You had a year to plan but before you know it that reunion, wedding or maybe a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, is only three months away. Don’t worry, you can still achieve your weight loss goals by following these simple steps.
First Step: Make a Plan
Regardless of what our motivation is, making a plan of reasonable goals makes us more likely to succeed. Start with one or two specific changes that you can make today and monitor your progress by keeping a food and activity log.
Get Your Plate in Shape
Adapt a healthy eating plan that follows the USDA MyPlate guidelines. Each meal should contain a large amount of vegetables, with a small amount of whole grain carbohydrates and protein.
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein foods have necessary nutrients our body needs without too many calories. Always, try to include foods from all the food groups. If you need assistance with creating a balanced meal plan or have special dietary needs, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Regular physical activity is key for overall health — it can help control body weight and promote a feeling of wellbeing. The best activities are the ones you enjoy doing. Aim to do this activity for at least 10 minutes at a time. A total of 2 hours and 30 minutes or more each week of moderate activity such as brisk walking and dancing, is great for promoting good health.
One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. Try to think of where you can cut out 500 calories a day to lose about one pound a week. The easiest way is to reduce foods that get their excess calories from added fats and sugars. Don’t forget about what you drink either. Sugary beverages can contain the same amount of calories as some foods. Try these low-calorie foods and beverages instead:
- Raw vegetables for snacks instead of chips
- Naturally sweet fruits such as berries or pineapple in place of desserts
- Flavored seltzer instead of beer, wine or distilled spirits
- Dark chocolate (85% cocoa or higher) instead of candy bars
How Are You Doing?
Be sure to track your progress. Weigh yourself once a week and plot your weight on a calendar or in your food and activity log. Maintain a positive frame of mind and keep your goal written on your calendar.
See the Future
Use your accomplishments as an opportunity to lead a healthier lifestyle. Even if you didn’t reach your ultimate weight loss goal this time, you can still turn heads with the confidence you earned knowing what you achieved and that you can keep it going.
Reviewed May 2015 Ruth Frechman, MA, RDN, CPT, is an ACE certified personal trainer, author and past spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.