Ideal weight management or losing weight is a lifelong journey for most women. There are times in our life when bouts of weight-gain are more likely, such as during menopause. Science has given us many strategies for losing and maintaining a healthy weight but for some the journey can be overwhelming. Food choices and food preparation is part of our culture, impacted by
-economics, and influenced by our emotional makeup. Because weight management is a life long journey, it is vital to begin each day as a new day and not spiral downward after having a day of over-eating, consuming junk food, or not being physically active.
Are you ready? Readiness for change is the first step and can be exciting. For women who are bitter or angry about weight management, the chance for real change is minimal. Changing your attitude to one of opportunity and renewal will position you for greater success. Eliciting social support in the journey to lose weight is important but can be difficult, as many women report less than supportive behaviors from people around them. It is important to wisely choose your circle of support and avoid the topic of weight management with those who are less than reassuring. Scientific evidence encourages women to use multiple strategies for weight management. I will provide five strategies that are supported by science and will work for you.
First, I would encourage you to work with an external source such as a health care provider, a nurse, a dietitian, or a weight loss program. An outside source will encourage you and instill accountability for your choices. We will teach you about foods and how to be mindful about what you eat and drink each day. This means having an awareness of the calories, or at least an estimate of the total calories for the day.
Second, eating to the point of feeling full is overeating. A major aspect of weight loss is having a sense of portion sizes and an example of mindfulness. Most of us had to relearn what adequate portion sizes are and when to stop eating. Using a desert plate instead of a dinner plate (no seconds) is an easy strategy. When you eat out immediately split the meal and share or take home the other half, best done when the meal is delivered to your table.
Third, begin the process of becoming educated about foods, how to read food labels, and learn to “food prep”. Science supports that having pre-made snacks and meals especially when time is limited, improves the quality of food and improves portion control. For example, placing 10 to 12 almonds in a baggie is a quick and satisfying snack. In my home, we have baggies full of almonds ready to go. Meal prepping is time consuming and a commitment to planning ahead. It begins with a grocery list and sticking to it.
Fourth and extremely important is to purchase a scale and weigh yourself daily. This keeps weight loss on the radar. You can expect some fluctuation in your weight of a couple pounds. This is normal and is related to water intake. We weigh patients in the hospital every day as a way to assess hydration.
Last and really a life changer is to find a physical activity that you enjoy. Bottom-line is you need to be active. Time to move! The list of fun activities is endless and exploring different activities may be the best part of keeping active. The science behind being active and weight loss is simple. Being active triggers the cell to be more accepting of insulin which in turn converts glucose (the cell’s fuel) into energy.
These are just five strategies of many that will lead to weight loss, improved mood, energy, and all the benefits from having an ideal body weight. Addressing modifiable lifestyle factors now will significantly impact your health ten years from now by preventing diabetes, elevated cholesterol, heart disease and many other chronic conditions. If you would like our support in this journey reach out. As always, I encourage you to have a primary care provider. We are your partner in health.