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effective diets for weight loss

5 Effective Diets for Weight Loss

Learn 5 effective diets for weight loss so you can better understand which diet might be better for your weight loss goals.

With so many diets out there, you may wonder: Which diets truly work? 

It seems like every week there is a new fad diet and a lot of hype around a “secret” solution for weight loss. 

The truth is that what it takes to lose weight isn’t much of a secret. There are a couple of features your diet should have if you want to lose weight–and the most effective diets for weight loss all have these things in common.

What is necessary for weight loss?

There are certain similarities between most diets, especially if you’re following that diet to lose weight. When you start a diet to lose weight, you’ll want to ensure your diet helps you do these two things: achieve energy balance and cut out processed foods.

  1. Achieve a calorie deficit

To lose weight, it’s important to achieve the right energy balance. 

Energy balance is when the number of calories you eat is equal to the number of calories you burn. There are a lot of factors that influence your energy balance, like exercise, genetics and body composition. But one of the most important factors is diet because that is how you consume calries that get used by your body.

When you want to lose weight, you want to change the balance of energy in your body. Instead of taking in too many calories to burn, or instead of taking in just enough to remain at the same weight, you want to achieve what’s called a calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit is when you consume fewer calories than your body burns overall.

Achieving a calorie deficit is important for any of the effient diets for weight loss. But it’s also true that your weight is related to many factors of your body and health working together. That is why it’s important to not just focus on calories alone but to also look at other health factors and activity level when you start a diet to lose weight.

2. Cut out processed foods

Even diets as polar opposite as the carnivore diet and the vegan diet have one thing in common: they cut out the vast majority of highly processed foods found in the American diet. You’ll find that this is true of almost every diet out there.

Food is considered processed if it’s been altered in any way during the preparation or packaging process. Some processed foods make only slight modifications–like baby carrots or canned vegetables. But other processed foods change so much that they lose their original nutritional value and have so many additives that they’re in many ways unrecognizable compared with the original food it was derived from.

Processed foods are particularly unhealthy because of the high levels of sodium, fat, or sugar they contain. Diets high in all of these are correlated with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many other conditions and diseases.

As far as weight loss, these foods are particularly damaging to weight goals because they are not filling but have more calories than whole, natural foods. It’s easier to eat more calories than you should when you eat heavily processed foods. And it’s made especially easy to overeat when you consider how addicting these foods are as well.

5 effective diets for weight loss

Although it’s important to achieve energy balance and reduce your processed food intake, there are multiple effective diets for weight loss. There is not a single, one size fits all solution that everyone who wants to lose weight must follow.

Instead, with the right knowledge and support, you can achieve your weight loss goals with a diet that suits you. There are diets that emphasize carbs, and other diets that cut carbs out. There are diets that manage the timing of meals while other diets are more flexible.

You can choose to eat food that suits your taste and lifestyle while still losing weight.

  1. Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked as one of the best diets–if not the best–for overall health. It is one of the most helpful diets to get diabetes and heart disease under control.

The diet can be helpful specifically for weight loss goals as well, but it does require being proactive about calorie counting. There is a bigger variety in what you can eat on the Mediterranean diet versus other diets. It’s a diet if you want more flexibility and don’t need as much structure.

The Mediterranean diet is also a primarily plant-based diet, but you can eat meat in moderation. Another bonus of this diet is that some who want to be able to continue drinking wine in moderation are able to on this diet. While limiting alcohol to rare instances is best for overall health, you can drink a glass of wine a few nights in a week on this diet.

Check out our Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet article to see the whole picture on why this diet is ranked by doctors as being the best.

2. DASH Diet

The DASH diet is right up there with the Mediterraean diet as one of the best and healthiest options. It’s especially helpful for those who want to improve their heart health.

DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet emphasizes choosing foods with lower sodium content and eating predominantly fresh, whole foods as much as possible. It’s a flexible diet compared to many others, and is one of the most sustainable diets for that reason. Plus, when combined with a calorie deficit, it’s a healthful option to lose weight.

Look at our Why the DASH Diet Is One of the Best Diets article to get a better idea if this is a diet that can help you achieve your health and weight goals.

3. Keto Diet

The Keto diet is an increasingly popular diet. It cuts out carbs and emphasizes eating proteins and fats. The diet is high in meat, healthy fats, while low in carbs.

Many have cited successful weight loss results from the Keto diet. But it is one of the more extreme diets because it restricts a lot of the foods you can eat. Some find it difficult to sustain for the long run.

Read our Keto Diet article to get a better idea if it’s right for you and how to follow the diet.

4. Intermittent Fasting Diets

Intermittent fasting is when you use timing of meals versus strict elimination of foods to manage your diet. When you do intermittent fasting, you don’t eat meals at traditional times on a consistent basis. Instead you go for extended periods of time without eating, and then eat what you normally would for the rest of the day.

Learn more about intermittent fasting in our Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work for Weight Loss? article.

5. Paleo Diet

The goal of the Paleo diet is to eat as close as possible to what our ancestors ate. It’s one of the best diets for cutting out processed foods and emphasizing fresh, whole foods. It has been connected with weight loss and improved health outcomes like lower cholesterol.

Check out our Benefits of the Paleo Diet article to learn more about following the Paleo diet.

Get a diet tailored to your goals and the best weight loss support in the Valley

At Valley Medical Weight Loss we help you achieve your weight loss goals with personalized support from our doctors.

You are more likely to lose weight when you have the support of a professional. We offer a number of weight loss programs and diet plans. When you follow any of them, our doctors learn your health history and track your progress to make sure you lose weight safely and efficiently.

To get your first appointment with us and finally achieve your weight loss goals, visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location today.

time to ask for help

When It’s Time to Ask for Help on Your Weight Loss Journey

How do you know when DIY weight loss isn’t working for you? Here’s when it’s time to ask for help and work with a doctor or weight loss professional who can help you lose weight faster and keep the weight off.

With all the readily found information out there about health and weight loss, it’s easy to think that with the right knowledge we can do everything by ourselves.

And while that’s true for some things like changing a tire or trying a new step-by-step recipe, it’s harder to get right when it comes to complex changes like weight loss.

When you decide to lose weight, there are years of habits and lifestyle choices to overcome. There aren’t quick and easy fixes to how to fix your whole mindset and make new habits in ten minutes or less. 

The changes to lose weight and keep the weight off can take time. That’s why seeking out support can help you overcome the most common barriers to weight loss. Barriers like:

  • Stress
  • Lack of social support or being in an unhealthy environment
  • Food cravings

So if you’ve been trying to lose weight on your own but feel like you aren’t making the changes you wanted to see, here’s how to know when it’s time to ask for help in your weight loss goals.

If you keep hitting the same roadblocks

Losing weight becomes a struggle for many people because of how many roadblocks there are to smoothly achieve weight loss goals. Roadblocks like…

  • being too busy to meal plan 
  • not enjoying exercise
  • not having enough information
  • feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information out there about weight loss
  • Intense food cravings

It’s common to get stuck in a cycle of starting and stopping your weight loss journey because you don’t see any progress.

If you’ve been trying to stick to a diet for a month and see only two pounds lost…it’s discouraging. It makes you wonder why you’re putting yourself through the trouble in the first place. And it’s reasonable to wonder why it’s worth trying. You may even think that weight loss just isn’t possible for you.

If you keep trying new DIY programs and don’t see any progress, that’s a clear sign that you can benefit from an expert perspective and support.

Experts in weight loss know more than ever gets talked about in the generalized health advice on the internet. They’ll be able to see why you haven’t made progress yet and help you stick to a plan that’s actually sustainable and manageable for you in the long run. 

If you have any medical condition

Losing weight is helpful for overall health and wellbeing. But if you’re dealing with health complications either related or unrelated to your weight, it’s important to make changes to your diet and lifestyle with health concerns in mind.

Managing different conditions requires changes to diet, lifestyle, and sometimes medication. So if you plan to take additional weight loss supplements or make dietary changes that could interfere with your management of a condition, you want to have all the information so you can do it right.

A doctor can help you decide what kind of diet is best for you in your situation. They can also monitor your progress and health vitals on a consistent basis to make sure you’re losing weight safely. 

If you don’t feel supported by your friends and family 

While we always want to give friends and family the benefit of the doubt and remember they also have their own concerns in life, sometimes they just aren’t supportive of big lifestyle changes.

And it usually has nothing to do with you.

It’s because they’re afraid of having to make changes to their own lifestyle now that you are. Or they may even feel guilty for not taking a proactive stance about their health after seeing you make a change. And sometimes they truly don’t understand why you’d want to change—even when your health is on the line.

But having support is one of the most important pieces of a successful weight loss journey. When you have support, you’re more likely to complete your weight loss program, achieve your goals, and keep the weight off in the long run.

So if you don’t have the support from friends and family, it’s worth the investment to get support so you get someone in your corner cheering you on. Plus, that support comes from a real weight loss and health expert. You will get the personalized support you need most.

If you want to try the faster weight loss methods like phentermine or HCG

If medical weight loss is on your radar, then working with an expert is necessary.

Options for medical weight loss include phentermine, an appetite suppressant. It’s an FDA-approved medication that can be used to suppress your appetite. It’s helpful when starting out your diet so you can adjust to a new diet without intense cravings that pull you off track.

There’s also the HCG program. It’s a short-term low-calorie diet combined with lipotropic injections. The diet helps you cut calories to lose weight fast over the course of three to four weeks. And the lipotropic injections help you increase your energy and promote weight loss.

Neither of these options are meant to be done alone, however. They are prescribed and overseen by a doctor. So if you’re looking for a way to kickstart your weight loss in a powerful way, it’s time to ask for help from a doctor who can safely guide you through a medical option.

Not all weight loss programs are created equal

There are a lot of weight loss programs out there, but they don’t all offer the same level of support.

But we know how important it is for you to get both knowledgeable and compassionate support from an expert.

This is why when you visit any of our locations, you’ll work with a doctor who is compassionate and knowledgeable. You’ll get weekly health and accountability check-ins. Plus personalized changes for your plan depending on what you need for progress.

We have hundreds of happy patients and helped them achieve their weight loss goals with the right support after hitting many of the same roadblocks you may have experienced for years.

If you feel like it’s time to ask for help and you’re ready for life-changing weight loss support, visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location today.

DASH diet

Why the DASH Diet Is One of the Best Diets

The DASH diet is considered one of the healthiest and most sustainable diet options out there. While it was designed for individuals dealing with hypertension, it can help anyone improve their health and lose weight.

The DASH diet has once again been ranked, along with the Mediterranean diet, as one of the best diets for overall health. And it’s consistently ranked #1 for heart-healthy diets.

DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

Around 108 million Americans live with hypertension, with only 24% of them having their condition under control. Many Americans have hypertension without knowing it, or they know it but find it too challenging to manage. 

While a common way of treating hypertension is through medication, many people are wary of using medication that can lead to unwanted side effects. The DASH diet came about as doctors and nutritionists looked for a way to treat or prevent hypertension through diet instead of medication. 

The DASH diet is all about eating the heart-healthy foods you’ll find in many other diets

Real-life benefits of the DASH diet

The diet is known for reducing the risk of developing hypertension, also called high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is how much force your circulating blood exerts on your arteries. 

It’s broken up into two measurements–systolic and diastolic. The systolic measurement is how much pressure is behind your blood when your heart contracts. The diastolic measurement is how much pressure exists when your heart relaxes (or in between heartbeats).  

A healthy range is considered at or below 120/80 mm Hg. The top number is the systolic pressure and the bottom number is diastolic.

When blood pressure gets too high, it can cause heart attacks, stroke, and kidney disease.

The causes of high blood pressure are varied. For some, the causes are largely due to lifestyle factors like lack of exercise, high-sodium diet, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, stress, or being overweight.

And for others, the causes can be due to conditions like adrenal or thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, and other genetic factors. 

In a series of studies, the DASH diet proved to be one of the best solutions for overcoming high blood pressure without using medication, even for those who already have high blood pressure.

Researchers have also discovered benefits that go beyond lowering blood pressure. The DASH diet also:

So the DASH diet isn’t only for those at risk of developing high blood pressure or trying to lower it. 

This is a diet that anyone who wants to maintain a sustainable healthful diet can benefit from. And even anyone who wants to lose weight can benefit from this diet.

What to eat on the DASH diet

One of the benefits of the DASH diet is that it’s not an extremely restrictive diet. As far as diets go, it’s flexible and considered sustainable for the long term. 

The overall goal of the DASH diet is to focus on eating whole and natural foods. Like most diets, the DASH diet requires avoiding most highly-processed foods, especially those that are high in extra salt. High sodium diets contribute to high blood pressure and by avoiding extra salt, those with hypertension can make measurable improvements in short periods of time.

Foods to Eat:

  • 6-8 Servings of Whole Grains
  • 4-5 Servings of Fruits
  • 4-5 Servings of Vegetables
  • 2-3 Servings of Dairy
  • Fewer than 6 servings of eggs, fish, or lean chicken per day

Foods to Avoid:

  • Red meat—it’s not something you can never eat on the diet. But once or twice a week maximum
  • Processed meats like pepperoni or salami
  • High-fat meats
  • Chips, cookies, ice cream, and other snacks that have a lot of added sugar or salt. Just like with red meat, you can have these in moderation–meaning 3-5 servings of a sugary or savory snack per week.

What about alcohol?

As for alcohol consumption, it’s not recommended on the diet. While the Mediterranean diet works some red wine in moderation into the week, the DASH diet does not.

And it comes down to the fact that for many people, the health costs outweigh the small potential gains.

Consuming too much alcohol is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. So when patients start the DASH diet with their doctor, they’re generally advised not to continue drinking.

Wondering if the DASH diet is right for you?

Whether or not you’d benefit from the DASH diet depends on a few factors.

Limiting salt to such a degree isn’t necessary for everyone. Some studies found that limiting salt intake for those with normal blood pressure and salt levels doesn’t have much of an impact. And there seem to be some people who are more sensitive to salt. So even slight increases can lead to increased blood pressure.

These are all reasons it’s beneficial to talk to a doctor before choosing to start a new diet for your health or weight loss goals. They can look at your health history and current health indicators to determine if cutting out certain types of foods

While cutting out saturated fats and processed sugars is considered healthful for everyone, how much you should cut out and stay healthy will depend on your particular situation and needs.

That’s why all of our doctors at Valley Medical Weight Loss go over your health history and your goals to decide on the right path forward for you. When you want to lose weight, there isn’t just a cookie-cutter method. And you deserve the option that will be right for you.

Visit us at one of our locations to start your personalized weight loss journey.

mediterranean diet

Real Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Learn why the Mediterranean diet is one of the most popular diets for weight loss and health improvement.

In countries like Spain, France, Italy, Morocco, Greece, and many others that line the Mediterranean sea, the Mediterranean diet has been the way of life for thousands of years.

But it’s only in the past 50 years that it became one of the most popular diet recommendations for Americans and northern Europeans who wanted to be healthier.

Back in the 1960’s researchers noticed that while rates of heart disease and cardiac arrest were on the rise in America and northern Europe, the same wasn’t happening in the Mediterranean countries. So naturally, they wanted to figure out why.

And that’s when the huge health benefits of the Mediterranean diet started coming to light.

What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet has been held up to intense scrutiny for over 50 years now. So what have researchers found that makes this diet worth trying?

Heart-healthy diet

Some of the most extensive studies done on the Mediterranean diet have found how good it is for your cardiovascular health. Which isn’t a surprise. It’s one of the reasons it started to gain popularity outside of the region.

So how does the diet improve your heart health?

There are also studies that looked into which specific foods in the Mediterranean diet provide targeted heart health benefits.

Nuts—which are a staple in the Mediterranean diet—can reduce improve cardiovascular health and improve overall mortality.

And since the diet includes fish a couple times a week, you also get a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. One study found that omega-3 with a Mediterranean diet are less likely to experience a heart attack or die from heart disease-related factors.

Diabetes

The Mediterranean diet is also believed to prevent and help manage diabetes.

When the Mediterranean diet was compared with a low-fat diet, it was found to be more effective for managing diabetes. Both blood glucose and insulin levels improved while one the diet.

And another study found that it can prevent or reduce the need for drug therapy in people who already have type 2 diabetes.

But the diet does more than help people manage diabetes. It has the power to prevent diabetes from developing in the first place. In a study with 400+ individuals, the Mediterranean diet reduced the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes over a 4 year period by 52%

Weight Loss

The diet also has weight loss benefits. 

Because the diet involves cutting out processed foods high in added sugar, it’s easier to lose weight. It also helps that many of the foods included in the diet are nutrient-dense and filling.

A group of studies found that it’s as effective as other popular diets, like low-carb diets for weight loss.

It’s also proven to be an effective diet to manage weight long-term. Sticking to the Mediterranean diet for a year or more prevents weight gain

So how do you do a Mediterranean diet?

When you think of the Mediterranean diet, what food comes to mind? Is it pizza? A hearty pasta in a meat sauce with red wine? 

While these dishes are part of the regions’ cuisine, they aren’t the staples that make it heart-healthy or great for weight loss. Following the Mediterranean diet doesn’t mean eating pizza every day. Or even once a week. 

So what would you eat on a regular basis on the Mediterranean diet?

Here’s a breakdown of what your diet would include:

  • 7-10 servings of fruits and veggies every day. 
  • Plenty of carbs—whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereal
  • Healthy fats like olive oil instead of butter or margarine
  • Seafood twice a week. Tuna, salmon, trout, and shrimp are all on the menu. Ideally grilled rather than deep-fried.
  • Limited red meat. Poultry, eggs, and beans are eaten far more than red meat on the Mediterranean diet. That’s not to say it’s never allowed. A few times a month is the norm.
  • Enjoy some dairy. Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and small amounts of a variety of cheeses.
  • Red wine in moderation. Want to enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner? A single glass a few nights a week is typical with the diet.

There’s also a Mediterranean diet food pyramid that was put together by the Harvard School of Public Health to give you a visual breakdown of the food groups.

Another key is to avoid highly processed foods full of artificial sugars. So just because the frozen food aisle has some mac and cheese mixed with broccoli doesn’t mean it’s Mediterranean diet-friendly. Buy food fresh and cook it yourself as much as you possibly can.

And if you’re looking for some meal inspo to try it out yourself, here’s a list of 27 Mediterranean diet meals.

Meal ideas to try

There isn’t any pizza, but there are so many delicious dishes in the Mediterranean diet. This means it’s a diet you can reap health benefits from and enjoy!

So here are three meal and snack ideas for you to try. Plus a link to more!

Lemon + Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Pasta is very much allowed on this diet. The key is to use whole-grain pasta. So next time you buy pasta at the store, opt for a whole-grain option over the standard.

All this dish requires is a serving of shrimp (for you and anyone else you’re cooking for), pasta, 1 lemon, and fresh minced garlic to taste. Cook the garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, add the shrimp and the lemon juice, plus some salt and pepper to taste and you’re done! When it’s mixed with pasta it’s a perfect meal. And you can complete it by adding a mixed veggie side salad.

Hummus with veggies 

Hummus is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. And while it’s easy to find it at the store, it’s so easy to make yourself and worth doing so you control everything that goes into it. You can have it with veggies and some pita for an afternoon snack. Or you can put it on toast with your breakfast in the morning. Its use is so flexible.

All you need to make the hummus is to put two cans of chickpeas into a blender. Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, salt, and anything else you want to add to taste. It’s as easy as that! Plus, when you make two cans you’ll have enough for a few days.

Greek Salad

The Greek salad is a classic. And like the other meals listed here, it’s easy to make. You just need a cucumber, Roma or grape tomatoes, feta cheese, bell pepper, black olives, and avocado (as a nice little add-on). And to make the dressing you mix red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh lemon, garlic, and a bit of honey. Then chop up the ingredients, mix them together with the dressing and you’re done!

To make this a whole meal, you can add some chicken to the salad. Or you can just leave it as is for a side.

These are just some of the many ways to cook tasty and healthy dishes that fit this diet. You can find 50 more recipes here

Looking for a diet and weight loss plan that’s right for you?

The Mediterranean diet is just one of many beneficial diet guides. Whether or not it’s right for you depends on your personal situation and dietary restrictions. 

It’s always best to talk to a doctor when you decide to make major dietary changes and create a weight loss plan. Not only can they help you achieve it faster, but they also help you do so safely.

At Valley Medical Weight Loss our doctors help you create a diet and weight loss plan that’s right for you.

Check out our client success stories and contact your closest location to set up your own appointment. Our experts are here to help you.

Sources

  1. Montserrat Fitó, MD. “Effect of a Traditional Mediterranean Diet on Lipoprotein Oxidation.” Archives of Internal Medicine, JAMA Network, 11 June 2007, jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/486851.
  2. Estruch R;Martínez-González MA;Corella D;Salas-Salvadó J;Ruiz-Gutiérrez V;Covas MI;Fiol M;Gómez-Gracia E;López-Sabater MC;Vinyoles E;Arós F;Conde M;Lahoz C;Lapetra J;Sáez G;Ros E; ; “Effects of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: a Randomized Trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16818923/.
  3. Guasch-Ferré M;Bulló M;Martínez-González MÁ;Ros E;Corella D;Estruch R;Fitó M;Arós F;Wärnberg J;Fiol M;Lapetra J;Vinyoles E;Lamuela-Raventós RM;Serra-Majem L;Pintó X;Ruiz-Gutiérrez V;Basora J;Salas-Salvadó J; ; “Frequency of Nut Consumption and Mortality Risk in the PREDIMED Nutrition Intervention Trial.” BMC Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23866098/.
  4. de Lorgeril M;Salen P;Martin JL;Monjaud I;Delaye J;Mamelle N; “Mediterranean Diet, Traditional Risk Factors, and the Rate of Cardiovascular Complications after Myocardial Infarction: Final Report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study.” Circulation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9989963/.
  5. Shai, Iris, et al. “Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 13 Nov. 2008, www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0708681.
  6. Esposito K;Maiorino MI;Ciotola M;Di Palo C;Scognamiglio P;Gicchino M;Petrizzo M;Saccomanno F;Beneduce F;Ceriello A;Giugliano D; “Effects of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on the Need for Antihyperglycemic Drug Therapy in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes: a Randomized Trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19721018/.
  7. Salas-Salvadó J;Bulló M;Babio N;Martínez-González MÁ;Ibarrola-Jurado N;Basora J;Estruch R;Covas MI;Corella D;Arós F;Ruiz-Gutiérrez V;Ros E; ; “Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with the Mediterranean Diet: Results of the PREDIMED-Reus Nutrition Intervention Randomized Trial.” Diabetes Care, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20929998/.
  8. MJ;, Mancini JG;Filion KB;Atallah R;Eisenberg. “Systematic Review of the Mediterranean Diet for Long-Term Weight Loss.” The American Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26721635/.
  9. Agnoli, Claudia, et al. “Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and Long-Term Changes in Weight and Waist Circumference in the EPIC-Italy Cohort.” Nutrition & Diabetes, Nature Publishing Group UK, 25 Apr. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5916888/
weight loss

Don’t Believe These Common Weight Loss Myths

Image credit: Total Shape

Breaking down 5 of the most common and unhelpful weight loss myths. Plus what you should do instead.

There’s a lot of misinformation about there about health. We see it all the time, but especially when it comes to losing weight. There are weight loss myths of all kinds that get spread like wildfire. 

The reason is that people know how hard it is to lose weight. They know it’s one of the toughest things to do and there are millions of Americans who are somewhere along their weight loss journey, just looking to make it easier.

So naturally, myths about how to do it best are everywhere. And it’s easy to get caught up in some of these myths, especially if you feel like you’ve been trying and failing over and over again.

So let’s get into some of those most common weight loss myths and what actually works instead based on the best research around right now.

Myth 1: You must have an intense exercise plan to lose weight

You’ll find any number of trainers and health gurus suggesting the most extreme measures when it comes to exercise.

But the truth is, you can lose weight through diet alone, but not through exercise alone. If you exercise and just keep up with the same eating habits, or even add food because now you’re hungrier after adding intense exercise, you’re actually undermining your weight loss efforts.

For most people, losing weight depends on eating fewer calories than you burn each day. But how you go about doing that will depend on your unique circumstances. And it isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are tough physical and psychological challenges that come along with changing lifestyle habits to lose weight. Weight loss is hard. No matter how anyone tries to boil it down to a simple equation of calories in vs calories out.

With all that being said, it’s still important to do exercise. There are countless other benefits from exercising regularly, from preventing cancers, improving heart health and blood pressure, to reducing stress, and improving sleep, energy, and mood. And the kind of exercise you do has an impact on your physique as you lose weight through dieting efforts. Your physique outcomes will be different if you spend most of your time exercising by lifting weights instead of running.

But the important thing to know about exercise and weight loss is that you don’t have to do a crazy intense workout program. The minimum recommended amount of exercise for optimal health benefits is 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. 

How to exercise for weight loss:

The important thing to know about exercise and weight loss is that you don’t have to do a crazy intense workout program. The minimum recommended amount of exercise for optimal health benefits is 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. 

What’s most important is to find the kind of exercise you like most and pair it with a healthy diet and ideal calorie intake for your weight loss goals. You also want to make sure your program is something sustainable—something you can actually stick with for long enough to see results. 

You also want to train in progressions. Start with 30-minute sessions and build to 60-minute sessions if you have the time for that. It’s ideal to get a mix of training styles. Two days of cardio and three days with strength training, all for 30 minutes, is a great place to start. 

Myth 2: Healthier foods are more expensive

We hear this one all the time, don’t we? We hear about how all the healthy food is just so out of reach for many Americans.

But the opposite is actually true.

Let’s think first about what we mean by “healthy”.

Healthy doesn’t mean organic. By healthy foods, we mean whole foods—fruits, vegetables, legumes, complex grains, and depending on your dietary restrictions, certain dairy (like yogurt and low-fat cheese) and lean meat as well.

So how expensive is it to eat healthy whole foods compared to lower quality foods and fast-food? Well it depends on how you calculate the price of food. According to USDA, we often hear that unhealthy foods are cheaper than healthy foods because the conversation centers on one way of calculating cost: price per calorie. It’s true that unhealthy foods are cheaper than healthy foods when talking about calorie density. But it’s a misleading way of talking about food cost alone.

Calories aren’t the only way to think about food. You can also think about the overall nutritional value. And how filling the food is. The same report from the USDA found that when calculating the cost of food by edible weight or by average amount eaten, the healthy foods are cheaper than unhealthy foods. 

The one caveat is that you do end up spending more time preparing meals when you opt to buy the fresh whole and healthy foods over other options. And that time can seem like a huge downside. 

But in the long run, for your health, that time spent is worth it. And cooking, once you get used to doing it and learn some tricks, can be not only fun, but relaxing. 

Myth 3: Losing weight is impossible if you have snacks

Okay, there’s a lot of hate for snacking out there. But there’s nothing inherently evil about snacks. It’s all about moderation and smart choices in your diet plan.

How to snack smart

First off, make sure any snacks you add don’t put your over your daily calorie amount. Then you want to make sure your snacks are still nutritionally balanced. If all of your snacks are a serving of chips, sweets, and other high calorie foods, then your snacks aren’t serving you well.

The point of a snack is to have something to tide you over until you get to your next meal if you need it. Or for an energy boost in the afternoon when you start feeling sluggish.

So to make it impactful, you want to have a snack that is filling and full of essential vitamins and nutrients.

Good options would be a high-protein, low-fat yogurt. Greek yogurt or skyr are great choices. An apple with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, depending on your calorie allotments. Both of these are tasty snacks that are filling enough to get you through to your next meal. Plus you get important nutritional requirements from them.

Myth 4: Losing weight is all about willpower

This is very likely the most harmful weight loss myth on this list. And one of the most damaging of all the myths around weight loss.

Now I won’t deny that losing weight takes a certain amount of discipline. But it’s about so much more than that.

There are ingrained patterns to overcome. There are eating habits that you’ve been living by for years and it will take time to undo and recover from that damage. A lot of times, these are habits or thoughts about food you don’t even realize you have. This is true of everyone. 

How to think about your weight loss journey instead?

Will power isn’t something you can rely on forever. The key is to find a weight loss plan that works for you and that you’re happy to do.

And equally as important is to be patient with your progress and trust it will come. And in the meantime practice gratitude.

Be grateful for what your body does for you and be patient while waiting for the outcomes that you want. 

Take it all one day at a time. Don’t judge yourself for what you did last year, last week, or even yesterday. Know what you need to do each day and give it your best effort to reach it. And if you fail one day, it doesn’t mean you’ll fail the next. With continued effort, changes will come about over time.

Work with us

As experts, we know that losing weight is a complex process. And while there are general rules everyone can follow to lose weight, what works best for you depends on your unique circumstances.

It’s our goal to help you create a plan with the best information and resources available to help you get to your ideal weight as soon as possible in a healthy and safe way.

Contact one of our offices today to get more information about what we offer and how you can work with one of our experts.

Sources:

  1. Carlson, Posted by Andrea, et al. “Healthy Foods Not Necessarily More Expensive Than Less Healthy Ones.” USDA, 21 Feb. 2017, www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/05/16/healthy-foods-not-necessarily-more-expensive-less-healthy-ones
yogurt, healthy gut

Healthy Gut Bacteria Can Help You Lose Weight

Healthy gut bacteria is an often overlooked key to improving health and losing weight

Did you know that when you eat a piece of pizza, you aren’t the only one consuming all of those calories? There are trillions of bacteria in your gut you share that pizza, and all the rest of your food with.

This sounds pretty great because you aren’t actually absorbing all the calories of the food you eat. There are more bacteria living in and on your body than you have cells, and those bacteria need plenty to eat.

But it also means there’s a lot more going on inside our bodies when it comes to our health and weight. We have to be aware of the role our gut bacteria plays in our health.

The importance of healthy gut bacteria has become more clear in recent years with more studies finding that your microbiome impacts your health in unexpected ways. The bacteria in your body help your immune system work better and supply essential nutrients vitamins to the rest of your body.

Researchers are also finding that gut bacteria play a role in weight gain and weight loss

The connection between healthy gut bacteria and weight

Some of the earliest research into the gut microbiome and weight loss showed the connection between certain types of bacteria and weight. 

There are a lot of different bacteria in your body. You have Prevotella that helps you digest carbohydrates and fiber. Then there’s Bacteroidetes for processing meat and fats. You also have Bifidobacteria and Akkermansia which are important for your gut barrier. They line your intestines and prevent inflammation by limiting inflammatory chemicals from entering your bloodstream. And this isn’t even scratching the surface of all the bacteria in your body.

What’s fascinating is that the types of bacteria you have drastically influence your weight. So much so that scientists discovered that when they put the gut flora from overweight humans into lean mice, the mice gained weight weight.

Other studies showed that scientists could predict whether a person would be overweight or lean based on their gut microbes. Even in twin studies, researchers could predict which twin was lean or overweight based on the flora in their gut. They found that the lean twin and the overweight twin have different types of gut flora, and bacteria in different quantities. Individuals who are lean have bacteria in greater quantities and with more diversity compared with those who are overweight.

So what can you do to improve your gut health?

Eat more fermented foods

One of the best things you can do for your gut health is to eat fermented foods. What are those exactly?

Fermented foods have gone through the process of fermentation—which is when yeast and bacteria break down food components into something new. So when the yeast and bacteria break down sugars into other molecules that change the taste, texture, and flavor of the food or drink.

Some common examples of healthy fermented foods are sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, skyr, tempeh, miso, and kombucha.

Eating more of all of these foods have been associated with improved gut health and weight loss. Especially yogurt. One weight loss study looked into the impact of dietary factors on weight and found that people who introduced yogurt into their diet and ate it regularly lost weight over the course of the year.

Eat more fiber

We often talk about how eating fiber is great for curbing your appetite. High fiber foods are known to be low-calorie, high-satiety. They keep you feeling full longer than other foods like simple carbohydrates and processed foods. 

But fiber is also helpful for losing weight by promoting a healthy gut microbiome. Fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breakfast cereals provide the type of fiber and nutrients that your gut bacteria likes to feed on.

Aim to get the recommended amount of fiber every day. You should have 25–30 grams of fiber from food, not from supplements. Most American adults don’t get enough fiber and it wreaks havoc on the gut flora.

Eat less processed sugar

All the highly processed foods packed with sugar and unhealthy fats aren’t just bad for your own cells. They’re bad for your gut bacteria too. 

Part of the reason that so many people lack a healthy quantity of the gut bacteria that help them break down food properly is that many of the bacteria that rely on fiber and complex carbohydrates from legumes and whole grains have been starved. 

Your bacteria can’t live on sugars alone. So when they’re only fed unhealthy foods, they become so hungry that they die or adapt and eat what’s available: the mucus inside your intestines. Sounds gross, I know. But experts believe that this could contribute to inflammation, which is linked to obesity.

So just like your cells require the variety of nutrients found in whole foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and complex carbohydrates, the bacteria in your body need a healthy diet too. And the healthier they are, the healthier you can be too.

Talk with experts

Making sure your gut bacteria is healthy and thriving requires a lot of the same dietary and lifestyle changes to keep the rest of your body healthy. And there’s no doubt that making such lifestyle changes are hard to do. Especially when trying to do it alone.

At Valley Medical Weight Loss, we help you with your weight loss plans and talk about creating a diet that works for you and keeps your gut flora healthy.

Contact our experts and get the support you deserve to lose weight and live your healthiest, happiest life.

Sources

  1. E;, Thaiss CA;Zmora N;Levy M;Elinav. “The Microbiome and Innate Immunity.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27383981/.
  2. LeBlanc JG;Milani C;de Giori GS;Sesma F;van Sinderen D;Ventura M; “Bacteria as Vitamin Suppliers to Their Host: a Gut Microbiota Perspective.” Current Opinion in Biotechnology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22940212/.
  3. Ridaura VK;Faith JJ;Rey FE;Cheng J;Duncan AE;Kau AL;Griffin NW;Lombard V;Henrissat B;Bain JR;Muehlbauer MJ;Ilkayeva O;Semenkovich CF;Funai K;Hayashi DK;Lyle BJ;Martini MC;Ursell LK;Clemente JC;Van Treuren W;Walters WA;Knight R;Newgard CB;Heath AC;Gordon J. “Gut Microbiota from Twins Discordant for Obesity Modulate Metabolism in Mice.” Science (New York, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24009397/.
  4. Turnbaugh, Peter J, et al. “A Core Gut Microbiome in Obese and Lean Twins.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 22 Jan. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19043404.
  5. Mozaffarian, Dariush, et al. “Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 15 Sept. 2011, www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/Nejmoa1014296
healthy and enjoyable thanksgiving

Tips for a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving

No one wants to give up the delicious Thanksgiving feast for their diet plan. We have some tips to help you have a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Plus we added some healthy Thanksgiving recipe inspiration!

The holiday season is the feasting season. There’s no other time of year that we go out of our way to eat so much food on so many occasions back to back. 

Which means if losing weight is your goal, this is the toughest time of year to get through. Temptation is everywhere. Whether it’s at work or with family, there are opportunities to eat extra anywhere you go and with everyone you see. 

Especially on Thanksgiving, which is now right around the corner. 

While Thanksgiving is likely to be quite different for many of us this year due to COVID-19, if your household still plans on having a small holiday gathering at any time this season, there’s no doubt delicious food will be involved. So you need a plan about how to navigate the influx of food with your weight loss goals. You need a strategy for a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

But it’s important to keep in mind—Thanksgiving isn’t about restriction and being miserly.

It’s about family, friends, community, and all the delicious foods we enjoy at this time of year. Now isn’t the time to be hard on yourself or to deprive yourself of everything you enjoy about the holiday.

But enjoying yourself doesn’t mean going wild and forgetting about all the progress you’ve made either.

So what can you do to get through the holiday without feeling guilty and setting back your progress?

Tips for a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving (and rest of the holiday season)

1. Stick to normal portion sizes

The first way to get through this is to be aware of your portion sizes during each meal.

Oftentimes the feasting on Thanksgiving becomes an event to eat the most delicious food possible. And then sit in a stupor the rest of the day.

While eating delicious food is fun, neither the after-effects nor guilt of overeating are worth it.

You can still enjoy delectable foods. Just keep in mind optimal portion sizes:

  • Vegetables — 2 to 3 cups
  • Fruits — 1½ to 2 cups
  • Grains — 5 to 8 ounces
  • Dairy — 3 cups (fat-free or low-fat)
  • Protein foods — 5 to 6½ ounces
  • Oils — 5 to 7 teaspoons

Does this mean you need to break out the measuring cups and weigh your food at the Thanksgiving buffet? No way!

Just be aware of how much you’re putting on your plate and aim to keep your portion sizes in an ideal range for the meal. Keep in mind everything you’ve had throughout the day and plan your plate accordingly.

This way you still get to enjoy the food that’s available. Because in reality, the food itself isn’t what makes you feel guilty. There’s nothing inherently wrong with eating your favorite holiday foods. 

The guilt comes from overeating far beyond what you know is reasonable. But you can avoid that by staying aware of your portion sizes as you pile food on your plate. 

2. Leftovers are great!

When there’s so much food available, it’s tempting to just keep eating. Especially if you’re someone who tends to feel guilty about not clearing your entire plate.

But there’s nothing wrong with saving food for another day. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of all the bulk holiday cooking. You get to have all that delicious food (and avoid cooking) for days afterward.

The same should be kept in mind when it comes to dessert. If your family is big on sweets and has multiple dessert options, there’s no need to have every dessert in one day. Choose one and know that you can always have another dessert the next day.

3. Slow down

While it’s natural to want second helpings of everything for holiday meals, remember to slow down.

It takes time for your body and mind to register that you’re full. So as you finish your first plate of food, wait 10 minutes to see if you actually want that second helping as much as you think you do.

You’ll likely find that if you wait before grabbing that second serving you won’t want as much food, or any more food at all.

4. Load up on vegetables

Vegetables are the ultimate foods to load up on if you want to feel full faster. They’re low calorie and full of fiber that fills you up faster than if you load up on carbs.

So to help you keep your calorie intake under control, make sure you get a lot of veggies on your plate in proportion to other types of foods. This allows you to get nutrient-dense foods and avoid overeating that happens when you load up on the lower satiety, high-calorie foods available to you.

5. Limit alcohol

When you think about how you want to allot your calories every day, you want almost all of your calories to come from healthful sources. 

Alcohol isn’t one of those healthful sources. Whether you drink wine, mixed drinks, or beer, the calories range from 150 to 200 per serving. And that adds up fast–especially when we’re likely to drink more around friends and family. 

Plus, alcohol is also known to make you feel hungrier. Despite consuming all those calories from alcohol, your brain thinks you’re starving. Hence the cravings for fat-filled, greasy, and salty foods after a heavy drinking session. 

So when you want to stay healthy, alcohol isn’t what you want to go wild indulging in. This isn’t to say you have to avoid all drinks. But for the sake of your health, limit the amount of alcohol and drink 8oz of water after any drink you will serve you well in the long run.

6. Make some time to be active during the day

You know you’re likely to eat a few more calories than you normally do on any holiday family gathering. So go into that event prepared.

Make time for exercise in the morning. Burn those calories so you can eat a little bit extra without the guilt. You can go for a mile walk or take it at a jog. You can get a quick lift in at the gym. Or do a tougher yoga sequence from home. Whatever you like best to get movement in and burn extra energy so you have some wiggle room in your diet later.

Moving after or in-between meals is also a great way to get your blood flowing and help you digest better. Whether it’s after your meal or before you settle in for the football game, go for a brief walk around the neighborhood. And this is something you can do with those you’ve gathered with and a nice change of pace from the usual day.

7. Use fresh whole foods as much as possible.

Whether you’re cooking everything or contributing just one dish, try to cook with as many fresh and whole foods as you can.

Making your dishes from scratch takes more time. But the payoff for your health and the quality of food is worth it. 

And if you’re looking for some inspiration, here are 5 healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving recipes that are freshly made from scratch that are on the healthier side of things while still being delicious:

  • Baked turkey — a fried turkey may taste amazing, but a baked turkey is a Thanksgiving classic. And it loads better for your health. You’ll want to gobble this turkey recipe right up.  
  • Low-calorie stuffing so you won’t guilty about eating so much of this Thanksgiving staple.
  • Homemade cranberry sauce: Less sugar and tastes so much better than from the can!
  • Roasted carrots — A naturally healthy Thanksgiving side dish that also adds a beautiful pop of color to your spread. 
  • Baked apples, plums, or peaches. All this takes is some halved fruit, a dash of brown sugar, and even a smidgen of salt to enhance the sweetness. You have a warm and comforting dessert without all the fillers in pies.  Here’s a recipe for delectable baked apples.

Give any one of these tips a try and you’re sure to feel better about how you eat on Thanksgiving. And you won’t feel like you risked all the progress you made in your weight loss goal.

And it’s worth keeping all these tips in mind as December rolls around. With all the holidays between now and New Years’, it’s easy to get carried away. But you can enjoy these months while still staying on track to lose the weight you want with the right plan and mindset in place. Try following a few of these tips and you’re sure to have a healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving this year.

Remember, if you need support and a weight loss plan, our experts can help you through the holidays and beyond. 

Sources

  1. “Serving and Portion Sizes: How Much Should I Eat?” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nia.nih.gov/health/serving-and-portion-sizes-how-much-should-i-eat

Overcome Common Weight Loss Obstacles

If you hit a wall in your weight loss journey, don’t stress, and don’t give up! We have some tips to help you.

When you start your weight loss journey it’s easy to feel motivated and excited for the changes you imagine in your life. The last thing on your mind is all the weight loss obstacles that could get in your way.

But the changes you want take time. And over time the excitement starts to fade. You realize just how difficult it is to lose weight. And it’s not uncommon for all your goals to suddenly feel impossible.

But you can do it. Just like the thousands of others who have found success before you.

But we know it’s not easy. It’s never as simple as just do more exercise. Or just stick to your diet.

If it were as simple as just following those suggestions, then no one would be overweight.

The truth is…no matter how much weight you want to lose, there will be ups and downs. You will encounter roadblocks.

The key to success isn’t pretending that won’t happen. 

It’s in being prepared.

So here are some insights about how to overcome six of the most common weight loss obstacles. 

That way you can make a gameplan from the start. And when something inevitably tries to get in your way, you will overcome it and succeed in your weight loss journey.

1.Diet Struggles

Constantly feeling hungry

Hunger is one of the most difficult feelings to ignore. And if you’re constantly feeling hungry, then you most likely won’t be able to maintain your weight loss plan for very long.

But there are ways of getting around that. Like by choosing foods that are high satiety, but low calorie. High satiety means foods that make you feel full after eating them.

Foods like oatmeal, fish, greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr, popcorn, soup, fruits, vegetables, and potatoes (not in french fry form—sorry, I know they’re delicious).

These foods are filling and low calorie. Many of them highly nutritious too. 

And they’re a good place to start for another problem people face around food and weight loss:

Not knowing what to eat

There’s a lot of conflicting information about what the best diet is. 

But it really doesn’t have to be so complicated. Your goal is to eat for health and weight loss.

Based on your personal conditions, you may eat a different variety of foods from another person, but there are a few general rules to stick to:

You want to eat more foods that have high nutritional value. Foods that get you a mix of the right essential nutrients your body needs to be healthy. And you want to keep your caloric intake low enough to lose weight.

But when you don’t have time to put in the research to learn about all there is to know about diet, it’s easy to feel stuck.

This is why having a meal plan created for you can be so helpful. It takes all the thinking out of the equation on your end. You get an expertly created meal plan and the results will follow when you stick to it.

You don’t have time to cook

When you decide to cook your own meals because it’s healthier than going out to eat or relying on microwavable meals, you realize how time-consuming cooking can be!

Plus you’re tired after work every day. The last thing you want to do is cook every night.

The best way to get around this weight loss obstacle is to meal prep.

Every Sunday making all of your meals and putting them into portions that you can easily grab and heat up throughout the rest of the week.

It removes the temptation to go out to avoid cooking. It saves you the time of cooking a new meal every single day.

And it’s the best way to set yourself up for success.

2. Exercise Obstacles

Find exercise boring

If you can’t find the motivation to exercise it’s possible that you find exercise boring.

The thought of going for a run sounds like mind-numbing torture. And walking on the treadmill for an hour? Total snoozer.

Not everyone would choose to spend hours of their week doing rigorous activity. You might have other passions and interests you want to invest your time in.

But there’s no denying the importance of exercise for your health. You avoid doing it at your own peril.

The reality is that there are so many types of exercise out there. And while you see fitness influences all over social media, or professional athletes on TV, don’t assume that you must go all or nothing into exercise as they have.

Find an activity you enjoy—yoga, swimming, walking, jogging, team sports, lifting, or dancing.

It can be anything. But you have to do it regularly.

At least three days a week of moderate to intense activity is recommended. But what’s even better is getting into the habit of doing 30 minutes of fun physical activity every day.

Just remember that if you start to get bored you can always switch things up.

Don’t have time

I get it—we live in a culture where being busy is the default.

So this makes creating time for longer workouts difficult for many people. It’s hard to show up for classes that run for an hour or longer when you barely have time for everything else.

But there are ways of saving time in your workouts.

One simple way is by choosing to workout at home instead of the gym. This cuts down on commute time you inevitably have to factor into your day.

And don’t feel like you have to follow any program that will take you longer than 30 minutes to complete in a day.

30 minutes is enough time to get in a solid workout. And it’s a reasonable chunk of time to set aside each day.

It’s going to be difficult to do at first. Especially if you haven’t established a routine. Or if your daily schedule really does feel like mayhem.

But the 30 minutes you invest now will improve the quality of your life now and for your future.

Pain 

Pain is one of the hardest weight loss obstacles to overcome.

But it can be done.

Work with a trainer. Speak with a physical therapist. These are people who are specially trained to work with you through your pain.

And with so many different types of exercise to choose from, you can find something that won’t cause you pain. 

3. Embarrassment 

It’s easy to feel embarrassed when there’s a lot of social stigma around weight.

Maybe you’re embarrassed that all your past attempts at losing weight failed. And you believe no one will take you seriously when you say you want to try again.

Maybe you don’t want to step foot in the gym where you see plenty of fit and thin people.

That kind of embarrassment and fear is paralyzing.

So how do you overcome it?

One way is to remember that you aren’t alone and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy. And everything you’re doing deserves compassion and celebration.

Know that you belong anywhere. If fear of the gym is stopping you from getting the exercise you need to burn calories and lose fat, let’s consider a few things:

  • No one in the gym actually cares about what you’re doing or even notices. And if they do, they’re the problem, not you.
  • The gym exists for everyone who wants to get healthier–that includes you!
  • Give yourself time to learn. You won’t feel like a pro in the gym at first. Embrace those feelings of uncertainty and channel them into learning so you can feel more at home there.

And finally, find people who support you. Anyone who cares about seeing you feel healthy and happy won’t shame you for trying. Even if you tried and failed before. 

Having the support of others normalizes what you want to do. Support helps you overcome any weight loss obstacles and helps you feel less embarrassed.

4. Motivation Fluctuates 

Our motivation to do everything comes and goes in waves. Truly, for everything.

Professional athletes, musicians, writers, and people from all walks of life will have plenty of days where they just don’t want to do it.

It might be one day. It might stretch to two weeks.

Because what happens with everything is we often reach a plateau. Or we find ourselves stuck in a rut. 

But progress is still happening. Even if we can’t see it or hear it, it’s happening. And you’re not far away from another burst of motivation and improvement if you just. keep. going.

So you will face low points in your weight loss journey. You’ll feel like it’s no use or that you aren’t making the progress you want.

This is truly one of the most insidious weight loss obstacles because it’s so easy to convince yourself nothing you do matters during times of low motivation.

It’s overcoming those low points that are the ultimate challenge. But there are some ways to regain that spark and stay on track.

Read motivational books, listen to motivational podcasts, watch inspirational documentaries. Find people who are willing to listen to you and motivate you.

Surround yourself with all the positive reminders of why you want to lose weight. 

And most importantly: don’t beat yourself up if you slip.

Did you have an extra cheat meal this week? Did you eat more in the last two days because of some social events that came up?

Do not worry.

A lot of times, when we break a pattern or a streak we feel like we’ve completely ruined everything.

And when we feel this way, it’s easy to just say you’re a failure, and give up altogether.

Instead, try to recognize the truth of the situation: you enjoyed the first treat in a month because you were happy and wanted to enjoy yourself.

Accept it, embrace that moment, let it happen, and then move on.

To shame yourself will only ever keep your motivation in a downward spiral. It will turn harmless incidents into catastrophic events even when it wasn’t close to being one to begin with.

5. Stress 

Stress is one of the most overlooked but hugely important barriers to weight loss.

Our metabolism actually slows down under stress.

And when we are stressed it’s easier to feel demotivated and run into more weight loss obstacles than when we feel at ease.

So if weight loss is your goal, it’s important to consider how stressed you are. And what you can do to reduce your stress.

Some common ways are to meditate, spend time outside, read a good novel, watch a fun series, take a bubble bath, or exercise. All of these activities can help you take your mind off what’s causing you to worry. And instead, let you focus on the present.

And if stress is really interfering in your life in many ways, it’s worth talking to a professional about your stress. 

The outcome would be a better state of mind and improved physical health.

6. Schedule Changes 

Have you ever gone on vacation and realized that it’s nearly impossible to stick to your usual weight loss plan?

Here’s the reality about vacations: they’re fun but they wreak havoc on your weight-loss plan. 

It’s harder to exercise. You don’t know what kind of gym your lodgings will have—if any. And you don’t know how much of your usual training routine you’ll be able to stick to.

There’s also the matter of food.

Chances are you’ll eat out regularly. This means you won’t be sticking to the meal plan that’s best for your weight loss and overall health.

Whether it’s a vacation, a new work schedule, or a life change that’s going to upend your normal routines for the foreseeable future, you can overcome these.

First off, it’s important not to stress out about these changes. Whether they’re temporary or long-term, the key to overcoming this obstacle is to create a new plan to keep losing weight.

People have achieved their weight loss goals under so many different circumstances. Some are undoubtedly easier than others. But your goals are always possible.

What’s the easiest way to overcome all of these weight loss obstacles?

With support.

It’s proven that those who have support in their weight loss goals are more successful and happier while doing it.

Why?

Because the changes you’re making are huge! They’re life-altering. And there’s no doubt that making lifestyle changes and creating new habits is one of the hardest things for us to do.

But when we feel supported and like our goals have a purpose outside of ourselves, they become more attainable. They become more enjoyable. 

Find out how to get life-changing weight-loss support at Valley Medical Weight Loss to make your weight loss goals a reality.

Sources:

1.“7 Filling Foods to Prevent Hunger Backed by Science.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324078.

2. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K, et al. “Daily Stressors, Past Depression, and Metabolic Responses to High-Fat Meals: a Novel Path to Obesity.” Biological Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Apr. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289126/.