In this fast-paced world, nobody has time to focus on their health. That is why losing weight is becoming challenging for us. And everyone has their opinion and has the best way to do it. The critical point is “one size does not fit all” when it comes to weight loss. Fundamental differences like body type, sex, age, underlying medical issues, physical activity, past experiences with dieting, genetics, and even food preferences can influence a person’s ability to lose weight and keep it off.
According to research, it is reported that between 2013 and 2016, half of the American adults tried to lose weight during the prior 12 months. And now, nearly 70% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Excess weight is associated with severe health conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
Although there is no “perfect” diet to lose weight, research supports some universal behaviors for people trying to lose weight. That includes cutting out sugary drinks and soda, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, and focusing on food quality instead of merely on calories.
Here we have highlighted 10 healthy behaviors that can support efforts for weight loss:
- Make a note of where you are starting. Keep a food record every three days. Track all the beverages and food you eat along with the portions. Notice how much you are eating away from home, eating take-out, or buying food on the run.
- Make a plan. Know your goal. Do you want to fit into an old pair of jeans? Or want to lose weight to improve your health? How will you achieve your goal? Will you cook more meals at home? Will you eat smaller portions? Be specific and start small.
- Identify barriers to your goals and ways to overcome them. Could a busy schedule get in the form of going to the gym? Wake up an hour earlier than a typical day. Has a blank pantry prevented you from cooking at home? Search out some healthy recipes, then head to the grocery store armed with a list of ingredients you will need to prepare them.
- Identify current habits that lead to unhealthy eating. Reward and relax by snacking in front of the TV. Have you ever skipped lunch only to feel starved by mid-noon, ready to eat anything in sight? Have you ever finished everything on your plate even after you start to feel full?
- Control your portions. Refamiliarize yourself with the standard serving sizes. Do you know that one serving of meat or poultry is 4 ounces and the size of a deck of playing cards? Or that one serving of pasta is 1/2 cup?
- Identify satiety and hunger cues. Be aware of physical versus emotional hunger. Do you ever eat when you feel something physical in your body that responds to food? Or do you ever eat when you are bored, stressed, sad, tired, or anxious? Try to stop eating BEFORE you get full (it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register “stop eating” signals from your stomach). Foods that will help you feel fuller include high-fiber foods like vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes; protein (fish, poultry, eggs); and water.
- Focus on the positive changes. Changing behavior takes time at least three months. Don’t give up if you slip missed out along the way. Get support from others and take your time to acknowledge all the changes you made.
- Try the 80/20 rule. Stay on the 80% time track, but leave some room for a few luxuries. You don’t have to feel deprived or guilty.
- Focus on the overall health. Dance, walk, rake leaves, bike, garden find activities you enjoy and do them every day. Ditch the “diet” aisle and focus on whole, seasonal, high-quality foods
- Eat mindfully and slowly. Enjoy the whole experience of eating. Take the time to appreciate the tastes, textures, and aromas of the meal in front of you.
- Changing the behavior takes effort and time. Take a few small steps today will make a difference in your health tomorrow.
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