How to Kick Off Your Weight Loss Plan
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The decision to get healthy and lose weight isn’t one to take lightly. For most people, losing weight doesn’t come easily–but that shouldn’t discourage you from taking steps to live a healthier life.
Are you ready to get started on a weight loss program, but overwhelmed with the options and not sure where to start? Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services shares some tips for setting weight loss goals, finding accountability and being successful on your journey to live a healthier life.
What is a healthy weight loss goal?
A healthy rate of weight loss is between half a pound and two pounds per week. Depending on the amount of weight you need to lose, you may find that weight comes off more rapidly in the beginning, but overall, do not expect to lose more than two pounds per week. Those who lose weight too rapidly tend to lose more muscle mass. Rapid weight loss can be more difficult to maintain over time.
The goal is to preserve as much lean muscle as you can so you want to have gradual weight loss. To preserve muscle mass, make resistance (strength) training part of your weight loss process and consume adequate protein throughout the day.
To set a realistic goal, keep in mind how long it has been since you were at your goal weight. If you are in your 50s and attempting to reach a weight you haven’t seen since you were a teenager, it is likely that this is not a realistic goal for you now. Your doctor, fitness trainer or dietitian can help you determine a healthy weight loss goal for your age and body type.
How does age affect weight loss?
As we age (30-35 and older), we experience a gradual decline in muscle mass, which can affect metabolism, so we burn fewer calories at rest. At the same time, our lives become busier and we often find ourselves sitting more with less time to be active. The less physically active you are, the fewer calories you need on a daily basis. The problem is that most adults do not adjust their caloric intake based on their lifestyle, which leads to weight gain.
How many calories do you need?
There are tests to predict how many calories you should consume daily in order to maintain a healthy weight, such as the resting metabolic rate test, but if you do not have access to a professional who can help make this determination, there are apps available that can help. MyFitnessPal and LoseIt are two examples of apps that can help you set a goal for daily nutrition based on your diet and physical activity. Using these apps to keep a daily food record will help you track how many calories you are eating and if you are gaining or losing weight. They can then be used as a gauge to determine how many calories to eat if you need to lose weight.
Where do I start?
Every individual is different in terms of what lifestyle changes will have the greatest impact on his or her weight. For example, someone who eats out frequently might be able to lose weight by simply cooking more meals at home or ordering differently when out. For someone who drinks a lot of alcohol or soda, cutting back on those beverages can be a good first step to weight loss.
One of the most powerful tools is keeping a food record. The act of writing down what you eat or logging it on an online program or app gives you more awareness about the choices you’re making and how those choices are affecting your overall health and weight.
What about exercise?
Physical activity is a critical component of weight loss. A physically active lifestyle (roughly 60 minutes per day) is the number one predictor of whether or not you will keep the weight off once you’ve lost it. As you lose weight, gradually increase your physical activity to establish healthy habits that will help you to maintain your weight loss over time. Physical activity will also give you more energy, more confidence and a general feeling of wellbeing that can combat some negative feelings that often lead to eating out of boredom or depression.
Cooper Nutrition Services
If you need help losing weight, Cooper Clinic has registered dietitian nutritionists on staff who specialize in various areas including weight management, diabetes and sports nutrition. Whatever your specific need, we have a dietitian who can help you set goals and make the best healthy choices for you. For more information, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
Accountability is key to finding success and reaching your goals. Whether you work with a dietitian, a professional fitness trainer or find accountability from loved ones, set up a support network of people you trust to help, encourage, and motivate you along the way.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.