Nutrition

Realistic Goals Must Be Set to Lose Weight


Saturday, December 01, 2001

When starting any weight loss program, realistic goals need to be set. Ask yourself how much weight is realistic for you to lose and keep off? And, keep in mind that losing weight means taking in fewer calories and changing your eating habits. The following strategies can help you get started.

  • Exercise: Start slowly with daily 10 to 15 minute walks. You will feel better and it helps to get into an exercise routine. A healthy goal would be to exercise 30 minutes, five times a week. Make sure to check with your physician before starting any exercise program to ensure injury does not occur.

  • Resign from the "Clean Plate" club: Cut your food intake by a fourth of what you normally eat. One bite here and there adds up. If you dead set on eating everything on your plate, use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate and do not go back for seconds.

  • Every meal should include at least one serving of fruit or vegetables: This will provide you with extra fiber and you will discover that you are not as hungry. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day. A lot of times you might think you are hungry when you are actually thirsty.

  • Start bringing lunch to work: The extra calories picked up by eating out add up. If eliminated, you will lose weight.

  • Be very skeptical of "cure all" diets: They are the diets that claim to be quick, effortless, and rely on personal testimonies rather than scientific research to prove they are safe and effective. An example is the low-carbohydrate diet. This diet can cause quick weight loss but its from an unhealthy loss of muscle tissue and water. When a person does not eat any carbohydrates, the body takes its stored glucose, known as glycogen, for energy. Glycogen has water attached to it and is released when used. The body then breaks down muscle protein to provide energy to organs.

  • Keep a food and exercise journal: It allows you to see what and when you eat. Weekly, evaluate your calorie intake and exercise regimen and plan goals for the following week. If you need to lose weight, a loss of as little as 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight will significantly improve your health.

So, take it one pound at a time, follow these simple steps and you should get off to a great start with your weight loss goal.

Theresa R. Prendergast, LDN, RD, CDETheresa Prendergast, LDN
Specializing in Nutritional and Diabetic Education