The Truth About Losing Weight

Calorie restriction is essential.  Weight loss will only happen with calorie restriction by some method.  There are many approaches to accomplishing this goal.  You should choose an approach that you’re comfortable with and believe you can stick to.  No three day wonder diet is likely to produce lasting results.  Be consistent with your diet plan, be patient with yourself, and don’t expect perfection.

All calories count.  Diet composition isn’t as important as calorie restriction.  Some dietary changes don’t alter your weight:  cutting out caffeine, going organic or avoiding gluten.  These things may be important to some folks for other reasons, but they make no difference in your weight.  Try to focus your finite personal energy on the thing that is proven to help you reach your weight goal.  When in doubt, cut your calories.

Some food choices do matter.  It is easier to stick to a diet with an abundance of low calorie but nutrient rich foods such as fresh vegetables and fruit.  In a meal with an abundance of vegetables and fruit you are able to eat larger portions of food for fewer calories.  It is difficult to consistently restrict calorie intake while eating high calorie but nutrient poor foods laden with fat or sugar.  Eat your vegetables and fruit.  Avoid high fat and sugar added foods.

Exercise regularly.  A lifelong habit of regular exercise is the cornerstone of maintaining a healthy weight.  Exercise contributes a little to the pace of weight loss, improves body fat percentage, and helps us to take inches off of our waistline.  Physical fitness is an independent risk factor for heart disease.  Your long-term exercise goals should be to develop a sustainable routine that you enjoy, to build your routine gradually, to avoid injury and to adhere to a routine of exercising for about an hour most days.

Take the long view.  It will take months of effort to undo years of poor lifestyle choices.  Clamp down on your calorie intake, embrace an active lifestyle, and begin building your long-term exercise program.    Try to be patient and allow your plan time to work.  With a well-structured plan, you should be able to lose at least 10% from your starting weight within three months.  That will be an excellent start on the new you.

 

–Allen Chapman, PA-C

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