Weight Loss 101

With every New Year comes a slew of weight loss goals and fad diets. Unfortunately, both the goals and the diets often fall flat due to frustration associated with deprivation and/or a lack of results. Turn over a new leaf in 2019 by following these simple strategies for successful weight loss and gift yourself a more balanced diet in the New Year.

1)      Remain in a calorie deficit. Any successful weight loss program hinges on a reduction in calories. Contrary to popular belief, the ratio of carbohydrates to fat (high carb vs. high-fat diet) does not offer a metabolic advantage when looking at weight loss alone. However, a reduction in calories is crucial to weight loss. In most cases, a daily 500-calorie deficit is appropriate for a 0.5-2 pound weekly weight loss.

2)   Do not skip the protein.  Unlike carbohydrates and fat, protein is the one macronutrient that has an impact on weight loss due to potential to curb on appetite and increase thermogenesis. Quality sources of protein include meats, eggs, poultry, beans and legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds, and wild rice. In most cases, 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day is appropriate for weight loss and optimal health.

3)   Opt for carbohydrates from vegetables. People often associate carbohydrates with starchy grains like pasta, bread, and rice. However, whole foods like fruits and vegetables also fall into this category and can aid weight loss efforts when used as the main carbohydrate source in the diet. The fiber found in vegetables helps stabilize blood sugar and increase satiety and can contribute to the caloric deficit required for weight loss. Aim for 8-12 servings of plant.

4)   Limit sugar and processed foods. Intake of processed foods can lead to overeating by overriding our bodies’ satiety signals due to the hyperpalatable composition of these foods leaving the consumer wanting more. Excessive intake of these foods also contributes to many chronic health issues. Limiting the intake of refined sugars and grains found in highly processed foods like shelf-stable candy bars, cookies, chips, and other snacks will aid weight loss and reduce the incidence of illness. Aim for whole foods whenever possible, read food labels carefully, and limit intake of added sugars.

5)   Get moving. Regular exercise is key to any successful weight loss program. Exercise promotes weight loss by increasing metabolism immediately after exercise, increasing muscle mass and increasing basal metabolic rate, the rate at which the body uses energy while at rest to maintain vital functions. Both cardiovascular and strength training are important components of an exercise program. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly and 10,000 steps daily.

6)   Get enough sleep. In a sleep deficit, food preferences are altered toward energy-dense foods, hunger is increased, fat metabolism is decreased and the stress response is increased leading to a decreased basal metabolic rate. Sleep is crucial for hormone balance. Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep per night.

Valley Schools wants our members to live their best lives. Our targeted, innovative programs are available to help members achieve their optimal wellness goals, including healthy weight loss. Please visit www.myvalleyschools.org for more information about the Valley Schools wellness program.

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