If you’re like many adults, you’re thinking about losing a little weight. Or maybe more than a little. Weight gain is natural as we age. And with modern desk jobs and processed food, losing weight can be tough.
But it is possible to reach and maintain a healthy weight! The goal isn’t to “get skinny” or become a bodybuilder. The goal isn’t to try a crash diet so you can fit into one outfit for one occasion. The goal is to simply find a balanced weight so you can feel stronger and healthier.
Here are 7 proven tools to help people lose weight the healthy way:
1. Weigh in
People who weigh themselves are more likely to lose weight. That’s often because you can’t know if you’re losing or gaining weight unless you measure it.
Losing weight fast isn’t the goal. And it isn’t even always safe! An average of 1-2 pounds lost per week is a healthy, steady weight loss speed. Losing weight slowly also makes it more likely you can keep it off in the long run.
Keep in mind, a scale is not an enemy. It’s just a tool to help you see where your weight is. Over time, you can see if that weight trend is going up, going down or staying the same. Aim to measure yourself four times a week—or even once a day—at the same time of day. Find a frequency that feels right and empowering, whatever that looks like to you.
2. Track your food
People who track their food lose an average of twice as much weight as those who don’t! And that makes sense: When we write down what we’re eating and drinking, it holds us accountable to our goals. It also raises our awareness of the things we’re consuming—things we might eat or drink without even thinking about it.
So how can you track what you eat and drink? You could use the food logging feature in the Teladoc Health app. Or you could track your food with another tool, like a different app or just a pen and paper. Tracking your food isn’t something you’ll need to do forever. It’s just a great tool to help you reach your goal weight. Taking note of what you eat and drink will help you see trends over time. And that can show you how certain eating patterns might affect your weight.
3. Eat nutritious meals
Everybody needs fuel. Why not give yourself the premium kind? Whether you track your food or not, eating well-rounded meals is key to a healthy body. And the best kind of fuel is the kind with lots of nutrients and vitamins.
Highly processed foods like cookies and chips often come loaded with salt, sugar and extra calories. This makes it really hard to lose weight. But foods like leafy greens, lean proteins and whole grains are the kind of fuel your body knows exactly what to do with. They also make it much easier to reach your weight goals. Not only that: These more natural foods are delicious and colorful, and they can fill you with more energy!
Not sure if your meal is a nutritious one? Use the Balanced Plate model. It’s as easy as eyeballing your meal to see how much is made up of non-starchy veggies, lean proteins and grains.
4. Move your body
Our bodies are meant to be in motion. So let’s move! Help keep your bones sturdy and your muscles strong by challenging them a little, most days or even every day. The goal is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate or strenuous physical activity per week. You could try walks on your work break, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the grocery store, or any other action that adds more activity to your day.
Not sure what moderate or strenuous might look like? A good rule of thumb is to get active in a way that makes your heart pump, your skin sweat and your lungs work a bit harder. Pain is not the goal! But a brisk walk or some light bicep curls can do the body good.
5. Log your activity
Just like logging your food can help hold you accountable, so can logging your activity. Step-counting apps on your smartphone or smartwatch make it easy! Or if you want to unplug from technology for a bit, you can simply write the number of minutes you spent exercising.
This will help you see if you’re getting close to that goal of 150 minutes of activity per week. Another solid goal is to aim for 7,500 steps per day. Work toward those targets slowly and use your activity log to see how close you are to reaching them.
6. Get plenty of sleep
It’s recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. And we know that’s easier said than done. But the goal is to get enough good-quality rest as many nights as possible. This helps balance hormone levels in the body, making it easier to lose weight and keep it off.
7. Find support
Losing weight can be tough. Keeping weight off can sometimes be even tougher. That’s why it’s helpful to have someone supporting you! Maybe you’d like someone to give you words of encouragement. Maybe you want someone to exercise with you or join you for healthy meals. Or maybe you just want the people in your life to be patient with you and recognize your hard work.
Think about what kind of support you want. Then think about who can give you that support. And the last step? Ask for it. You may be surprised at how many friends, coworkers and family members are more than happy to support you!
We’re here to support you too. Schedule a coaching session to work with an expert while you strive toward your goals.