Healthy Weight Loss

It is easy to promise a rapid weight loss since that is what people seem to want.  However, everyone knows that rapid weight loss means rapid weight gain.  It does not work for the long haul.  The question to ask yourself is the following: "do I want a long term healthy weight where I feel good or do I want to be thin now no matter what the long term consequences are??"
 
If you want to be thin now and have no concern about your health and long term weight, then this article is not for you.  There are plenty of get thin quick programs out there who are happy to take your money.  If you are interested in feeling good, and ultimately looking good, then keep reading.
It is understandable if you want to lose weight overnight and be thin quickly.  However, many studies have shown that the people who lose weight gradually by changing their overall lifestyle keep it off and live a longer, healthier life.  Healthy weight loss is not about dieting, it is about a mind set and lifestyle. Losing weight is not easy but it is achievable.  When weight loss is done correctly you lose fat, build muscle, increase energy, feel satisfied, etc.
 
The first step in achieving a healthy weight is to be honest with yourself about why you want to lose weight.  Focus on how you will feel and the things that you can do with weight loss.  Do not just think about looking thin.  It may take you a while to get to that point and you will get frustrated if that is all you are focused on.  Focusing on the healthy aspects of weight loss will keep you motivated as you lose weight gradually.  Losing 10 pounds may not seem like a lot to a 200 pound woman, but it is a 5% weight loss!  That will not get you into a size 8, but it will certainly help your health.  Make a commitment to lose weight for the long term so that you can live a life full of energy and vitality, and hopefully medicine free.  Write down the things that motivate you (being there for grand children, being able to do activities you enjoy, being able to get off medication, etc).  Look at these daily to motivate you.  Enlist the help of a loved one who can help motivate you when needed.  An accountability partner can be huge!!  Get a partner that has health as a goal and will be a positive influence.  Above all, focus on progress not perfection.  There will be challenges and yes, you will eat the wrong things at times.  That does not matter.  What matters is that you are focused on your health.  Slow, steady progress is the name of the game.  Set short term goals that are achievable.  Yes, you will have a long term goal but focus on the short term achievable goals.  Be realistic and honest with yourself.  This is not a race against anyone but yourself so take the time that you need to get to your goal.  If you need help with this, ask your physician to guide you.
 
The second step in achieving a healthy weight is to work on what you are eating.  Take a few days and keep a diary of what you eat and drink.  Then sit down and evaluate it.  Do not beat yourself up!  This is an awareness exercise, not a chance to be cruel to yourself.  Once you know what you are doing, you can change it.  My advice is to make a list of the things that you want to change about your diet.  Start changing one at a time.  For example, if you drink soda every day and eat out at fast food often do not stop both at the same time.  First work on getting rid of the soda.  Once that is easy to avoid, then you can work on substituting the fast food for healthier meals.  Start with small steps that you can do.  That is the key to success.  Do not overhaul your whole diet overnight.  This will lead to frustration and ultimately failure for most people.  Be patient with yourself.  You will get to a healthy diet--it will take time to break any bad habits.  Your ultimate goal is to drink water daily, avoid sodas, avoid energy drinks, drink minimal alcohol if any, avoid processed foods as much as possible, and minimize desserts.  Your diet eventually will be full of vegetables, some fruit, beans, nuts, and healthy meats.  This will take a while to achieve.  Also, be aware that it is likely that you will occasionally have desserts and some processed foods.  That is ok.  The ultimate goal is to have 80% or more of this website what you eat be for nutrition and 20% or less be the fun foods.  There are plenty of great books out there to help you to achieve a healthy diet--True Food Kitchens in particular has a great recipe book.  I also spending the time to guide people who need one on one help.
 
The third step to achieving a healthy weight is to start moving.  If you do not move, it is difficult to build muscle and energy.  Start with a commitment for five minutes a day.  When that becomes easy increase it to ten minutes.  Work slowly until you can achieve 45 to 60 minutes 5-7 days per week.  Again, this will not happen overnight.  Enlist the help of a workout partner.  Utilizing a trainer or physical therapist (can use insurance) can be extremely helpful as well.  If you are prone to injuries or have not exercised in a while, I highly advise using an expert to help you. 
 
Please keep in mind that everyone's body is different.  What works for your spouse or friend, may not work for you.  Go at your pace and make changes at your pace.  How fast you go is not the issue, it is the fact that you are committed to health and that you make daily progress, no matter how small.  Focus on progress not perfection!!!
 
Dr. Laurie Blanscet has a concierge family practice in Murrieta and also is a specialist on bio-identical hormones. She is the founder of the Optimal Wellness Network--Inland Valley's premier wellness network.  www.ownhealthtoday.com.