If you’re one of the nearly half of U.S. adults who are actively trying to lose weight, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you’re clearly in good company. In fact, weight loss is one of the most popular new year’s resolutions year after year.
“It’s a resolution that resonates deeply with many, especially considering the societal emphasis on fitness and the pursuit of a more active, healthier life,” says Kiera Lane, N.M.D., MSAc, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., director of Arizona Natural Medicine. “Moreover, shedding extra pounds not only fosters better health but also aligns with broader aspirations for feeling more comfortable in one’s skin and improving overall quality of life.” Lane explains that this resolution represents a tangible step toward personal wellness and often serves as a catalyst for positive lifestyle changes.
Committing to losing weight has many health benefits, including potentially curing, improving or preventing a myriad of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, kidney disease, depression and even certain cancers. Losing weight will also help improve your own self image and overall outlook on life, Dr. Lane adds. “Being at a healthier weight will give someone more energy and vitality to enjoy living as well as help the person develop healthful habits and self discipline that will carry over into other aspects of their life,” she says. “They will also be seen as more attractive and will be received better by society, which can inherently boost their self-confidence.”
Whether it’s a lot or a little that you’re trying to shed, the goal of losing weight can be incredibly overwhelming. Luckily, there are some tried-and-true solutions that can help streamline the process and make it more manageable for you both in the short and long term. Health experts share their best kept secrets for making the weight-loss process less overwhelming.
1. Create clear and personal goals
“You need to have a clear and personal reason for wanting to lose weight, whether it’s to improve your health, appearance, or self-esteem,” says Roger E. Adams, Ph.D., personal trainer, doctor of nutrition, and owner of eatrightfitness. “Your motivation should be something that inspires you and keeps you going, even when you face obstacles or temptations.” He also recommends writing down your motivation and reminding yourself of it regularly. “Weight loss will only last if it’s personal,” he says. “If someone else in your life wants you to lose weight more than you do, your weight loss likely will not be sustainable.”
2. Adopt a balanced and sustainable diet
Embracing a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats can significantly help facilitate weight loss, as it ensures that your body is getting what it needs to function at optimal levels. Also key is ensuring that your dietary changes are sustainable—alterations that are realistic for you, and ones that you can keep up with longterm. “Sustainable dietary changes provide essential nutrients, maintain energy levels, and prevent feelings of deprivation, making it easier to stick to the plan long-term,” says Dr. Lane. She recommends staying away from diet fads and crash diets that put your body in a state of stress.
3. Practice mindful eating
It’s pertinent that you’re not only mindful of what you eat, but also how you eat. Dr. Lane suggests being mindful of portion sizes and avoiding mindless eating. “When you are snacking, ask yourself, ‘Am I really hungry or am I bored, angry, anxious or sad?’” she says. “Are you eating with your emotions not your stomach?” She also recommends using smaller plates, paying attention to hunger cues and eating slowly to savor your food. “Mindful eating promotes better awareness of satiety, prevents overeating, and encourages a healthier relationship with food, supporting weight loss efforts,” she adds.
4. Stay consistent
Consistency is key in achieving weight loss goals, notes Dr. Lane. “Results may not be immediate, so it’s crucial to stay patient and not get discouraged by temporary plateaus or slower progress,” she says. “Sustainable weight loss takes time, and consistent adherence to healthy habits, even when progress seems slow, that does not mean what you are doing is ineffective.” For healthy weight loss, she usually recommends losing no more than 1-2 pounds per week.
5. Incorporate weight training
To successfully and reliably lose weight, Robert Herbst, CPT, weight loss coach and powerlifter, urges the importance of weight training as a means to raise your metabolism to counter your body’s natural tendency to conserve calories. “The best way to do that is to lift weights, performing compound movements such as squats, lunges, bench press, and deadlifts that use the major muscle groups,” he says. “This will increase your metabolism for 48 to 72 hours afterwards as your body repairs the muscle that was broken down during the workout and builds additional muscle in anticipation of greater loads in the future.”