When we think about losing weight, this involves the desire to change our weight. Change can be difficult. For some people change can be challenging, exciting and fun. For other people the idea of change can produce anxiety, fear and stress.
There are four personal areas open to change to achieve weight loss – the ABCD’s of weight loss changes: Activity, Behavior, Calories, and Diet.
Activity- Positive changes in how much time we spend walking, biking, stretching, or lifting weights. Assess your current physical activity and increase the time by 10 percent per week. Strive to move for 10 minutes out of each hour. Aim for 150 minutes of movement per week.
Behavior- Positive changes in what we choose to do:
1) Eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
2) Take 20 minutes to eat each meal.
3) No phone, no TV, no computer during meals.
4) Do not eat for two to three hours before bedtime.
5) Eat a protein rich breakfast in the first hour of your day.
6) Chew each bite 10-15 times before swallowing.
Calories- Changes in the number of calories consumed daily, reduce daily intake by 200-500 calories per day to start. Think about the quantity of calories consumed but also consider the quality of the calories. Focus on eating your calories from fresh foods or frozen foods. Decrease the calories that come from foods in a box, bag or can. Decide to ‘live on the edge” at the grocery store, stay on the outside walls with fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and proteins, and avoid the middle of the store where the majority of the processed foods are stored.
Diet- Change the content of what you are eating to include quality choices of protein (meat, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts/seeds, cheese), more fresh vegetables and more fresh fruit. Try to decrease your intake of sugars, white flour, white, rice, white potatoes, white pasta and white bread. Try to increase water intake to 64 ounces per day.
Every change begins with one small step. Develop a vision based on your motivation to change. Read your vision daily. Visualize meeting your goals.
Strive for progress… not perfection. Adjust your attitude toward change. Think positive thoughts, and write down positive affirmations. Such as, this new physical activity will increase my energy. New fruit choices will give my body vitamins and minerals. Protein helps build muscle, muscle makes me stronger. Chewing slowly helps my body digest food better. New vegetable choices increase my fiber intake.
Consider making a “vision” poster with pictures and words to describe the changes you want for a healthier you. Change is a choice. Change is a process. Change is necessary to achieve success at weight loss.