a variety of proteins (meat, poultry, fish, dairy, nuts, beans, legumes), fruits, vegetables, grains (preferably whole), and good fats. Choosing fruits and vegetables and other foods in a variety of natural colors can help ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients. Adequate fiber also helps with digestion and helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. Eliminate trans fats and reduce saturated fats. Try to cook most of your own meals and avoid fast food restaurants to have better control of your diet.
2.Keep a Food and Weight Diary
By writing down everything you consume and the amount (using paper and pen or an app) you can better understand how much you are eating and when you eat. By writing it down, it will help you feel accountable for your intake. Also weigh yourself weekly and record this for comparison.
3.Engage in Regular Physical Activity
Physical activity is good for your overall health, not just weight loss. An hour a day or 150-250 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity is recommended. It can be broken up in different intervals during the day or done at one time, whichever works for you. Activities such as walking, running, swimming, dancing, gardening, or biking count toward your activity.
4.Limit Liquid Calories
Many people consume hundreds of calories a day from liquids without even realizing it. Soda, tea, juice, and alcohol can contribute to unnecessary calories. Choose water or unsweetened tea or coffee for low or no calorie drinks. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water to add a splash of flavor.
5.Control Your Portions
Many foods come in unrealistic package sizes. In order to avoid overeating from the package, try to transfer your servings to a plate or bowl to better see how much you are eating. Use these references to estimate your portion sizes:
1 tbsp = 1 thumb tip
1 tsp = 1 playing die
3 oz of meat = a deck of cards
¼ cup = a golf ball
½ cup = a tennis ball
1 cup = a baseball
Pay attention to when, why, where, and how you eat in addition to what you eat. By being mindful of the timing, location, and reasons for eating, you can alert yourself to emotional eating and eating from boredom as opposed to eating for hunger.
7.Avoid Cues to Eat When You Are Not Hungry
Many commercials, emails, and programs, and grocery store tricks are designed to encourage you to eat. Unfortunately for you, you may not actually be hungry at the time, but feel the desire to eat based on sight or smell or suggestion. Be aware of what triggers this in you and try to avoid the cues.
Avoid eating unhealthy foods by not buying them in the first place. Instead, stock your refrigerator and pantry with foods that will contribute to good health. Having a rough dinner menu plan for the week will help you avoid the pitfalls of buying takeout. Having good snacks (think low sugar yogurt, veggies, fruit, cheese, or nuts) available will help you avoid reaching for chips or other salty snacks.
Don’t be afraid to tell family or friends that you are trying to eat better and lose weight. You may be surprised how they may help. They may offer to exercise with you, or have healthier meals when you are eating together. Check out if your employer offers an employee wellness program, which can help offer assistance in achieving your goals, such as reimbursement for gym memberships or exercise equipment.
10.Be Kind to Yourself
Understand from the start that you won’t be perfect everyday. A healthy diet is not something you do for a little while to lose weight. It is a lifelong commitment and there will be days you eat something you probably regret. Make it a learning experience instead of feeling guilty. Don’t let your slip up prevent you from continuing on your way to a healthier you!
The above ideas are offered by Dr. Shillingford’s staff at his Boca Raton office for advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s is well known for gastric sleeve, lap band, and gastric bypass weight loss surgeries, which attracts clients from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and as far away as Georgia and New York. In addition to performing adjustable lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass surgeries, Dr. Shillingford also promotes positive lifestyle changes for his patients.