If the thought of dieting makes your skin crawl, you’re not alone. The first 3 letters in the word “diet” says it all: D-I-E. As dietitians, we feel that it’s more important to promote healthy living and lifestyle changes as opposed to dieting which often conjures up images of deprivation and difficult regimens done on a temporary basis that are impossible to sustain for life. However, if you’re looking to lose weight within a specific time frame (a month), there’s one additional thing you’ll need to consider- what happens when that month is over? Many of us who try to prepare for special events such as weddings, vacations, reunions and such, plan out our weight loss goals right up until the event and much like a “diet” when that date passes, we resume regular eating behaviors. In the end most people eventually gaining back all the weight they lost plus a few extra pounds.
Weight loss happens when we experience a negative energy balance-meaning that the calories consumed are less than what we expend throughout the day either through activity or normal bodily functions. A non-diet weight loss approach may begin with a trip to your doctor where together you can explore any medical conditions or potential barriers to being closer to your goal weight.
Next you may want to consider setting up realistic weight loss goals. A healthy rate of weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week; although the amount of weight individuals lose week to week can vary greatly based on gender, age, current weight, height, and of course activity level.
Once you have a basic plan in place, here are 3 key concepts that may be beneficial to keep in mind throughout your journey.
Breakfast helps jumpstart your metabolism in the morning. If you skip it, you may not only be slowing your metabolic rate making it more difficult to lose weight but any skipped meal could also cause you to get very hungry leading to overeating at your next meal.
Dining Out Wisely
Restaurant portions are usually oversized so you may want to consider splitting a meal with a dining companion or even ask for a to-go bag to divide your meal in half to take home. Other strategies may include asking for your dressings or sauces to be served on the side, selecting grilled entrées over fried, and start your meal with a broth-based soup which takes up space in the stomach helping you to eat less.
Regular physical activity will not only help you lose weight but keep it off over a lifetime. Visit the ACEFit website. From there you can select the “Workouts and Programs” button for an entire routine or the “Exercise Library” for just a couple new moves to rev up an existing program.