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Healthy Weight Loss Program

Starting a Healthy Weight Loss Program

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Amogn all the things going on in your life - work, taking care of the kids, household chores, etc. - who has time to think about planning a healthy diet? The answer is simpler than you think. You do! These helpful hints will show you how to cut corners (as well as calories) so that planning for a healthy diet is simple and following a healthy weight loss program is easier for you.

How to Develop a Healthy Weight Loss Program

Many people have a hard time determining what their healthy weight should be. Use the Healthy Weight Estimator to help you find your ideal weight range. These ranges are based on BMI (body mass index) values that have been set by the National Institutes of Health. Keep in mind, a BMI measurement isn't an accurate prediction of overweight or health problems for the following groups:

  • Children and teenagers
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing
  • Seniors (over 65)
  • Competitive athletes or bodybuilders

If you're in one of the groups listed above, your ideal weight may be higher than what we calculate. Go with what seems reasonable to you. If you're currently pregnant, you shouldn't try to lose weight. 

Using the BMI Calculator and a dose of common sense, you can decide on your ideal weight range. From that, you can determine how much weight you would like to lose. 

How to Begin a Healthy Weight Loss Program

Now that you know how much weight you need to lose, you might be thinking, "Well, I've tried to lose weight before and it hasn't worked," or "It's not too hard to lose a few pounds, but then I gain it right back." 

Is it really possible to lose weight and keep it off? Absolutely. Almost everyone who is a bit overweight can safely maintain a 10- to 20- pound weight loss. If you're seriously overweight (most people don't think of themselves as "obese" even if they are), you can start off slowly and lose weight over time. In fact, in a study of successful "losers" -- people who lost an average of 66 pounds and kept the weight off for at least five years -- researchers found that even people with the most stubborn weight problems were able to slim down.

What can you do to start a healthy weight loss program successfully?

  • Prepare yourself mentally. Decide on a goal and a timeframe and make a plan to reach your goal. A weight loss program will help you do that.
  • Plan for long term. What will you do after that initial goal is reached?  Remember that the whole reason for what you’re doing isn’t just to drop the weight. You also want to make sure that the pounds never come back again.  A healthy weight loss program is something that sets you up to reach a goal and then maintain it for many years to come. 
  • Be flexible.  Since your goal will be changing over time – from losing body fat to maintaining lost weight, for example – you need to be ready to be flexible in order to shift what you’re doing in order to continue your progress.  This can also mean that you need to be open to change and adapt your strategy along the way as you find out what is and is not working for you.  As you aim to lose weight for example, you may find that the salads you’d planned to have every day for lunch just aren’t satisfying your hunger or aren’t traveling very well to work with you.  Therefore, you’ll need to adapt and give yourself more options that will work for the same outcome.
  • Plan for success.Make it easier to succeed by getting rid of unhealthy snacks and having lots of healthy food in the house. If your family insists on having chips or cookies around, try to get them to buy kinds that you don't like so you're less likely to be tempted. Or even better, ask them to keep snacks out of the house altogether until you get well into your weight loss program.
  • Remind yourself daily why you want to lose weight. For some of us, losing a few extra pounds would help us look better in a cocktail dress or power suit. But more importantly, for many people being overweight is a serious health problem. Weight is a factor in conditions like heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, infertility, and arthritis.
  • Don’t just do it for looks. It’s true that many of us try to start a healthy weight loss program for the purpose of “looking better”.  We try to visualize how we’ll look with that bikini body this summer.  That said, if you have one goal based on something as unstable as body- and self-image, this can give you a wobbly motivation level, too. Instead, add to your list using some of the goals from the previous tip. Think about all the benefits you can enjoy from achieving a healthy body mass.  Post them here and there.  You might put a “heart health” note on your fridge, a “active retirement” note on your bathroom mirror, and “dementia prevention” on your computer monitor, for example.  

Remember that when it comes down to it, your healthy weight loss program is based on self-care.  Use it to treat yourself well and enjoy wellness over the long term. Thinking short-term will only hold you back but making a priority of your health and wellness will improve your longevity and your quality of life for years to come.