Healthy Ways to Lose Weight

By the Safety Squad at Southwest Health, Featuring Watson the Watch Dog!

If you’re like Watson the Watch Dog, you may have gained some weight over the holiday season, and are now wondering how to healthily lose the extra pounds.  Some weight loss programs found on the internet provide recommendations that can have a negative impact on your health and even potentially cause your body harm.  So to aid in your weight loss efforts, the Safety Squad has compiled a list of tips for losing weight in both a safe and healthy manner!

Recommendations for Healthy Weight Loss:

  1. Rather than focusing on weight loss, focus on the overall health and wellness. Moderate weight loss can improve glucose and lipid values, improve mobility, and improve self-esteem.
  2. Set realistic goals. Recommended weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.  Also, instead of focusing on the scale, set goals for improved eating habits – Ex. Less regular soda per day.
  3. Remember to include all food groups. A variety of foods will include the wide variety of nutrients needed each day.  Each food group provides its own unique health benefits.
  4. Plan to eat at least three meals per day and snacks as desired – within a specified calorie level. Eating frequently throughout the day will control your appetite
  5. Planning meals ahead of time is helpful to stay on track with your goal. Have a plan and work the plan to keep your eating habits on track.
  6. Begin each meal with a glass of water and low calorie foods – fruits, vegetables, and salads. Include these foods at the beginning of the meal to fill you up and offer a variety of nutrients.
  7. Enjoy your food. Following a weight loss/maintenance eating plan does not need to be boring.  Make the meals an adventure with new foods and enjoy your meals.
  8. Heed your appetite meter – when full, stop eating. Slow down when eating – it takes 20 minutes for your mind to receive the signal from your stomach that you are full.
  9. Include fiber in your meal plan – fruits, vegetables, whole grains. Fiber helps promote fullness.
  10. Portion sizes are the ultimate goal. All foods fit in any eating plan, but be aware of food portions.
  11. Healthy weight loss does not occur without physical activity. Activity is a MUST.  Find something you like to participate in – either on your own or with a group.  Walking, biking, and yoga are great low impact exercises that are easy on the joints.

From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: To evaluate a weight management program, consider the following factors:

Does the weight loss/maintenance program include —

  • Foods from all five food groups?
  • The right number of servings from each group?
  • Food you will enjoy eating for the rest of your life?
  • Some of your favorite foods?
  • Foods you can buy at the grocery store?
  • Foods that fit into your budget and lifestyle?
  • Regular physical activity or exercise?

If you can answer “yes” to each question, the weight loss/maintenance program is right for you.

Submitted on behalf of Southwest Health’s Safety Squad by:
Joan Bahr MS RD CDE BC-ADM, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management

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