Weight Loss (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Introduction to weight loss
- How do you lose weight?
- How fast should you expect to lose weight?
- The no-diet approach to weight control
- An example of a successful no-diet weight loss program
- What about special diet plans (fad diets and popular diets)?
- When should weight-loss medications or surgery be used?
- Why is weight loss important?
- 7 tips for successful weight loss
- Belly (Abdominal) Fat FAQs
The no-diet approach to weight control
By adopting sensible eating habits and practicing portion control, you can eat nutritious foods so that you take in as many calories as you need to maintain your health and well-being at your ideal weight. Often, weight loss occurs on its own simply when you start making better food choices, such as avoiding
- processed foods,
- sugar-laden foods,
- white bread and pasta (substitute whole-grain varieties instead),
- foods with a high percentage of calories from fat,
- alcoholic drinks.
While nothing is absolutely forbidden, when you do succumb to temptation, keep the portion size small and add a bit more exercise to your daily workout.
By replacing some unwise food choices with healthy ones, you'll be cutting back on calories. If you add some moderate physical activity, you have the perfect weight-loss plan without the need for special or inconvenient (and often expensive) diet plans.
An example of a successful no-diet weight loss program
A 45-year-old woman complains that she has gradually put on 12 pounds over the past year. In the last month, she's faced a stressful work deadline and added another 4 pounds to her frame.
This individual's goal is to lose the 16 pounds she has gained. Since her weight has been gradually increasing, she knows that she is consuming more calories than she is burning, especially with her sedentary job. She decides that a weight loss of 1 pound per week (equal to a deficit of about 3,500 calories, or cutting 500 calories per day) would be acceptable and would allow her to reach her goal in about four months.
She decides to make some changes that will allow her to cut back an average of 250 calories per day.
- Skipping a large glass of sweetened iced tea will save about 200 calories.
- Substituting mineral water for the cola she regularly drinks during meetings can save another 150 calories.
- Foregoing her morning muffin snack (or eating only half a muffin) can also save 250 calories or more.
To reach her goal of a 500-calorie-per-day savings, she adds some exercise.
- Getting up early for a 20-minute walk before work and adding a 10-minute walk during her lunch break add up to a half hour of walking per day, which can burn about 200 calories.
- On weekends, she plans to walk for 60 minutes one day and spend one hour gardening the next day for even greater calorie burning. If walking for 60 minutes is too much, two 30-minute walks one day would burn the same number of calories.
- Twice per week she plans to stop at the gym on the way home from work, even if only for a half hour of stationary cycling or swimming (each burning up to 250 calories).
By making just some of the dietary cutbacks mentioned and starting some moderate exercise, this individual can easily "save" the 3,500 calories per week needed for a 1-pound weight loss, leading to a healthy rate of weight loss without extreme denial or deprivation. Furthermore, her changes in diet and lifestyle are small and gradual, modifications that she can maintain over time.
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