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Want to lose weight for good? Start with these realistic goals

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Does it seem like every January your New Year’s resolution is always the same: to lose weight? If your efforts to shed pounds never seem to pay off, perhaps you should think about setting more realistic weight loss goals this time. 

Overly ambitious goals are a set up for failure, so instead break your weight loss challenge in smaller “doable” steps that will help you stay focused, motivated and see real results.  

Be specific about weight loss goals

Write down where you would like to be with your weight in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and then 1 year. Losing 1-2 pounds a week is a much more realistic and healthy goal than trying to lose 10 – 20 pounds a matter of weeks.  You gradually gained the weight over months or even years, so give yourself time to establish new, better eating and exercise habits that will turn your “diet” into a healthy way of life.

Eat more, not less

Dieting should never mean starving yourself, going on a cleanse, fasting, juicing or enduring some crazy fad diet. The fact is, you can lose weight while actually eating more – even doubling your potions. How?  Eat a high fiber diet that gives you more food volume, but with fewer calories. Fiber is truly the miracle carb for weight loss because it fills you up on delicious foods that are naturally lower in calories. Plus, fiber soaks up and removes fat and calories in the stomach before your body can absorb them. In my book The Miracle Carb Diet, I explain how eating fiber actually helps make fat and calories disappear.  

Work out less - the right way

Instead of going cardio crazy and spending hours spinning, running, and sweating to the oldies, start lifting weights and follow a strength training routine. Lifting weights builds muscle mass, which in turn boosts metabolism and enables your body to burn more calories even when you are at rest. Research has shown that for every pound of muscle you add you burn an extra 45 calories per day. By adding an extra 10 pounds of lean muscle mass, you can burn upwards of 400– 500 calories a day. That adds up to 1 pound of fat loss every week without doing anything else.

Clean out your closet

As you lose weight, there are two very good reasons to empty your drawers and closets of clothes that are too big. First, getting rid of your oversized clothes keeps you keenly aware of your weight. If you regain weight, well, do you really want to go out and buy larger sized outfits again?  Secondly, going through your wardrobe is a great opportunity for you to help others by donating your old clothes. If there are certain outfits you simply cannot part with, then have them tailored to your new size.

Make room for indulgences

You don’t have to banish your favorite foods to keep weight off. Life is short and you should enjoy splurges without fear of gaining weight back. Just follow the 90/10 Rule: Commit to eating well 90 percent of the time and use the remaining 10 percent as wiggle room for indulgences. Here’s how it works: There are 365 days a year, so that 10 percent leeway equates to 36.5 days when you can kick back and coast a bit.  Best advice: when you go for a treat make it count by choosing something you truly enjoy and savor every bite.

For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my new book The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and author of the Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber as well as the bestselling Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.