How do I lose weight with age?

via Get Fit Challenge

Weight loss is really dependent on our mindset and behavior, says registered dietitian Jenna Godfrey. You can be knowledgeable of the nutrition recommendations for weight loss, but you need self-awareness to address issues that are preventing you from losing the weight. Motivation also plays an important role in your success.

First take a look at your current eating pattern and lifestyle. Inspect the foods and meals you consume most frequently. Identify those foods you feel may be hindering your ability to lose weight (e.g. heavily processed foods like chips, sugar sweetened beverages, desserts, cold cuts, frozen foods, fast foods, etc.). Look at your typical portion sizes of higher calorie foods.

Further evaluate your eating behavior. Are you skipping any meals during the day causing you to have a huge meal for dinner with nighttime snacking? Are you using food as a coping mechanism for stressful situations? Are you getting take-out or going to restaurants often? Are you eating in front of a screen? Sit down and plan an eating routine that would work best for your lifestyle (e.g. 5-6 small meals/day or 3 larger meals/day).

Select one of your days off from work to start to plan your meals and prepare dishes ahead of time. Consider using a calorie counting app to help you strengthen your knowledge and skills in controlling what you eat and how much. Buy a second set of measuring cups and spoons and use them as often as possible. You may also want to purchase a food scale.

While you’re either eliminating or significantly reducing the amount of unhealthy foods in your diet, focus on increasing the amount of fresh fruits/vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins. The increased fiber from fruits, veggies and whole grains will promote weight loss by improving digestion and making you feel more satiated. Healthy fats (olive oil, nuts/seeds, avocado, fish) and lean proteins (lean meats/poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy) will also help you feel fuller for a longer period after eating so that you will be less likely to overeat.

Stop yourself before grabbing a second plate of food. Wait 10-20 minutes after eating your first plate to determine if you are still significantly hungry. If you are comfortable and even feel just mildly full, do not go back for more food. Limit yourself to a set quantity of food at each meal or with snacks.

Exercise is just as important as dietary changes. Plan to exercise at least 3 days per week for no less than 30 minutes each day. Do a mixture of cardio and weight training and focus on workouts you enjoy.

Lastly, make sure you are consuming enough fluids. Water is the preferred fluid source. The average healthy adult needs a minimum of 8-10 cups daily (8 ounces each = 64-80 ounces/day). Avoid fruit juices, sodas, energy drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

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