10 tips for losing weight

December 12, 2013
weight loss

Dr. Rajesh “Robby” Gulati, medical director of the UC Irvine Health Weight Management Program, has a theory about shedding pounds.

“I want you to be happy when you’re doing it because that will guarantee success,” Gulati says.

He also says that despite New Year’s resolutions, weight-loss goals should not be something one thinks about once a year.

“Weight loss is not something that is achieved in a week, or even months. It’s a lifestyle modification that goes from months to years and ultimately your lifetime,”  Gulati says.

Gulati offers 10 tips for sensibly trimming down:

1. Set a realistic goal

Be specific, set a goal to lose 50 pounds in six months, or 25 pounds in three months. Goals are easier to reach when you are specific.

Write your goals down and establish a time frame. A realistic goal would be to lose two pounds a week.

2. Do some self-analysis 

Figure out past mistakes that kept you from losing weight, and determine what went wrong and what worked.

Seek out solutions for roadblocks. For example, if you come home from work and eat like a monster, or if you have a craving for something sweet at 10 p.m., ask yourself what you can do to prevent yourself from indulging.

3. Take one day at a time

It took months, likely years, for you to put on those extra pounds. Realize that losing it will occur over a prolonged period and not instantly. Stay in the moment.

4. Change what you eat

  • If possible, start each morning with a protein shake. Aim for a shake that provides one-fourth of your recommended daily intake of proteins in a day.  Check out these protein-packed breakfast ideas ›
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Avoid fruits like bananas that are high in calories. Strawberries and watermelon are good choices.
  • Drink more water. How much? Divide your weight in pounds by half. That is the number of ounces of water you should drink each day. People sometimes confuse thirst for hunger; it’s important to stay properly hydrated.
  • Eliminate tempting foods from your refrigerator and pantry.
  • Do your grocery shopping with a list and a time limit.
  • At restaurants, avoid breads, chips and salsa, and other appetizers.
  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Create “emergency packs” of healthy snacks, such as seeds, fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t eat fast. Take a 30-second break during each meal. When you pause, ask yourself: “How hungry am I?”
  • Avoid eating after 7 p.m.
  • Control your portions.

5. Exercise

Choose an exercise you love to do, whether it’s walking, running on a treadmill, dancing – whatever you enjoy. Determine how much exercise you will do each day, each week, and try sticking to a schedule. This is important: If you skip a day, don’t double up to make up for that lost day. You may risk injury and fatigue. Don’t feel guilty. Just get back on the program.

6. Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation can increase your appetite. Shoot for six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.

7. Stay active

Take every opportunity to move, in addition to your exercising. For example, while at work, walk around as much as possible. Use stairs instead of elevators and use the restroom on a different floor. That’s a small change that can go a long way. Consider buying a pedometer. If you’re not taking at least 10,000 steps a day, you’re not walking enough.

8. Set mini-goals

Remember the story of the turtle and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race! For example:

  • Week one, eliminate fried foods.
  • Week two, switch to diet sodas
  • Week three, tell yourself you will drink 10 glasses of water per day.
  • Week four, take stairs at work instead of using the elevator.
  • Week five, eat one vegetarian meal per week.

9. Do not give up

One minor slip does not a weight-loss failure make! Do not worry about a single slip. Just get back on the program.

10. Chill out and connect

Learning to relax is important. Do whatever relaxes you: take a hot bath, go for a walk on the beach or practice yoga. Stay connected with a few close friends and talk to them about your achievements and failures. 

The UC Irvine Health Weight Management Program is a fee-based program that provides food and various levels of supervision for weight loss. To make an appointment, call 714-456-8633 (Orange office) or 949-824-8770 (Irvine office).

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