If you want to set yourself up for success in 2019, start with realistic goals. These goals are not just about how many calories to eat per day, but also can include physical activity goals and reintroducing new habits into your routine.
Here are five steps to lose weight and keep it off:
Make a realistic weight loss goal
A realistic weight loss goal should be 5-10% of your current weight in six months. For example, for a 170-pound adult, a realistic weight loss goal should be 8.5- 17 pounds of weight loss in 6 months. You can aim for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Find a chubby checker
If you’re exercising and doing strength training, you may not see changes in weight, but you are getting leaner and more muscle mass. Use a measuring tape to measure your bust, waist, upper arms, hips, upper thighs and even your calves every couple weeks or monthly. This will help you see that you’re toning up, even if it’s not reflected on the scale.
Aim for 30 min of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. You may need 60-90 minutes of activity to lose weight. You can break up these minutes to achieve your goal. For example, one might do 15 minutes of aerobic activity in the morning, walk or run for 30 minutes in the evening and stretch for 10 minutes before bed. That is 55 minutes of activity!
Focus on what you can eat
Instead of thinking about what you should eliminate in your diet, focus on what you should be eating like nutrient-rich, high-quality foods like plenty of fruits and veggies; lean proteins; whole grains and healthy fats. For gradual weight loss, calories should be limited to about 1200-1500 calories per day for women and 1500-1800 calories per day for men. Individual calorie needs may vary depending on current weight, physical activity and the amount of weight loss desired.
If you bite it, write it
People who are successful at keeping their weight in check, often use some type of tracking tool or food log to keep tabs on what they eat. You can use a simple notebook and write down everything you eat or drink or use an app, like Myfitnesspal or Lose It! to track calories eaten and physical activity.
You’ll be surprised to find out how much mindless munching you probably do every day. And, most people begin to realize that they may be choosing healthy foods, but their portions are too large. Using measuring cups and spoons can help you perfect your portions.
This article was written by Kathryn Kelley-Whetstone, a dietetic intern with Appetite for Health.