Master Weight Loss: Find Your Reason to Lose (Continued)

Never forget where you were

Weight loss masters say they never forget what they looked and felt like before they lost weight. Some keep pictures of their heavier selves close at hand, and pull them out whenever they are tempted to go back to their old ways. Others say their families help by reminding them how much younger and healthier they look than they used to.

Keep in mind that small steps can bring big rewards

Weight loss masters know the benefits of small steps. Most experts say healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week. That's the weight loss goal in two national weight-loss studies I'm working in.

To lose weight you have to "lose" calories: you have to consume fewer calories or increase your activity level to burn more of the calories you take in. For most people losing 1 pound a week means "losing" about 500 calories a day.

Weight loss masters focus on finding the easiest way for them to lose weight. So here again, the key is finding what works for you. To get you thinking about some ways you might be able to "lose" 500 calories a day, I came up with a sample list of food substitutions that could help you reach your goal. Some of these substitutions might appeal to you, and others almost certainly will not.

Some ways to lose 500 calories a day

Substitute For Lose
Diet soda Regular soda 135 calories
Low fat yogurt Regular yogurt 120 "
Water Regular beer 180 "
Orange Danish pastry 250 "
Turkey sub/mustard Meatball sub/cheese 315 "

 

Making a couple of these or similar substitutions each day will take you a long way toward your goal of losing 500 calories a day. Cutting back on portion sizes can also make a big difference.

If you need to lose more calories to reach your goal, consider increasing your activity level. If you walk briskly or do active yard work for 30 minutes, you burn about 200 calories. Active housecleaning burns a little less – about 150 calories in 30 minutes; riding a stationary bike or doing low impact aerobics burns even more – about 300 calories in 30 minutes.

What's the easiest way for you to lose 500 calories a day? Be sure to consider food substitutions and activities I haven't mentioned.

Losing a pound a week might not sound like much, but if you keep that up for just 10 weeks, you should be able to feel the difference. Studies show that losing 10 pounds can also have a tremendous beneficial effect on your health: it can lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, helping to protect you from serious diabetes complications. In people at high risk for developing diabetes, losing 10 pounds cut the person's risk of actually developing diabetes over a 3-year period by 58%!

Some people want to lose more than 10 pounds; the small steps approach seems to work best for them, too. I worked with a woman who steadily lost 1-2 pounds a week – until she lost 160 pounds.

She's kept off almost all that weight, so she certainly qualifies as a weight loss master. You can be one too – whether you want to lose 6 pounds or 160 – if you use the tips I've been talking about.

Richard Rubin, PhD, CDE, is an Associate Professor in Medicine and in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. An active member of the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Dr. Rubin has written over 100 articles, books, and book chapters for people with diabetes and for diabetes health care providers. He writes about emotional and behavioral issues related to diabetes for dLife.

Read Dr. Rubin's bio.

Read more of Dr. Rubin's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

 

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Last Modified Date: June 17, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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