A BMC Public Health study reports there are 1.9 billion adults worldwide who are overweight. Fortunately, you can manage your weight by following a weight loss program. Regular exercise and a healthy diet, along with behavioral strategies like goal setting and self-monitoring, are interventions to combat obesity. Beyond that, weight loss programs provide significant health outcomes like improved cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
The positive effects of weight management on one’s health make it more important to create successful programs. Because while you may have a diet plan or exercise program in place, these methods can prove detrimental if they aren’t informed by a lenient, realistic and sustainable practice.
In this post, we’ve listed the 5 essential traits weight loss programs should have to become effective:
Our haste to lose weight can sometimes lead us to seek instant changes in our bodies. In our post ‘How to Lose Weight While Still Eating Your Fav Foods’, we explained that this mindset could be counterproductive to healthy weight loss. After all, wanting to see immediate results can lead you to become demotivated. This is why it’s crucial to set realistic goals— and by this, we mean breaking them down into tangible steps that can be achieved. For instance, set a weight loss rate of 1 to 2 pounds weekly.
Consider doing regular weigh-ins and measurement checks, so it’s easier to adjust your calorie intake or amount of exercise. Ultimately, knowing these metrics enables you to gain perspective if a goal is attainable or not.
Weight loss should be framed as a journey rather than an expectation. Expectations can change and be easily met, as in the case of fad diets which result in rapid weight loss. Along with the immediate weight change, these diets also foster stringent food restrictions that have adverse health effects. An article published by Frontiers in Nutrition even discussed that compliance with these diets is a key concern among those with comorbidities.
Nutritional inadequacies are caused by unrealistic combinations of food, so it’s best to create a diet plan that’s adaptable over a long period of time. Specifically, consider incorporating fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins into your meals to get your body’s desired amount of nutrients. Because these foods are also largely easy to adopt and can be prepared in various ways, they make for a sustainable diet, too.
Feeling out of control is common if you simply cut off certain foods from your diet. WeightWatchers explains how weight loss plans shouldn’t restrict you from eating the food you love; instead, you should look at maintaining a healthy compromise in your diet. If you love ice cream, for example, opt for yogurt or smoothies made from fresh fruits instead.
Being flexible can reduce instances of feeling burnt out from your diet if it appears too bland or limited. Beyond that, identifying these alternatives to your favorite foods can bolster your weight loss by reducing cravings.
WeightWatchers also goes on to expound that weight loss programs should be personalized, and one area that should be is your exercise training. While exercise is non-negotiable in weight loss programs, regular physical activity can be taxing if not enjoyed. This is why it’s important to find a workout that doesn’t only accommodate your fitness level but one that’s also interesting to you.
If you find cardiovascular exercises more appealing, try an aerobic dance or running. For those who find joy in more challenging physical activities, consider resistance training. This form of exercise allows you to use equipment such as bands or free weights and incorporates squats, lunges and push-ups in varying workout intensities.
Of course, there’s a need for diets to be holistic. In a study on the role of holistic nutritional properties of diets, Lakshmi Dave explains that along with consuming foods that have nutritional value, you shouldn’t be restrictive of foods that suit your personal preferences. But more importantly, for a weight loss plan to be holistic as a whole, it should also satisfy your emotional and mental well-being. One way to do this is by getting adequate amounts of sleep every night.
Sleep plays a huge role in your body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. In sleep, your body releases hormones like thyroid, estrogen, testosterone and insulin, which affect your metabolism. Similarly, melatonin also complements weight loss. This sleep hormone helps regulate insulin sensitivity to balance food intake, so make sure to regularize the time you go to sleep each night.