Losing weight and maintaining weight loss can be a challenge. When it comes to losing weight the healthy way, remember that slow and steady wins the race.

How to lose weight the healthy way

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Losing weight and maintaining weight loss can be a challenge. When it comes to losing weight the healthy way, remember that slow and steady wins the race. Many weight loss plans like very low calorie diets provide quick weight loss, but a very restrictive plan can be difficult to follow long term which may result in regaining weight that you worked hard to lose.

For sustained weight loss, an individual approach works best. Everyone may have different behaviors that are causing them to potentially gain excess weight. Some of these behaviors might include:

  • Drinking too many beverages that contain excess sugar and calories like regular soda, juice drinks, energy drinks, specialty coffee drinks, and sugar sweetened teas.
  • Eating large portions at meals.
  • Grazing or excess snacking on high calorie foods like potato chips, crackers, cookies, or candy throughout the day or night.
  • Eating out at restaurants for many meals.
  • Inconsistent or very little exercise.
  • Eating for emotional reasons rather than eating when feeling hungry.

How to Make Changes

Once you have identified the areas that might need some work pertaining to your lifestyle, it is time to create plans for how to change these habits. Change can be difficult, but starting small can lead to big results in the long run. Aim to start with making small changes:

  • Decreasing the amount of sugar sweetened drinks you are consuming by half, and then progress to avoiding these drinks all together or just drinking them occasionally.
  • Use a smaller plate at meals to help reduce your portion sizes you typically eat. Plan your daily snacks and aim to include fruit and or a vegetable at snack times to increase your intake of vital nutrients and also reduce your overall calorie intake from snacking.
  • Plan a family meal one day a week instead of eating out at a restaurant.
  • When it comes to exercise, find something you enjoy doing. If you do not find exercise to be fun, then it will be difficult to get motivated and be consistent. Explore options like swimming, dancing, or walking.
  • Try to consume meals and snacks on a schedule and avoid turning to food when feeling stressed or sad. 

Hold Yourself Accountable

In order to lose weight and keep it off long term, you have to be committed to making healthy habit changes for life. It is normal to get off track with your healthy habits, but it is important to realize when you are falling back into old habits and identify how you need to get back to living healthy. 

If you find that you need additional support to keep up with your healthy habits, turn to positive people in your life like family and friends to help coach you towards your goals. Also, a registered dietitian can serve as a helpful cheerleader for assisting you with achieving goals for weight loss and helping you develop healthier habits for life.

Lemma Brown is a registered dietitian nutritionist, graduate of West Virginia University and Meredith College, and clinical dietitian specializing in bariatric nutrition at Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Lemma is passionate about nutrition and exercise for sustained weight loss and overall good health.