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Tips to Jump Start Your New Year's Resolution Weight Loss

Stephanie McKee, PA-C
ACMC-Marshall, Family Medicine

Weight loss. For two simple words, it can be a pretty hefty challenge to tackle. But before you beat yourself up about it, just remember the weight didn't go on overnight and you won't lose it overnight either. With some exercise, a healthy diet and some self discipline you can lose weight.

"The best way to manage weight loss is to look at your overall lifestyle. When you gain weight, it isn't because you did one thing wrong. It's typically a whole package of things like always giving in to that 1,200 calorie dessert, drinking a six pack of soda pop a day and being physically inactive. That means when it comes to losing weight, you'll need to incorporate a variety of changes to your lifestyle," said Stephanie McKee, PA-C.

  1. Don't drink your calories. Choose calorie free drinks like water. Dress your water up by adding a lemon or lime slice. Aim for at least 64 ounces of water a day especially if you are increasing your physical activity. All sweetened drinks can cause cravings for more sugar. The bottom line: water is better.
  2. Get moving. As a society, we are a lot less active now than ever before. Turn the TV off and go for a walk. Hit the stairs on your afternoon break. Crank up the tunes and dance while you clean. Take the dog for a walk instead of letting him run loose in the yard. Whatever your preference may be, start to make small changes that allow you to increase your overall daily activity.
  3. Make an exercise plan. Between work, running a household and extracurriculars in your life, you're probably wondering when you're possibly supposed to squeeze in a workout. Wake up earlier or work out over lunch. Find a way to work out, incorporating both aerobic and weights, at least three times a week for thirty minutes per workout. Weight lifting allows you to build muscle, which revs your metabolism even after your done working out. Find a workout you enjoy and don't be afraid to shake up your workout routine. It'll make sticking to it easier.
  4. Focus on eating healthier foods and balanced meals. Don't jump on board the latest diet craze. Make healthy food choices and modify your quantity and portion sizes. That's a diet you can live with.
  5. Set realistic and specific goals. The more realistic and specific your goals, the easier it will be to stick too them. Plan out short-term and long-term goals too. When you have a short-term goal of working out four times a week, as you reach that goal week after week, it will help keep you motivated to work toward your long-term goal of dropping twenty pounds.
  6. Keep a detailed food and exercise journal—there are apps for that. Many people are surprised at just how many calories a day they consume. Record everything you eat and drink, including when you eat it. When you're aware of what you're putting in your body, you're one step closer to making a big change that could yield big results.
  7. Allow yourself an occasional slip. Nobody's perfect and inevitably you'll slip up at some point. But that doesn't mean that you should give up your weight loss plan. You're more likely to stick with it if you allow yourself to cheat from time to time. In fact, you're less likely to gorge yourself on a mountain full of buttery movie popcorn (insert favorite food indulgence here) if you let yourself indulge in moderation.
  8. Reward yourself. You've worked hard. Just don't reward yourself with food. Set up a reward system that works for you.

Whatever your weight loss goals, focus on losing no more than a half to two pounds a week. Anymore then that and you're doing your body more harm than good. You'll send your body into starvation mode and end up regaining any weight you've lost.

"Unfortunately there's no one-size-fits-all approach to losing weight. What works for you may not work for someone else. When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady often wins the race," said McKee.

Make small lifestyle changes a little bit at a time, and you're on your way to a healthier you!