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JOHNWBROCKSR777's Photo JOHNWBROCKSR777 SparkPoints: (285,996)
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2/1/17 10:47 A

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To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. But itís not always clear how to do that. For most people, a successful weight-loss plan has two parts: healthy food choices and physical activity. Understanding the balance between the two can help you lose weight more easily and keep it off!

According to the National Weight Control Registry, of adults who have successfully maintained their weight loss:

98% have modified their eating habits.
94% have increased their level of physical activity, especially walking.
78% eat a healthy breakfast every day.
75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
62% watch less than 10 hours of television per week.

So you think youíre ready, but youíre not sure how to take that first step? Itís not as hard as you might think.

Start your weight loss journey using these 5 steps:

1. Set realistic goals.
Before beginning a weight-loss program, assess where you are today so you know what you need to improve. Learn your BMI to help determine how much weight you would like to lose to reduce your risk of health problems.

Set yourself up for success with short-term goals, like ďI will make lifestyle changes which will help me lose (and keep off) 3-5% of my body weightĒ or ďI will reduce the amount of times that I eat out each week from ___ to ____.Ē

Short-term goals like these can seem more achievable, and can, little by little, keep you on track toward your long-term goals. If the goal is too difficult, itís harder to achieve and can lead to self-judgement and disappointment that can derail the smaller successes youíve achieved.

2. Understand how much and why you eat.
Use a food diary or tracking app for a while to gain an understanding of what, how much, and when you are eating. If you tend to snack late at night or visit fast food restaurants several times a week, those might be opportunities to make healthier choices. Being mindful of your eating habits and aware of common roadblocks and excuses in your efforts to lose weight can help you set and reach realistic goals.

3. Manage portion sizes.
Itís easy to overeat when youíre served too much food. Smaller portions can help prevent eating too much. Learn the difference between a portion and a serving and how to keep portions reasonable.

4. Make smart substitutions to reduce sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.
Foods high in saturated and trans fat and sugar are often high in calories too. But that doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite flavors. Learn to make smart substitutions instead. Learn how to reduce the added sugars in your diet with these info graphics. Take the 21-Day Sodium Challenge to reduce the sodium you eat. Discover healthy snacks for between meals and fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods to help keep you fuller longer.

5. Balance what you eat with physical activity.
Most of us can agree itís easier to take calories in than to burn them. The amount of physical activity an individual needs to lose weight can vary, but in the weight-loss equation, healthy eating and physical activity complement each other. Both are essential parts of losing weight and staying at a healthy weight. Physical activity is anything that gets your heart rate up. Learn the AHA Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults.

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