Failed attempts to lose weight can be frustrating, particularly when you typically eat a healthful, well-balanced diet. However, do not get down on yourself. Keep trying. Everyone deserves health and wellness, including you. A few simple changes can turn your weight loss goals into a success, and the rewards will be worth the journey.
Eating healthful foods can still lead to weight gain if you are eating large amounts of them. The same goes for health foods that are calorie dense, such as hummus and avocado. Sometimes overeating can be easy when you are accustomed to larger portion sizes or even using larger plates and bowls. Educate yourself on the appropriate serving sizes of the foods you eat. For the next week, portion your foods with measuring utensils. You will likely be surprised at how much you actually consume versus how much you think you consume. This realization can help you decrease the amount you eat, thereby decreasing your caloric consumption, which will lead to weight loss.
For the snackers out there, snacks can often result in weight gain if you do not control what and how much you eat. Sometimes what you consider a "snack" can actually be the caloric equivalent of a meal. Snacks should be 100 to 200 calories, depending on your current weight. Try using a calorie counter to help you track the snacks you consume. You might realize that your snacks are hindering your weight loss and might not be worth eating them.
Beverages can be tricky and actually provide hidden calories. "Natural" beverages do not translate into healthy or low-calorie beverages. Water should be your go-to beverage, but when craving something a little different try unsweetened flavored tea, flavored waters, low-calorie sparkling water or low-fat milk. Also, experiment with adding fresh fruit to a pitcher of water and allowing it to sit overnight. The next morning, the previously bland water will taste like a party in your mouth. Beverages serve to hydrate you body and are not meant to add unnecessary calories. Therefore, think before you drink.
Move, move, move and keep moving. Never underestimate the effects of physical activity on your weight and overall health. Consider this--how many times do you regret exercising? Presumably, rarely. Exercising helps you lose weight and increases your metabolism by building your muscle mass. Without regular physical activity, weight loss and maintenance is likely a long shot. The physical activity recommendation is 150 minutes every week at a moderate intensity. Try power walking with some neighborhood friends or playing frisbee with a dog at the park. You will notice a difference in your body when you make physical activity a priority.
Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can lead to weight gain. Read the labels of your medication to determine if weight gain may be a side effect. If so, consult your healthcare provider and express your weight concerns. A different medication may be medically feasible.
- Krause's Food & Nutrition Therapy; L. Kathleen Mahan and Sylvia Escott-Stump
Laura Michele Oliver received her bachelor's degree in nutrition from Auburn University. She served as a dietetic intern at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where she also graduated with a Master of Science in clinical nutrition. She now works as a registered dietitian in Brooklyn, N.Y.