Making Weight Loss Work for You
Each person’s weight loss journey can look different. So what sets a successful weight loss plan apart from any other? Common themes include a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, monitoring portions, exercise, and staying hydrated. Does that sound doable? Read on for more ideas behind the “why” of what makes these helpful areas to focus on, and the smaller steps that can help you out along the way!
Embrace your fruits and veggies
Take a moment to reflect: how many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat each day? It is recommended to have at least five servings — and more is even better! Eating fruits and veggies can help with weight loss in a few ways:
- They are lower in calories than other foods: A serving of fruits or vegetables typically range from 25 to 60 calories. When we bump a more calorie-dense item off our plate and replace it with a fruit or veggie, it helps us achieve that calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
- They provide your body with fiber and water: This helps the body to feel full and satisfied. Aim to take in as many different colors as possible, since each pigment provides different types of vitamins and minerals that make the body stronger and healthier.
- They can replace less healthy snacks: Let’s compare two snack choices that are orange, crunchy, and about the same size: cheetos vs. baby carrots. Eating 1 cup of cheetos equates to 160 calories, whereas 1 cup of baby carrots is just 40 calories — and a whole lot more important nutrients! Which do you think would leave you feeling more satisfied? What do you think about swapping out half of any packaged snacks you consume for something of more substance?
Fiber is your friend
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is found in the skin and peel of all plant-based foods. Getting adequate fiber in our diets not only helps us to feel more satisfied while keeping portions in check, but it can also help to lower cholesterol, improve digestive health, and contribute to better control of blood sugar. The secret to getting enough fiber is to have more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in our diets. The more structurally complex the food is — like a raspberry with all of its seeds, or a piece of broccoli and it’s tree-like florets — often tells us that it is a rich source of fiber. Here are some tips for adding fiber to your diet:
- Read nutrition labels: The daily target for women is to have 25 grams per day, and for men to have 38 grams per day. Yet over 90% of adults do not get the recommended amount! How often does a fiber-filled food cross your plate? What might you do to have this happen more often? To ensure comfort while making a change in your fiber intake, be sure to do it gradually.
- Make at least half of your grains whole: This includes foods like oats, whole wheat pastas and breads, barley, brown rice, and quinoa.
- Incorporate plant-based proteins: Add some beans, legumes, nuts and seeds to include proteins that double as a fiber source and protein powerhouse.
A lighter plate means a lighter weight. Serving yourself portions that are slightly less than what you’re used to can be a good path toward gradual weight loss. A few ways to accomplish this include:
- Use measuring tools: Foods such as oils, fats, nuts, and grains tend to be more calorie-dense. Measuring out the oil you pour into a pan can help you move from a 300-calorie “glug” being added to your meal to a 40-calorie teaspoon.
- Apply the “plate method”: Make half of your plate non-starchy vegetables (which are nearly all veggies except potatoes, peas, and corn), a quarter of your plate lean protein, and the remaining quarter of your plate grains and starches. This emphasizes filling up on the high-fiber, lower calorie options and keeping portions in check for the higher-calorie foods that we tend to overdo.
- Take it to go: Restaurants frequently fill us up on portions that are larger than needed, with a focus on inexpensive grains/starches that are high in calories but low in nutrition. Rather than cleaning your plate, split your meal with someone else or pack away some of what’s served to save for later (bonus: add more veggies or lean protein when you get home!).
Getting more active not only contributes to weight management, but it also helps us to remain our healthiest selves as we age. It improves our balance, brain health, flexibility, strengthens bones and muscles, and can help us get better sleep and regulate our mood. To start, focus on the following:
- Get 150 minutes of activity per week: Studies have shown that 150 minutes of weekly activity can help with weight management and prevent many common chronic diseases. Sounds like a lot to start out with? It doesn’t have to happen all at once — start with 10 minutes a day, and see where it takes you!
- Schedule it in: There are so many appointments we prioritize day after day, and it’s just as important to show up for our health. Signing up for a class or penciling in a workout is often exactly what it takes to help us carve out that time and respect it.
- Find activities you enjoy: Not a gym person? You really don’t have to be! Getting more active can be a 10-minute walk around your neighborhood, dancing around your house to a favorite song, or a new (or old) sport you’ve been meaning to try out. These healthy patterns are much more likely to stick when you enjoy what you’re doing!
Be smart about hydration
Drinking more water and the right kinds of beverages can be a powerful change to make on the weight loss journey! Areas to consider:
- Know when you’re hungry or thirsty: Sometimes we confuse these signals in our body. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help us feel more satisfied at meal times.
- Set a hydration goal: It helps to measure this type of goal with a time and a favorite beverage container. For example, a goal could be, “By noon I will have at least 2 large glasses of water.”
- Choose low or no-calorie beverages: Liquid calories add up quickly. For example, the average bottle of soda contains over 200 calories and one serving can exceed our daily recommended limit for added sugars. Changing from soda to water, or another no-calorie beverage, can quickly kickstart our weight loss in a significant way.
Your Firefly care team is here to help
Keep in mind that change doesn’t have to happen overnight, and it doesn’t have to be painful! Every patient at Firefly Health has a Health Guide on their care team available to support and motivate them in their journey.
If you are interested in creating a weight loss plan, book a visit with your care team today, or speak with your Health Guide for personalized tips. Not a member yet? Get started by signing up below, take our quiz, or call us at (855) 869-9284 to see if our continuous, coordinated care model is right for you.