When I hear physicians state that their patients just need to learn how to ‘eat less and move more’ to lose weight, I think about how much this message oversimplifies and under-delivers in offering real help to people who struggle with weight.
This message reveals a misunderstanding about the complexity of overweight and obesity that involves genetic, biological, behavioral and psycho-social challenges.
People are also looking for specific and individualized strategies that show them ‘how’ to lose weight.
Here are some tips to help guide you to better figure out ‘how’ you can be successful:
1 – Track, Plan, Proportion Your Plate
As a first step in weight management, I encourage my patients to track their diet. This is a very useful strategy that accomplishes multiple objectives: increases mindfulness of eating behavior, facilitates planning and thinking ahead, allows reflection on what and when you are eating, and boosts improved eating habits.
I then encourage my patients to use life strategies that they employ every day.
You plan for the important things in your life like a work project, school assignment or family celebration. Then why not start using the same strategies when planning your meals and snacks?
Just the simple act of planning will help you be in better control of what and how much you eat.
A good way to control hunger and calories at the same time is to re-proportion your plate and fill half your plate with lower energy-dense foods like vegetables, salads and fruits that are higher in fiber and water but lower in calories, ¼ plate with lean protein and ¼ plate with whole grains or carbohydrates.
Proper portions of foods from all food groups can be part of a healthy weight loss diet plan.
2 – See Link between Movement and Mood
Your physical activity patterns and mood are intricately related as enhanced physical activity can affect how you feel, as well as how you manage stress and stress eating.
Being more active can be a great stress-reducer. Know that you don’t have to join a health club to be active.
Walking more and at a brisk pace is something you can do during the course of your normal day’s routine – by parking your car farther away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking your dog longer or taking after lunch or dinner walks.
Incorporating other self-care activities that include better sleep can also have positive effects on your mood, health and weight.
3 – Go with a Pro
As discussed in my self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, weight management really is a team sport.
Whether you’re struggling with healthy meal planning, managing stress or body image issues, controlling excessive hunger, staying physically active or fighting weight regain, health care professionals like registered dietitian nutritionists, health psychologists, personal fitness trainers, obesity medicine physician specialists and bariatric surgeons can help you.
If you ‘re interested in finding a personalized weight loss plan to help you eat better, be more active, gain energy, improve your mood, boost motivation and find the fun in healthy living, take my scientifically validated Six Factor Quiz and get started today.
Robert Kushner, MD