A great many people want to lose weight but even if they are successful initially, the weight tends to be put back on over time. What is needed to lose weight permanently is to establish a new lifestyle based on a sensible diet and exercise program. But knowing what particular diet and what exercise guidelines to trust is a problem that needs to be solved at the outset, so no time, effort or money are wasted.
Adopt a Sensible Diet to Lose Weight Permanently
Good trustworthy sources for sensible eating and sound nutrition are the U.S. Government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the USDA’s MyPyramid. These sources provide the information necessary for interested people to design their own personal diets based on gender, age, weight, height, and physical activity level.
For those who desire more detailed guidance on a diet plan, the new Mayo Clinic Diet book and companion journal are recommended. Based on clinical experience with thousands of overweight and obese patients, the Mayo Clinic Diet also incorporates sound research on nutrition and physical activity necessary for permanent weight loss.
A sensible diet is one that emphasizes wise food choices such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat or skim dairy products, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, fish and only limited servings of meat. See the sources cited above for in-depth information on healthy food choices and nutrition.
Change Bad Eating Habits for Permanent Weight Loss
There are a large number of bad eating habits that contribute to weight gain and the inability to keep excess weight off. These bad habits must be broken for permanent weight loss success and include:
- Stop eating fast food.
- Stop eating fattening foods, snacks, and desserts.
- Don’t skip meals (leads to bingeing).
- Don’t eat meals in front of TV.
- Don’t eat large meals or large portions of anything other than vegetables.
- Stop using salt or sugar in cooking or seasoning food.
- Don’t consume alcohol in excess (it’s high in calories and provides no nutrition).
- Don’t drink sugary or diet drinks (drink water instead).
Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new diet or exercise program. This is vitally important if you have a chronic medical condition.
Form New Exercise Habits for Permanent Weight Loss
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published detailed guidelines on physical activity for Americans. Findings include strong evidence of weight loss when coupled with calorie restrictions for adults who need to lose weight. Moderate intensity aerobic physical activity like brisk walking should be performed for 150 minutes per week for substantial health benefits or for 300 minutes a week (five hours) for even more extensive health benefits. Also recommended are two strength training sessions per week on non-consecutive days. The Physical Activity Guidelines should be consulted for more details.
People are encouraged to walk every day to lose weight partly because a daily habit is easier to establish and sustain than a three or five day habit. A commitment of daily walks for three months should be sufficient to firmly establish the habit.
Permanent Weight Loss is Just a Few Habits Away
The obstacles to permanent weight loss are mainly not knowing specifically what to do, and making a commitment to do what it takes both to lose weight and to keep it off. Reliable information and guidance are readily available through U.S. Federal Government sources such as those cited above. Once the necessary knowledge is acquired, firm commitments are needed to make the changes and to form the new habits that are capable of producing permanent weight loss. Nearly everyone who can read and walk can be successful at losing weight permanently.
- mypyramid.gov, “MyPyramid” (accessed 21 April 2010)
- health.gov, “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” (accessed 20 April 2010)