6 Ways to Get on the Right Track for Weight LossLast updated: Oct 10, 2016
Cynthia Page, MD, knows losing weight is a challenge—especially after age 40. That’s why she wants to share what she’s learned as a Summit Medical Group family medicine specialist with expertise in obesity treatment, chronic disease management, and wellness.
With more than one third of Americans now categorized as obese, we can use all the help we can get.
1. Follow the Leaders
Dr. Paige says she’s noticed people who successfully lose weight—and keep it off—have certain healthy habits in common, including:
- They eat a healthy low carbohydrate breakfast
- They get five hours of exercise each week
- They weigh themselves daily, first thing in the morning, so they know their baseline weight for the day.
2. Rev Up Your Metabolism
Often, people who never had a weight problem before start packing on pounds as they get older. This is no coincidence, Dr. Paige explains. It’s all about your slowing metabolism no longer burning up calories as it did in the past.
“In our 20s, our metabolism is really kicking and we can eat anything and not gain as much weight, typically, and the same thing in our 30s, Dr. Paige notes. “But as most adults get into their 40s and 50s, the need for calories drops tremendously. In other words, our metabolism slows down,” says Dr. Paige.
“Once women go through menopause, their need for calories may drop by up to 300 calories per day, meaning that if you do exactly the same thing you did in your 30s, you are going to gain weight. You must actually increase your physical activity in order to lose weight because that’s the primary way you’re going to increase your metabolism.”
3. Contain Your Cravings
Food cravings are another factor that can sabotage weight loss efforts. The power of food cravings can be nearly irresistible, similar in some ways to the lure of other addictive substances, Dr. Paige points out.
“The key is to understand that there are certain things that you should not have in your environment. If you know that you like sweets in the middle of the night, don’t bring sweets into the house, you’re not going to get in your car and go drive for sweets if you don’t have them. But if they’re in the kitchen, they’re very accessible and your cravings will overpower your willpower at that point.”
4. Don’t Go It Alone
To increase your likelihood of success, Dr. Paige advises getting help from others.
“Get support. Don’t try to do something so challenging as losing 50 pounds by yourself,” she says. “Whether it’s a trainer, whether it’s your physician, whether it’s any of the nutritionists that we have at Summit Medical Group, the key is to get support in what is going to be a lifelong battle.”
5. Curb the Carbs
There’s no single diet that will help everyone lose weight, but Dr. Paige favors a diet low in carbohydrates, which includes only small amounts of sugar and starches.
“I’m a big believer in a low carbohydrate diet, especially as we age,” notes Dr. Paige.
6. Set Your Mind to Change
Successful weight loss comes down to a commitment to change, Dr. Paige observes.
“The most important thing for getting your weight off and keeping it off–and we know keeping it off is harder than getting it off—is really persistence and determination as well as just that commitment to excellence in your life. That’s really a mindset,” says Dr. Paige.
“Exercise or any type of behavioral change always begins with a change in mindset. After that, we look at what are the details with regards to what are we taking into our body and how we are burning off the calories and the carbohydrates.”
“Adult Obesity Facts,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html.