Now you can have your (rice) cake and eat it too. It is possible to lose weight and keep it off — who says you can’t have both? Registered dietitian Nicole Hopsecger, RD, LD, shares six tips for losing weight while maintaining your health.
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6 tips for losing weight and keeping it off
- Restrict calories in a tailored program.
Not all calories, or bodies, are the same. The right diet for weight loss can be different combinations of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. “I personalize a patient’s diet, and work with them on an ongoing basis so that I can adjust based on their personality and what is medically correct for them,” says Hopsecger.
- Realize that a restrictive diet is a temporary measure.
Restricting calories is only the first step and not a permanent solution. Once you lose weight, you should switch to a more moderate calorie intake balanced with regularly scheduled exercise activity.
- Reach out for support.
If you have enough discipline and self-support to maintain your diet plan, that’s great. “I also recommend group support, as it’s been found to provide long-term success,” says Hopsecger. Find support from peers through weight management groups and/or a workout buddy, or professional help from behavioral and life coaches, psychologists, exercise physiologists and personal trainers.
- Remember that weight loss is also about the mind.
If you want to see results with anything in life, you have to be committed to the process. “Losing weight is about so much more than what we eat. It’s often about how we feel about ourselves and what triggers us to make healthy or unhealthy choices,” she says. Remembering this will allow you to indulge in actions that positively change your behavior rather than pacify them with increased calories or being sedentary. The best thing you can do is be patient and kind with yourself.
- Consider the role of medication.
Working with your doctor, it may be appropriate to consider appetite suppressants, such as phentermine or qsymia, medications approved by the FDA for weight loss to enhance your weight loss efforts. You will have to meet clinical standards, such as a body mass index of 27 with one or more associated diseases or a body mass index of 30 or higher, with or without co-morbid disease(s).
- Redefine exercise.
Be creative in the way you move. It doesn’t have to be in a gym or structured environment. Just move more than you do now. Frequency (how often), intensity (how hard) and time (how long) are the components that matter when attempting to lose weight and keep it off. Start slowly so that you can gradually build up your endurance.
To lose weight and keep it off, look beyond the initial weight loss to a permanent change in lifestyle behaviors and know that your efforts are not in vain. “Consider all lifestyle behaviors if you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off — not just the way you eat,” says Hopsecger.