Monday, January 16, 2006

Strategies for Losing Weight

Losing WeightThere are lots of ways to lose weight. But if you plan to lose more than 15 to 20 pounds, or if you take medication regularly, you should be evaluated by your doctor before beginning your plan. Your doctor or registered dietitian can help you arrive at a sensible weight loss goal. You may not need to lose as much weight for your health as you think. Sometimes the “cosmetic” desire to lose requires a great deal more loss than what is needed to lower your health risk.

Food Choices Are The Key

Any weight management program you consider should probably reduce your daily calorie intake anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories a day, depending on how many calories you are currently eating. Total fat should be 30 percent or less of your total calories. Reducing saturated fat is important especially if your cholesterol is high. However, eating less fat alone won’t give you the results you want unless your total calories are reduced, too. If cakes and cookies or breads and pastas are your favorites, you may need to reduce carbohydrates as well.

Increase Physical Activity

Increasing your physical activity is an important part of losing weight. Moreover, it will be a lot harder to maintain your weight loss without increasing your exercise. By exercising, you can lower your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes beyond that produced by weight loss alone. If you are at risk for heart disease, have a chronic illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes or you are obese, you should check with your doctor before adopting an exercise plan.

Change Your Behavior and See Results

Behavior therapy is a sort of a fancy way to talk about basic learning principles that can help you overcome barriers to changing your eating and exercise habits. For example it will be natural for you to set weight loss goals. But you need to look at your behavior when you set them:

* Are your goals specific?
* Are your goals attainable?
* Are your goals forgiving?

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