by Dr. Janet Brill, Registered Dietitian
The most important thing for people to understand is that in order to lose weight, it’s better to choose a lifestyle rather than simply choosing a diet.
A person needs to learn how to eat fewer calories and a more nutritious diet. Smaller portion sizes are key, while still eating some of your favorite foods.
Eating healthy and in smaller amounts, combined with exercise, is a much better path to weight loss success than fad diets ever will be!
In my experience, people who have succeeded at weight loss have figured out how to eat less calories and burn more of them off through exercise. It’s really as simple as that.
Those individuals who are most successful at losing weight and keeping it off tend to eat small and more frequent meals. I recommend to my patients that they continue to eat three main meals a day and then add a few healthy snacks in-between.
This approach to dieting will not only keep your blood pressure on an even keel, it will also raise your metabolic rate. This is because eating burns calories in order to metabolize the food you are consuming.
This is a good way to keep your “metabolic furnace” burning at a higher rate by feeding your body healthy, low-calorie and high fiber snack foods.
Foods that are high in lean protein also increase metabolism and take the edge off your appetite. Combine this with lots of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts and legumes, and you will be well on your way to a heart-healthy lifestyle that helps you lose weight and feel great.
The answer to this is basically one word: Exercise. If you’re not willing to exercise than that means you’re not willing to keep the weight off.
We know now from studies that have been done that people who have been successful at losing weight and keeping it off at least five years all had one thing in common: they embraced regular exercise as part of their daily lifestyle.
Yes, you can lose weight without exercise, but keeping it off without exercise is pretty much impossible. Not many folks can go through life eating very few calories and not exercising in order to maintain their weight.
On the other hand, if you can get around 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every single day, you have a much better chance of keeping the weight off for good.
Simply going out for a brisk walk around the neighborhood can be enough to burn off those calories and keep your waistline trim. Thirty minutes of exercise a day will do it!
The good news is that if you plan ahead, you can eat whenever you want as long as it fits into your daily calorie allowance. While it’s not the greatest of habits to get into, if you really want to eat late at night you can.
I like to tell my patients that midnight snacking is like driving your car. You typically don’t fill it up with fuel when you come home. Instead, you fuel it first thing in the morning and you add fuel throughout the day.
But if you absolutely adore snacking late at night, then you can find a way to fit that into your calorie allotment for the day. Just make sure it’s a healthy snack that’s lower in calories and won’t prevent you from falling asleep.
Over the long run, people can perhaps be helped by certain supplements if they choose the right ones. Drinking green tea, for example, can boost your metabolism.
Having said that, it’s important to remember that you cannot buy weight loss in a pill. Natural weight loss supplements should be viewed as support for a really good exercise and diet program, and nothing more than that.
Ultimately, it is about learning how to change that particular behavior that caused you to gain weight in the first place. When you can pinpoint that behavior and then change it, you will be able to lose weight and keep it off.
At the end of the day, eating healthy, reducing your calories and getting your daily exercise remain the keys to weight loss success.
(published November 9, 2012)
Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, is a leading diet, nutrition, and fitness expert specializing in cardiovascular disease prevention. She is the author of Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks – Without Prescription Drugs (Three Rivers Press, 2006), and Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease (Three Rivers Press, Feb. 2011). To learn more about Dr. Janet, get delicious heart-healthy recipes, or buy her books, please visit DrJanet.com or PreventaSecondHeartAttack.com.