Lifestyle Changes Will Help You Lose Weight – and Keep It Off
Obesity is a common and serious health issue affecting millions of Americans. Over a third of adults in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also notes that obesity leads to serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Many Americans struggle with losing weight, and they struggle even harder to keep it off. “Part of the problem is that people don’t develop a strategy for weight maintenance,” says Dr. Paul Cisarik, an internal medicine physician and weight loss expert at the Community Memorial Health System Centers for Family Health. Dr. Cisarik is board certified with the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
Eating fewer calories and occasional fasting are good ways to lose weight, Dr. Cisarik says, but the key to achieving and keeping a healthy weight is adopting a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular physical activity of some kind. What you eat and how much matters the most in terms of weight loss and keeping it off, as food is responsible for 80-90 percent of weight loss and maintenance, he notes.
“Everyone who wants to lose weight starts off with weight loss as a goal, but there is almost no discussion about weight maintenance,” Dr. Cisarik explains. “The single biggest behavioral and psychological issue is a finish line. And then as soon as we achieve that, we stop. People relax and their behavior goes back to what it was as a ‘reward after the sacrifice.’ This raises calorie intake and leads to gaining back weight.”
Here are some tips from Dr. Cisarik for long-term weight loss success:
- Eat enough of the right foods at mealtime to get full. This will prevent hunger and snacking.
- Eat lots of veggies at as many meals as possible, which will help you feel full. Eat a lean protein also.
- Avoid processed foods that are high in carbohydrates. Food quality counts!
- Avoid sugar and sweetened beverages like soda, fruit juice, and sweetened tea.
- Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol. This can slow down the mechanisms of fat-burning.
- Find a form of exercise that you can do consistently and daily, like walking or riding a bike. Make sure it’s something that will not cause injuries which can prevent you from getting regular exercise.
- Start small and increase your duration and/or intensity weekly, as well as over the course of a few months.