Seven Secrets of Weight Management

If you have ever tried to take off weight, you know that it’s more than a matter of promising yourself that you’ll eat less and move more. You also need to mentally prepare yourself for new behaviors. Here are some tips for getting and staying in a healthy weight mindset.

Start small.

Many people set unrealistic goals for the amount of weight they want to lose. But you can greatly improve your health by losing just 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight. While you may choose to lose more weight later, keep in mind that this initial goal is both realistic and valuable.

Alpine Cardiology Aim for Healthy WeightSet smart goals.

It’s important to set goals that are specific, achievable, and “forgiving” (allow you to be less than perfect). For example, “exercise more” is a fine goal, but it’s not very specific. “Walk for 60 minutes every day” is specific and perhaps achievable. But what if you have a bad cold one day, and you awake to a drenching rainstorm on another? “Walk 60 minutes, 5 days each week” is specific, achievable, and forgiving. A great goal!

Build on success.

Rather than focusing on one big goal, choose a series of smaller goals that will bring you closer and closer to your larger goal. For example, if one of your big goals is to reduce your daily calories from 2,000 to 1,200, first reduce your calories to 1,700, then move to 1,400, and finally to 1,200. Likewise, with physical activity, first establish a “small” new habit—such as walking 10 minutes a day—and then gradually increase it. Everyone can find time to exercise 10 minutes each day.

When you experience success at reaching a small goal, it will motivate you to keep moving toward your larger goals.

Reward yourself!

Rewards that you control will encourage you to achieve your goals. For a reward to work well, choose something you really want, don’t put off giving it to yourself, and make it dependent on meeting a specific goal.

The reward you choose may be something you buy for yourself or an act of self-kindness, such as an afternoon off from your usual responsibilities or an evening spent with a friend. Avoid food as a reward. It usually works better to give yourself frequent, small rewards for reaching short-term goals than bigger rewards that require a long, difficult effort.

Write it down.

Regularly record what you do on your weight-loss program, such as your daily calorie intake and amount of physical activity, as well as changes in your weight. (Try to weigh yourself at the same time of day once or twice a week.) Keeping track this way can help you and your health care provider determine what behaviors you may want to improve. Keeping tabs on your progress can also help you stay motivated.

Know your triggers.

To lose weight successfully, you’ll need to be aware of your personal eating “triggers.” These are the situations that usually bring on the urge to overeat. For instance, you may get a case of the munchies while watching TV, when you see treats next to the office coffeepot, or when you’re with a friend who loves to snack. To “turn off” the trigger, you’ll need to make a change in the tempting situation. Example: If the pile of doughnuts near the coffeepot is hard to resist, leave the scene as soon as you pour yourself a cup of coffee.

The fine art of feeling full.

Changing the way you eat can help you eat less without feeling deprived. Eating slowly can help you feel
satisfied sooner, and therefore you will avoid second helpings. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits and drinking plenty of noncaloric beverages can also make you feel fuller. Another trick is to use smaller plates and taller, narrower glasses so that moderate portions don’t seem skimpy. It can also help to set a regular eating schedule, especially if you tend to skip or delay meals.

How To Choose a Weight-Loss Program

Alpine Cardiology Aim for Healthy WeightSome people lose weight on their own, while others like the support of a structured program.

If you decide to participate in a weight loss program, here are some questions to ask before you join:

  • Does the program provide counseling to help you change your eating and activity habits?
    • The program should teach you how to permanently change eating and lifestyle habits, such as lack of physical activity, that have contributed to weight gain. Research shows that people who successfully keep weight off are those who make changes in their overall lifestyles, rather than simply join an exercise program.
  • Does the staff include qualified health professionals, such as nutritionists, registered dietitians, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and exercise physiologists?
    • Qualified professionals can help you lose weight safely and successfully. Before getting started, you’ll need to be examined by a doctor if you have any health problems, are currently taking or plan to take any medicine, or plan to lose more than 15 to 20 pounds.
  • Does the program offer training on how to deal with times when you may feel stressed and slip back into old habits?
    • The program should provide long-term strategies for preventing and coping with possible weight problems in the future. These strategies might include setting up a support system and a regular physical activity routine.
  • Do you help make decisions about food choices and weight-loss goals?
    • In setting weight-loss goals, the program staff should consider your personal food likes and dislikes, as well as your lifestyle. Avoid a “one strategy fits all” program.
  • Are there fees and costs for additional items, such as dietary supplements?
    • Before you sign up, find out the total costs of participating in the program. If possible, get the costs in writing.
  • How successful is your program?
    • Few weight-loss programs gather reliable information on how well they work. But it’s still worthwhile to ask:
      • What percentage of people who start this program complete it?
      • What percentage of people experience problems or side effects? What are they?
      • What is the average weight loss among those who finish the program?

Thin Quickies:

Alpine Cardiology Aim for Healthy WeightAre High-Fat, Low-Carb Diets the Way to Go?

The currently popular high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets promise quick, dramatic weight loss. But they’re not the route to healthy, long-term weight management. A diet high in fat, especially if it is high in saturated fat, is not good for your heart. These diets are also high in protein and can cause kidney problems and increased bone loss. High-fat, low-carb diets are also low in many essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

While some people following this type of a diet lose weight in the short term, much of the weight loss is due to water loss. As with most quick-fix diets, the weight tends to quickly return once you stop dieting. The best course is to steer clear of all fad diets.

The healthiest, most effective route to long-term weight loss is a lower fat, lower calorie, well-balanced diet.

Dr. Bobish

Dr. Bobish and her team’s goal is to help you reduce your risk of heart disease. Helping you to understand your risk factors and make healthful lifestyle changes.

Remember regardless of age or current state of health it is never too late to start protecting your heart. It is also never too soon and the sooner you act the better. Follow us on Facebook to see our latest post helping to keep you heart healthy. You can also explore all our articles that offer diet and exercise tips, recipes and information on procedures and heart disease.

Dr. Bobish and her team focus on preventative care and are here to support you. Alpine Cardiology provides patients with education as well as compassionate care and treatment. We are committed to keeping you healthy and heart smart! Request an appointment at 989-448-7002

Guide to a Healthy Heart

We are committed to keeping Northern Michigan healthy and heart-smart!

Over the next several months we will be publishing a series of articles that will become A Guide to a Healthy Heart. By breaking these guidelines into chapters we are able to offer more in depth information on the topics. Watch our Facebook page or website for the latest article.

Alpine Cardiology’s goal is to give you a better understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle and to take care of your heart. To take the mystery out of what the tests are and what they mean. To encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors and how to reduce your risk. The more you know and understand the more likely you are to be successful in reducing risk and having a healthier lifestyle.

Links to published chapters are below if you would like to explore the guide more.

  1. Why should I care about heart disease?
  2. Heart Disease – What you need to know
  3. Are you at risk of developing heart disease?
  4. What are your numbers?
  5. Major Risk Factors
  6. Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk
  7. Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol
  8. Weight and Heart Disease
  9. Diabetes and Heart Disease
  10. What Else Affects Heart Disease
  11. Risk Factors Specific to Women
  12. Taking Charge: An Action Plan for Heart Health
  13. Give Your Heart a Little TLC
  14. Figuring Out Fat
  15. Aim for a Healthy Weight – Part 1
  16. Aim for a Healthy Weight – Part 2
  17. Time to be Active
  18. You Can Quit Smoking
  19. Aspirin – Take with Caution
  20. Heart Healthy is a Family Affair
  21. A Change of Heart