Simple Changes at First Can Lead to Lasting Weight Loss

I am one of the millions who have resolved to lose weight; a resolution easily broken last year with my first visit to “French Dip Friday” at my favorite lunch establishment near work. It is very easy for me to say yes to fries when I’m already eating a meaty, cheesy sandwich. Unfortunately, my pants have begun to say no to my waistline, so something needs to be done.

“The best way to lose weight is a lifestyle change with diet and exercise,” says Nicholas Moy, MD, a primary care physician at VM’s Seattle Main Campus. “But that is also the hardest to do.”

Eat an apple as a snack.

Eat an apple as a snack.

Using a popular fad diet may result in rapid weight loss, but most people will find those types of diets unsustainable over time. The best way to lasting weight loss is gradual changes over time. One to two pounds per week is a great goal. Dr. Moy suggests these tips to start:

  • Cut down your portions to what a portion should be: nothing larger than a salad plate.
  • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet, but do it in a way that is sustainable to your lifestyle. Snack on an apple or pear one or two days a week, and add an extra serving of vegetables at dinner time two to three days a week.
  • Cut back on unhealthy snacks like chips, crackers and cookies, but also do it slowly. So instead of a bag of chips every day, cut back to every other day. If you eat two cookies a night, cut back to one, and then eventually one every other night.
  • Don’t drink your calories from things like soda and creamy coffee beverages. Water is the best beverage choice when trying to lose weight.

“As you get used to those small changes, keep adding to them as time goes on, which makes the changes not so drastic,” Dr. Moy advises. “If on the other hand you have difficulty sticking to changes, a structured program like Weight Watchers or a support group like Overeaters Anonymous can be helpful and keep you on track.”

And speaking of keeping on track, I’m also planning to track what I eat. It’s been proven that women who keep food journals consistently lose about six pounds more than those who don’t.

And although I’m focused on what I’m eating to lose weight, I will eventually start adding exercise to my routine. Mónica Guzmán’s column last weekend in Sunday’s Seattle Times gives a great rundown of apps and hardware to help obtain fitness goals. (I may even try the Zombies, Run! app to help incorporate some exercise into my resolution to lose weight – if I’m going to make a lifestyle change, it might as well be fun.)