Updated in 2020 to include the most recent information on weight loss tips from Dr. Betty Keller.
Here are 10 basic tips to start you on your way to permanent weight loss, one step at a time:
#1 Start with a personal commitment to yourself. Before you can make changes that last, promise yourself that you are doing this for real. No medical consultation in the world is going to make a difference if you are not committed to making changes happen. Your progress in choosing foods, activities and ways to reduce stress only work if you are ready and willing to make the new choices you’re giving yourself.
#2 Find what motivates you and work with that. Only you know the real reasons you want to make a change. No one can tell you the right reason. This has to be what you want for yourself. Think about what means most to you, like “I want more energy and fun playing with my kids,” or “I want to feel more comfortable in my body.” Write your reason down. Keep it in mind. These thoughts will help you make positive, healthier choices.
#3 Say to yourself: I can do this! Your mind is powerful – the most powerful tool you have. When you tell yourself “I can,” you’re helping set the course of your actions. Your actions follow your thoughts. “I can do this” leads you on to your own personal success.
#4 Look at how you think about food, and change the way you think about it. Food is meant as fuel for your body. It gives you nourishment and the ability for your body to perform. People may talk about “comfort” food. But any “comfort” in eating doesn’t last very long. Our thoughts and relationships about food are complicated. Be willing to reflect on your thoughts and feelings about food, and decide which thoughts to keep.
#5 Take time to relax and enjoy yourself when you eat. Enjoy your food. Be mindful and allow yourself to sit down for your meal, and enjoy every bite. Don’t watch TV while eating, or check your email, or read. Make meal time a pleasure and a break you take for yourself.
#6 For at least the first 3 weeks, write down what you eat in a food diary. This isn’t forever, — it’s good to do at least for the first 21 days. Keeping a food diary will help you become aware of the new habits and choices you are forming. It will help keep you on track..
#7 Keep unhealthy foods out of your home. Remove any foods you’ve decided to keep out of your life for now. You save yourself a lot of stress and temptation if it’s not in your house. Make sure you remove trigger foods from your home: those which you can’t stop eating once you get started. Know that you’re not alone in having foods that are just not safe for you to have nearby: There’s a reason why certain potato chips makers advertise that “You can’t eat just one.”
#8 Drink water. Plan times to help yourself to a glass of water. Drink a glass before you have a meal, and before you have a snack. When you make sure to give your body enough water, you are less likely to make the common mistake of eating, thinking you’re hungry, when you are actually thirsty instead. Drinking plenty of water also helps prevent food cravings, and keeps you from feeling fatigue due to dehydration.
#9 Get active. Find an activity that you enjoy. Make time to enjoy your activity for at least half an hour, 5 days a week. Exercise speeds up your metabolism. If you stay active for 60 minutes a day, you reach your weight loss goals even faster. In addition to an activity that gives your heart rate and metabolism a healthy boost, find an exercise that helps you improve muscle strength. Just two days per week of strengthening exercises is enough to improve wellness. Your doctor can help you find a range of activities that are safe and beneficial to you. Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
#10 Start your day with protein. Make your first meal of the day rich in protein — whatever time you have your first meal. Protein helps keep you feeling full longer. It signals your hormones to tell your body to stop eating, you’re full.
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