By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Losing weight – that you plan to keep off – is not about “going on a diet.” It’s about incorporating healthy dieting tips like these into your regular routine to effectively change your lifestyle habits, including what and how you eat. Here are my top 12 healthy weight loss tips to help you lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight:
12 Healthy Weight Loss Tips
1. Stick to a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.
Keep fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats on hand. Avoid refined sugar as much as possible! Don’t live on processed foods from a fast food restaurant, vending machine, or box.
2. Be physically active.
Exercise and weight loss go hand-in-hand. Whenever possible, choose to walk instead of drive, or take the stairs rather than the elevator. Turn on the radio and dance while at home, and find a friend to walk, bike or swim with (then make the time to do it regularly). Participate in physical activities you enjoy the most, as you are more likely to continue them over time.
3. Learn to better manage stress.
Stress is linked to weight gain. Keep a journal. Regularly participate in mind/body activities like yoga and meditation, and learn to breathe deeply. Develop a social support network. Play with a pet. Get a massage or manicure. Go for a walk. Start a creative project. Laugh and laugh and laugh.
4. Drink plenty of purified water
…Instead of sodas and other sugary drinks. Before reaching for food, drink a full glass of water beforehand – it will not only hydrate you, but temporarily fill your stomach so you don’t eat too much, too fast.
5. Avoid alcohol.
Drinking a glass of wine every so often is fine, but more than one alcoholic beverage in a sitting, especially on an empty stomach, can thwart even your best attempts to lose, or maintain a healthy, weight.
6. Get enough sleep.
Sleeping more than 7 hours a night is not only linked to lowered risk of heart attack and stroke, it can help you avoid putting on excess weight due to indulged cravings… when you’re rested, you’ve less need for those high-calorie, carbohydrate-loaded foods that can help get you through the day when you’re tired. Here are some tips to help you get more sleep.
7. Detoxify your body.
Quit smoking. If you’re worried about gaining weight, be extra careful about sticking to a non-inflammatory (low-sugar) diet and getting enough exercise. Mind/body therapies (alternate stress relief strategies) can be particularly helpful when learning to quit.
8. Avoid “fattening chemicals.”
The chemicals in smoke and other sources of hormone-related weight gain such as vegetables and fruits grown with commercial pesticides may be sabotaging your attempts to lose weight. Studies have shown that exposure to such chemicals – technically called “obesogens” – interferes with the way our bodies metabolize fat, and can lead to weight gain, even for those who eat a healthy diet for weight loss and exercise regularly.
9. Learn to recognize when you are eating for emotional reasons.
For some people, eating is a way to avoid experiencing uncomfortable emotions like fear, shame, anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, and loneliness. Get a handle on what’s eating you so you can learn to only eat when you are truly hungry.
10. Nurture (not nature) yourself!
Don’t accept that you are destined to be overweight or obese because it runs in your family. Even if you have to work twice as hard as someone without a family history of obesity, losing, or maintaining a healthy, weight is within your power through lifestyle choices you make every day. Stick with them!
11. Get back on that wagon if you fall off!
Believe in yourself and your capabilities, no matter how much weight you have to lose! Each minute, hour, day is an opportunity to make good choices when it comes to food, even if you slip up here and there.
12. Don’t deprive yourself of foods you truly enjoy.
Have a taste of unhealthy, gotta-have ‘em edibles on occasion; treat them as if they are condiments, rather than main dishes and compensate for lack of volume by eating more fruits, veggies, or nuts (nuts are “fattening” in that they contain a lot of healthy fat, but they can give you a feeling of satiety while not resulting in an insulin spike). Everything in moderation.
- My Healthy Cooking video series, where my son, Step, and I prepare simple dishes and drinks, and tell you about the health benefits associated with eating them. Plus, we give you lots of heart-healthy recipes to add to your culinary repertoire.
- My Breakfast Videos, where I tell you about my favorite foods with which to get the day started and how to prepare them.
- My Myth-or-Fact video series, where I give you the facts underlying common myths such as Saturated Fat Is Your Enemy and Eating Fish is Heart-Smart.
© 2014, 2016 HeartMD Institute. All Rights Reserved.