Tag Archives: Overweight

Guidelines to successful Weight Loss and Management

Losing weight is easier than maintaining. Those of us who have tried will fully agree with this. But, with a realistic ideology it becomes easier to lose as well as maintain your weight, with minimal chances of gaining it back.

A few tips for smooth sailing…

Set Realistic Goals: Before boarding the weight loss train, chalk out your goals clearly. Research has proven that writing down your intentions is far more likely to turn them into actions than thinking or talking about them. Also, ensure that whatever weight loss goal you decide on; is realistic and you have a suitable time frame to achieve it.

Monitor Body Composition Changes: it is a far better motivator than weighing scales. Take circumference measurements of specific sites of the body like abdomen, hip, thigh before starting the weight loss programme and take repeat measurements every month. Those who plan to join gym or health centers might also monitor the changes in their body composition (fat and lean mass). Decrease in fat and increase in lean mass is an indicator of improving body stats.

Weigh Weekly / Fortnightly: It is any day better than stepping on the weighing scale daily. Frequent weighing can lead to an obsession about weight and this obsession might pose hindrance in successful weight loss. You need to come to terms with the fact that an initial weight loss of 2-3 kg cannot be maintained always. Try and lose 0.5-1 kg per week. Slow and gradual weight loss is easier to maintain as there are less chances of bounce back.

Keep a Food Diary: A food diary is a record of your daily food intake. It will act as an eye opener as you will acknowledge that you eat or drink several things without even registering them.  It will also evaluate what and when you are eating; whether the diet is balanced or deficient in any important nutrients. Food diary should be maintained for a week and it is recommended that you follow your usual eating pattern while making the record. Everything, from a spoonful of namkeen to sips of cola should be mentioned in the diary. No cheating!!! From the completed food diary your overall eating habits can be assessed and your dietitian / health care provider can suggest necessary changes to improve the same.

Cut and Replace FAT: By examining the food diary diet culprits can be identified and replaced with healthier options. (For healthier substitutions) But don’t try to remove fat completely from your diet. We need fats for their numerous functions in the body and their deficiency can trickle down to deficiency of essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K).

Cut Calories Gradually: A sudden calorie deficit can act as a shock for the body which might lower your BMR. This is the biggest mistake which all of us commit while trying to lose weight. So ensure that you start with few restrictions and only when weight loss slows down or you hit a plateau, further restrict the diet or increase the duration of your exercise programme.

Take Small Frequent Meals: Follow a meal pattern in which you incorporate 4-6 meals daily, including snacks. Our body requires energy even to digest food which we eat. So every time we eat, the body is using that extra bit. This does not mean that you can increase the amount of food; rather spread the food you plan to eat in the entire day over these meals. Several researches have concluded that frequent eating keeps blood sugar and insulin levels steady and helps control blood cholesterol levels too. A regular food intake also ensures a constant flow of energy for the entire day and no hunger pangs.

Lifestyle Changes: Long term weight management means making a few changes in lifestyle – lifelong healthy eating, regular exercise and abstinence from smoking and alcohol.

Last but not the least stay positive during the schedule; positivity can do wonders for your body image and will keep you motivated.

Hope these pointers are helpful for you…..

Weight loss plateaus: this too shall pass

weight loss plateauYou have been eating healthy, exercising and getting results for your hard work. But recently you have started seeing a downward trend in your weight loss. Have you reached a weight plateau?

A weight plateau is a period of time during which your weight remains at the same level for a long duration. When losing weight, it is common to have plateaus or times when you are not able to lose any more weight. Research suggests that our bodies try to maintain a specific weight or “set-point”. When a person reaches this set-point it becomes difficult to move over and lose weight. The reason for this slow weight loss is that the body adjusts to the selected workout schedule and calorie reduction, making it harder for us to maintain a steady weight loss.

Another theory suggests that if calorie intake is decreased too much or too soon the body is forced to burn more and more protein which seriously lowers the metabolism and dieters give up and go back to the old eating habits leading to gain in weight.

Dr. Kevin D. Hall from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states, “If you stick to a diet, you should expect your weight loss to continue for years, although not at the same rate.” Thus it can be rightly said that most people who experience a weight loss plateau six to eight months into a diet are reverting back to pre-diet behaviours.

Here are few tips that can help with managing plateaus and resetting your set-point:

  • Plateaus are often temporary. Stay with your program and you should start losing again.
  • Try increasing your physical activity. Adding a few additional minutes or a different kind of physical activity to what you are already doing can get you going again.
  • If you haven’t been writing down what you eat start doing so. You may discover that extra calories have crept into your diet plan. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who kept a food diary dropped double the weight as compared to those who did not record their food choices.
  • Plateaus make you feel like giving up. Remember how hard you have already worked and how far you have come. Do not lose heart and push a little harder to keep moving past the plateau.
  • Getting 8 hours of sleep and limiting stress is a sure way to reinitiate the weight loss process.
  • Revisit your goals each week. Make sure they are measurable and process-oriented. Make a list of activities that will work to help you achieve that goal.
  • Weight loss plateaus can be very taxing on motivation levels. Remind yourself that they happen with everyone, whosoever is trying to lose weight. Keep your focus and you will get through this bump in the road.

So accept that you are going to have a few let down moments but be honest about where those pitfalls lie instead of pointing a finger at the scale. It is the first step in recovering from a dreaded plateau.

Image Courtesy: avrilcarpenter.com