Beyond the Beach Body Diet: Four Overlooked Tips for Long-Term Weight Loss

2016-05-12Summer is the perfect season for pool parties and weekend beach trips, yet many people dread the thought of putting on a swimsuit due to extra pounds. In a quest for a lean and toned beach body, adults and teens often turn to weight-loss programs that offer quick and dramatic results. But do these programs work and do they keep weight off in the long run? Will you look great in June, but gain it all back by September?

Studies show that successful long-term weight control must focus on your overall health, not just what you eat. In addition, your weight-loss plan has to include habits that you can sustain over time. No one can stick with a super low-calorie diet or marathon exercise regimen for the long haul. So how do you find a plan that works for you? Consider these four often overlooked fundamentals that lead to successful weight control throughout the year.

1. Enlist Help

Ask your primary care doctor to help you make an individualized weight-loss plan. Your doctor can help you determine how much weight you should lose and take into account how any health conditions or medications may affect your exercise and diet. Most primary care providers are great at offering tips on calorie counting and what to look for on nutritional labels.

In addition, let your family and close friends know about your plan and goals so they can be supportive of your efforts. This is especially important if a spouse or significant other helps you shop and cook.

2. Set Smaller Goals

Goals that are too lofty usually lead to discouragement. Losing one or two pounds a week is typically considered a realistic and sustainable goal. While that may not sound like much, you’ll be surprised by the difference five or six pounds can make in your appearance.

3. Include Exercise

Simply cutting calories often seems easier than making the time to exercise, but incorporating regular physical activity into your routine is far more effective than dieting alone. Exercise adds muscle, increases energy, and boosts metabolism. Try to work in up to 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week and two days that incorporate 20 minutes of strength training.

4. Measure Portion Sizes

While finding the right balance of proteins, carbs, and fruits and vegetables is important, being aware of portion sizes is one of the most valuable factors in any weight-loss plan. Investing in food scales and measuring cups will help make sure you are on target.

Appropriate serving sizes for most foods are as follows:

  • Protein – 3 to 4 ounces
  • Fruit – 1/2 cup chopped or one small piece
  • Vegetables – 1 cup or 2 cups leafy greens
  • Grains: 1 ounce or 1/2 cup
Ready to Start?

If you’re ready to put together a weight-loss plan, start by setting up an appointment with a primary care physician who can guide you through a safe and sustainable plan. The providers at LeBauer HealthCare in Greensboro, High Point, and Burlington, NC, help patients create diet and exercise plans to achieve specific weight and health goals. With an individualized plan and the dedication to stick with it, you can be ready for beach body season, as well as many more seasons of health and fitness. Contact a LeBauer Primary Care office today.

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