There is a lot of information out there on weight loss – in fact, there are over 80 articles (to date) on this site alone, and each has useful information. So I think today my focus will be on summarizing the greatest keys to successful weight loss – the ones that, if you get them wrong, will result in another failed diet plan. Each of these seven keys to weight loss is critical, and you can find more detail on them in other articles here on dietMD Hawaii.
1- Eat Fewer and More Nutritious Calories
Of course you need to reduce overall calories to lose weight. You don’t have to starve yourself (nor should you), but you need to create a deficit compared to what your body is accustomed to, so that it will burn stored fat to help you drop pounds.
The important part is to choose highly nutritious foods for the calories you do choose to eat, to make sure your body has everything it needs. These calorie choices will keep you healthy and help you avoid cravings. You might want to read my article on nutritarian eating for more detail on this.
2 – Consume More Fiber
It’s unlikely that you’ll succeed in long-term weight loss until you learn to incorporate more fiber in your diet. Fiber keeps your digestive system working in a healthy manner, helps remove excess fat from your system, and gives you feelings of satiety that combat cravings.
3 – Choose the Right Carbs
Some diets suggest zero carbs, but that’s a bad idea for the long term. Your body needs carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They’re its main source of fuel, and contain essential vitamins and minerals. Without carbs, your body will start breaking down muscle and possibly bone to get the fuel and nutrition it needs.
The key is eating unprocessed, “slow carbs” that digest slowly, don’t trigger sugar cravings, and give you a feeling of satiety due to their high fiber content. They also help cholesterol levels and keep your digestive system healthy.
4 – Eat Less Bad Fats and More Good Fats
I’ve written elsewhere about the difference between good and bad fats. It’s profound for dieters. Certain good fats, such as coconut oil, are actually associated with weight loss. Yes, you shouldn’t be giving up fat – your body and brain need it. The key is to choose healthy fats that nourish your body instead of toxic ones that hurt it.
5 – Eliminate Blood Sugar Spikes
Allowing your blood sugar to spike by eating high-glycemic foods not only leads to weight gain, but puts you on the fast track to metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Blood sugar spikes creating feelings of hunger and lead to consuming more calories, and because they trigger sugar cravings in particular, a vicious cycle can soon occur.
6 – Reduce Stress
There are two main diet-related results of creating strategies to combat stress in your life. One is that you’ll be better able to resist emotional eating, with all the junk calories that tend to go with it. The other is that you’ll get better sleep, which is associated with successful weight loss. There’s even been a study that indicates that mindfulness meditation directly helps reduce belly fat.
7 – Deal with Medical Issues
It’s essential that you work with a knowledgeable doctor to deal with medical issues that cause weight gain or impede weight loss. Of course, since I run a medical weight loss practice, I’m a little biased. However, I’m also a LOT educated on the many ways in which disease, genetics and prescription medications can create issues with obesity, and how to mitigate those.
My role as a doctor is to make sure you’re in a position to get the most from your commitment to weight loss, and that your efforts will result in long-term results. If you’re in Hawaii and have been struggling with being overweight, please contact my office for a complimentary initial weight loss consultation. If you’re not in Hawaii, please read my article on Why You Need to Consult Your Doctor Before Weight Loss.
But What about Exercise?
Some of the more observant of you may notice that exercise wasn’t included in my list of the seven greatest keys to successful weight loss. Exercise and increased activity can certainly aid weight loss, when done right, but they’re not essential. Healthy dietary choices are the most critical component of successful weight loss, by far.
Other Weight Loss Tips
Of course there are other ways to support weight loss, from specific diet tips, ideas on how and when to eat, information on specific vitamins and other nutritional components that will help, mindset, and more. Articles on these topics can also be found on our website here at dietMD Hawaii.
In this article, I’ve simply tried to summarize the key components to weight loss. Think of these seven greatest keys to successful weight loss as the minimum necessary to take weight off and keep it off. If you fail to understand any of them, or put them into practice in creating a new healthy lifestyle, you’re unlikely to succeed in the long term.