‘Slim down’; ‘Drop a few pounds’; ‘Make my scale happy; ‘Reverse my clothes shrinkage’; however it is worded, weight loss is one of the most common New Year’s Resolution. Not surprisingly, a lot of these resolutions fail: unrealistic goals and trendy weight programs lead to frustration and burn out with a return to the original behaviors (and the same resolution the next year). Instead, the focus when trying to lose weight should be creating permanent healthy habits through realistic weight loss goals fueled by minor tweaks to everyday routines. Not only is this strategy easier to stick to but it also add up over time and helps prevent setbacks from derailing your end goal.
What is a reasonable goal and how do you set one?
Simplified, weight loss occurs when you burn more energy (calories) through activity and normal body functions than you consume through eating. A healthy weight loss goal is between 0.5 to 2 lbs per week – this amounts to a calorie deficit of 1750 to 7000 calories per week or 250 to 1000 calories per day. This deficit can be achieved by either eating less (reduction of calories in), becoming more active (increase in calories out), or a combination of the two. To set a goal, first determine what you want the end result to be (lose 10 pounds), how you want to get there (diet and/or exercise), and what your weekly goal is based on how likely you are to stick to a new plan (be honest, if cutting 1000 calories per day is impossible for you, start smaller and work your way up).
Make Healthy Habits
To enact your new weight loss plan, focus on small changes to your daily habits to reach your daily goals. (Try not to focus on your weight as it may fluctuate by 5 pounds per day based on what and when you eat and drink, if and when you exercised, and your stress levels and sleep quality. If you choose a daily weight check, do it at the same time every day such as first thing in the morning.) Adding an activity to your routine would help you quickly reach your daily deficit; to burn 250 calories: (note these are estimates):
- workout or play a sport for 20 minutes
- walk briskly or jog for 20-40 minutes
- do some yardwork or chores for 40-60 minutes.
Or decrease your caloric intake by 250 calories by making some easy food choices:
- keep your caffeine fix by swapping a large frappe with a small cappuccino
- replace a large order of fries with a small order
- substitute an apple or baby carrots for a protein bar.
Use apps to keep you motivated
So what tools can you use to help keep you on track with your weight loss plan? Health and fitness apps and other wearables can be very helpful as they can track activities and calculate energy burned; other apps log your food intake and calculate the calories you have eaten.
HealthMetric is an all-in-one health and fitness app that personalizes your weight loss journey. With HealthMetric’s weight loss program, you set your goal and select a strategy to meet your goal: diet, exercise, or a combination. The app provide daily feedback on your progress, shows how others with similar goals are doing, and predict how you will do tomorrow to keep you motivated. In addition, you can use voice commands to search and record food, drinks, and exercised from our large, curated nutritional and activity databases. With HealthMetric, you control how to become: Healthier. Strong. Better. You.