Four healthy ways to lose weight

January 26, 2022

Primary Care Diabetes
Nutritionist giving consultation to patient with healthy fruits and vegetables

Losing weight is hard. Keeping it off is even harder. In fact, one study found that more than half of weight lost was gained back within two years. Maybe that’s why we’re constantly looking for the magic pill or foolproof program that will help us shed those pounds. The reality, though, is that weight loss (for good) comes down to making healthy choices and living a healthy lifestyle each day.

“Trying to lose weight can be overwhelming,” admits Brandy Washburn, FNP, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Riverside Elizabeth Lakes Family Practice. “There are competing headlines about the ‘best’ new diet, not to mention you often find yourself navigating new terms, like calorie density, intermittent fasting, or macros. It’s enough to make any feel stressed.” 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to lose weight while being safe and making lasting changes to your lifestyle. 

Ms. Washburn shares her tips on the healthiest ways to lose weight. 

1. Start with your doctor

It’s tempting (and convenient) to start your weight loss planning with Dr. Google’s input or even checking in with your friends. But, it’s important to remember that not everything on the internet is accurate. And, what worked for your friend may not work for you. 

You are an individual with unique goals, a personal and family health history to keep in mind as you create a plan to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Your doctor can help you cut through that clutter and make sure your health is always top of mind – not a number on a scale or the latest so-called super food in your diet. 

“Your doctor can provide you with clear and reliable information about what might be a good body weight or body mass index (BMI) for you. You may even be surprised to learn that it’s not so much about pounds as it is about a healthy heart, lungs and body,” Ms. Washburn says.

2. Make a plan

Once you have your goals set out – whether it’s a number on a scale, more energy or lower blood pressure – you can create a road map to get yourself there. 

“It really does come down to the basics when you’re trying to be healthier,” reminds Ms. Washburn. 

That means:

3. Start small

Feeling overwhelmed? That’s normal! You’re thinking about drastically changing your lifestyle and daily habits. The good news is that these changes don’t need to happen overnight. 

“Research has shown that when you start small you are more successful at creating lasting change,” reassures Ms. Washburn.  “The best part is those small changes add up to something big. Even better, it only takes a little bit of weight loss – as little as 5 to 10% of your total weight to improve blood sugar, blood cholesterol and blood pressure.”

Instead of making sweeping changes, pick one area to focus on – and then break that up even more to give you a clear path forward. For example, if you want to eat healthier, make one small goal, like eating one more fruit or vegetable every day. 

Then, you can add more goals as you make your way to habits that will last a lifetime.

4. Enlist help

Weight loss isn’t a journey to go alone. You’ll need reinforcement and cheerleaders along the way. Here are a few easy ways to find support as you build healthy habits.

  • Tell a friend about your goal. 
  • Find a workout buddy. 
  • Keep a journal about your wins and setbacks to provide perspective. 
  • Use an app to help you track meals, exercises and other healthy habits. 

If you’re ready to start your weight loss journey, talk to your doctor. Together, you’ll figure out a plan and approach that’s right (and healthy) for you. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider. 

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