There are many things you can do to help you lose weight. For example, you could start tracking what you eat in an app or using a traditional pen and paper food journal.
The key to weight loss is making long-lasting lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity. It’s best to aim for 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based) goals is a great way to help you on your weight loss journey. It is important to identify long-term goals that can shift your mindset from being on a diet to making lifestyle changes. These goals can then be broken down into a series of smaller, short-term goals that will help you get closer to your ultimate goal.
Be sure that your goal is realistic based on your current health and wellness. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration, disappointment and lack of motivation. In addition, setting attainable goals that you can reach will help you feel proud of yourself and will make you more motivated to continue your healthy habits. It is also important to consider factors such as your available time, information, training and support when setting your goals. (4).
If you don’t have time for a regular trip to the gym, don’t worry — even small amounts of exercise add up. Physical activity can help you lose weight, boost high-density lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol and decrease unhealthy triglycerides.
Being physically active is important for everyone, regardless of age or ability. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, jogging around the block, or getting involved in community sports can help you increase your daily amount of physical activity.
VicHealth worked with five local governments across Victoria as part of the three-year Be Active initiative, helping them to strengthen their physical activity outcomes. These innovative projects addressed the specific barriers for their communities and were designed to increase participation in physical activities such as walking, cycling, sports, active recreation and volunteering. Even fidgeting, also known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), can burn calories. It can be as simple as tapping your foot or rubbing your tummy when sitting, marching in place while watching TV or doing push-ups and sit-ups during commercial breaks.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet helps supply the body with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function properly. Without a balanced diet, the body is more susceptible to disease, infection and fatigue. Foods such as processed meat, sugary drinks and fried foods can contain empty calories and saturated fats that are detrimental to health.
A well-balanced diet consists of the recommended number of servings from each of the five food groups daily. Typically, half of a plate should be filled with nonstarchy vegetables and fruit. A quarter should be made up of whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa or oats. The other quarter should consist of protein, such as lean meats and low-fat dairy.
It is important to avoid consuming foods that are high in saturated fats, sugars and added salt. These types of foods can be considered ‘discretionary choices’ and should only be eaten occasionally. Eating a balanced diet combined with regular exercise is the best way to achieve a healthy weight.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep can help you stay physically active, which in turn can support your weight loss goals. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause a dip in fat metabolism and energy levels, making it harder to lose body fat.
Lack of sleep can also increase appetite by impacting hormone regulation, particularly ghrelin and leptin, the hormones that signal hunger and satiety. This can lead to an insatiable craving for calories and a lowered inhibition, meaning you may be less likely to resist temptation.
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing. Make sure you’re snoozing for a full seven to nine hours, keep a regular bedtime and wake up time, and avoid using the bedroom as a work space or entertainment center. Aim to shut down your computer, phone and TV an hour or so before you hit the sack. This will help you get to sleep quicker and improve the quality of your sleep.