Weight loss is never easy, but it seems to get progressively harder as we age. Setting reasonable goals and a schedule you can stick with will make it easier. Use these five strategies to get started.
- Identify why you're gaining weight. Before starting a weight loss routine it is crucial to identity the root cause of your weight gain. Other than lifestyle and diet choices, weight gain can also be cause by hormonal imbalances, changes in sleep patterns, reduced physical activity, reduced metabolic efficiency, vitamin deficiency, food sensitivity and more. It may be a good idea to find an obesity medicine specialist physician who is knowledgeable in weight loss medicine and can help you recognize the specific causes of your weight gain.
- Make your health the priority. Obesity is not a cosmetic problem—it is a disease. It can cause strokes, heart problems, anxiety depression, joint problems, gall bladder and liver problems, cancers, varicose veins, hormonal imbalances, sleep apnea, infertility and more. The motivation behind your weight loss can be to look better and drop inches off your waist, but it should also be to help improve your life and your health. Your goal should always be to live a healthy life as long as you live.
- Get the right nutrients to remain healthy and active. Even the best weight loss plans will not work if proper nutrition is neglected. Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are necessary to maintain metabolism, regulate hormones and improve digestive health. As you get older, be sure you get antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B complex. Other important nutrients to keep in mind are omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium and probiotics. Maintaining a balanced diet with good amount of protein and high-fiber carbohydrates cooked in a healthy manner, such as steamed, baked or broiled, is also essential.
- Incorporate reasonable and effective exercises into your daily routine. As we age we lose muscle and accumulate fat. So strength training and aerobic exercises are extremely important to stay in good health and shape. A diabetes prevention program trial suggests 30 minutes of brisk walking per day on at least five days a week for a weekly total of 150 minutes per week to prevent diabetes.
- Be patient with your results. The most frustrating thing about dieting and weight loss is that you cannot lose the weight overnight; you have to remember that you gained the weight over a period of time and you can’t expect to lose it too quickly. Slow and steady physiological weight loss is best and the easiest to maintain. If you're having trouble on your own, consider losing weight under supervision of a bariatric physician who can find the root cause of your weight gain, monitor you if you have diabetes, high blood pressure and other medical conditions, and help you set reasonable weight loss goals for yourself.
J. Shah, MD is the founder and chief medical director of the Amari Medical in Scarsdale, New York. Dr. Shah is a board-certified physician who has been practicing medicine in New York for the past 30 years. He specializes in medical weight loss, bioidentical hormones, the latest non-surgical body sculpting treatments and facial rejuvenation. For more, visit, www.amariclinic.com.