More Health:

December 18, 2019

Here's how to stick to a weight loss plan in the new year

Healthy Eating Weight Loss
Weight Loss Plan Public Domain/Pexels

Hectic schedules and daily stressors can make it hard to stick to a weight loss plan.

More than 62% of Americans are overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk for health issues like coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and even some cancers. 

While hectic schedules and daily stressors can make it hard to stick to a weight loss plan, health experts from Healthline, The Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. 

To help get you started, here are some of their tips: 

Don't expect a quick transformation

Researchers have found that when obese people set unrealistic expectations for themselves, they are more likely to quit their weight loss program within the year, according to Healthline.

Instead, experts suggest shooting to lose no more than two pounds a week. Anything more than that can lead to frustration when those pounds are not so easily shed.

Keep your motivation high

Maintaining new healthy habits isn't always easy. That is why it is important to find ways to stay motivated. Are you doing it for your health? So you can be more active for your kids? 

Whatever is driving your weight-loss goals, keep that at the forefront on your mind, especially on those days when you are tired and want to give in to temptation.

Cleveland Clinic experts also recommend that taking time to think about the challenges keeping you from losing weight. It could stress, work or family schedules, among other possibilities. Once you have a better idea of any possible obstacles, set some goals to make the needed changes in your daily life.

Avoid temptation as much as possible 

If you recognize that chips are your Achilles heel, stop buying them at the supermarket every week. If you tend to eat more junk food when you are out drinking with friends, then you might want to turn those weekly hangouts at the bar into other types of social interaction. Maybe try going to a museum or taking a class together. 

Also, limit snacking in front of the television or computer. People can be less mindful about what they are eating and can easily consume more calories than they realize. 

Allow yourself some cheat days

Experts say that there is nothing wrong with a cheat day every once in a while. If you are at a wedding, enjoy a piece of that delicious cake and one or two glasses of wine. Or if you are just having a really bad day, that bowl of ice cream while watching Netflix doesn't have to completely derail your weight-loss plan. Try to plan your cheat days when you can and remember that a little indulgence is OK.

Always be prepared with healthy snacks and meal options

People tend to grab those not-so-healthy snacks and meals when they are rushed for time or when they are tired at the end of the work day and didn't plan ahead for dinner. It all comes down to preparation. 

On the weekend, try to prepare healthy snacks and lunches to take to work or school, and have all the ingredients on hand at home for dinner to avoid the temptation to order pizza again. 

Incorporate exercise into your weight-loss plan

One weight-loss study found that participants achieved more success when they started both dieting and exercising at the beginning of their weight-loss plans. Exercise can be as simple as a quick walk or more intense like elliptical training or playing a sport. 

Build in personal accountability

Stay motivated and invested in your weight-loss plan by tracking your progress and letting family and friends know what you are trying to do so they can cheer you on.

Do it with a friend

Life often is more fun and easier with a friend. So why not join a weight-loss program with a couple of them? The extra support will help keep you on track with your weight-loss goals.

"Research has shown that eating and exercise habits are greatly affected by your social network," according to Kerry J. Stewart, professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "In other words, you're more likely to exercise and eat smaller portions if you spend time with people who do the same, and vice versa. So choose some fit and healthy friends, and get your immediate family to join you and support your healthy habits."  

Don't skip breakfast

Nutritionists recommend a high protein breakfast to provide the proper fuel for the day ahead. Eating six smaller meals instead of three big meals throughout the day also can keep energy levels from flagging and make it tempting to reach for that hidden stash of cookies during the mid-afternoon slump. 

Good snacks to keep on hand include graham crackers, oat bran, whole wheat pretzels, fruit and nuts. Stewart also suggests that people avoid foods with trans fat and limit their sugar and salt intakes.

If you still find yourself struggling with your weight-loss goals, talk to your doctor about nutrition and weight-loss programs you can join for added guidance and support.

Follow us

Health Videos