How to Succeed in a Weight Loss Program

Whether you want to lose weight for your health, improve your appearance or simply feel better, you will succeed best with long-lasting lifestyle changes. Write down your reasons for wanting to lose weight, and post them somewhere you will see them daily.

Unexplained weight loss should always be investigated by a physician, who will conduct a thorough physical examination and review your medical history. He or she may also order blood tests and imaging studies to pinpoint the cause.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is one of the key elements of a weight loss program. It can be tempting to set lofty goals, such as aiming for your wedding day or college weights, but these types of goals are usually unattainable and will likely make you feel disappointed and frustrated when you are unable to reach them.

Instead, try to lose a certain amount of weight in a specific period of time. This is called a process goal. For example, a goal of losing four pounds in one month is reasonable and can be achieved through healthy eating and regular exercise. It is also a good idea to consult with a dietitian or another expert to help you determine an appropriate weight loss goal for your health situation and lifestyle.

Count Calories

Calories are a measurement of energy, and counting them can help you achieve your weight loss goals. It’s a well-known fact that in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Counting calories can be an effective way to monitor your eating habits, and there are many different apps and online tools that can make the process easier.

Counting calories can also be helpful for people who are struggling with disordered eating. It can help them become more aware of their eating patterns and how certain foods affect their feelings of satiety. However, if you find that calorie counting is becoming restrictive or creating negative feelings or relationships with food, it’s best to seek professional help.

Eat Healthy Foods

Eating healthy is essential for maintaining a healthy weight. You should choose a variety of nutritious foods from all the major food groups and eat reasonable portions. Avoid foods that are high in sodium and added sugars. Sodium can be found in table salt and processed foods, while added sugars are in many soft drinks and desserts. Instead, opt for whole grains, nuts and seeds, leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, berries, low-fat dairy, fish, poultry and lean meats.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help burn calories and shift belly fat. It also helps ward off chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

Exercise boosts energy levels and reduces fatigue and depression, which can make it easier to stick with your healthy lifestyle changes. It also increases the body’s production of feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which can give you a natural mood lift.

The key is to choose an exercise that you enjoy and can do comfortably. Forcing yourself to endure a workout that’s too intense can be counterproductive and cause you to quit your fitness regimen altogether. Instead, set goals that you can achieve consistently over time. For example, aim to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day, five days a week.

Stay Motivated

In order to stay motivated during weight loss, you need a strong driving force. For some, that means finding a reason to lose weight that is personal and unique. Others find success by telling friends and family about their goals so they can help hold them accountable.

Some people also like to track their progress by keeping a journal or using an app. Keeping a journal or tracking your food, water, exercise, sleep and emotions can make you more aware of your current habits and can help you understand what drives your behaviors.

You may also find it helpful to set time-based goal, such as setting a date for when you will reassess your progress and set new goals. This can help keep you on track and motivate you to continue making healthy choices.