7 Steps for a successful weight loss resolution this new year

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According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton (published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology), losing weight was the number one resolution made by Americans. Any surprise there?

Of the 45 percent of Americans who make resolutions, only 8 percent are actually successful. Again, surprised?

Myo Nwe, M.D. and Sandeep Grewal M.D. Dr. Nwe and Dr. Grewal, inventors of the SlimPlate System and authors of the book Fat-Me Not: Weight Loss Diet of the Future share their 7 Steps for a Successful Weight Loss Resolution this New Year.

Drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day

Although it may seem difficult to drink 64 ounces of water a day, it’s really simple. If you eat every 3-4 hours (see step 3), then have a glass of water with each meal. Then have an additional glass of water after three meals, and you will have successfully drank 8 eight-ounce glasses. If you follow this guideline, you will feel fuller and more satisfied, thus making it easier to limit caloric intake. It’s okay to have drinks other than water, such as coffee, milk, or tea, but limit these to two cups per day. Drinking water is crucial to weight loss; it can help regulate your metabolism and increase your metabolic rate.

Eat breakfast every day and within one hour of waking up

This important step will prevent your body from switching into fat-saving mode after a long night of fasting. Eating within one hour improves metabolism and increases calorie expenditure. Even if you have to take it on the go, make sure you do not skip breakfast. Some breakfast foods that are easy to make and good for you include smoothies, eggs and toast with bacon or sausage, or waffles — just be sure you consider portion sizes.

Eat every 3-4 hours or five times a day

Every day, eat properly portioned food five times a day. By preventing your brain from thinking there is a scarcity of food and switching into fat-saving mode, you can be more successful in your weight loss plan. The five meals include breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. The snack times can vary from person to person. For instance, if you like to stay up later, you can have a snack after lunch and then have your second snack after dinner. Likewise, if you’re an early bird, your snack times may be after breakfast and after lunch. Snacks can include 10 large nuts, 20 peanuts or pistachios, or a small bowl of fresh fruit or chips.

Portion control

Perhaps the most important step is understanding portion control. Eating too much can prevent weight loss, but eating too little is also bad, as it switches your body into fat-saving mode. Portion control helps you get just the right amount. An example of a well-balanced, well-portioned meal is a six-ounce chicken breast, one cup of steamed broccoli, and three-quarters cup of wild rice. But remember portioning one meal a day is not enough, portioning once in a while is not enough. Portioning daily and every meal is the way to go.

Avoid artificial sweeteners and limit sugar intake

Sugar gets a bad rep, but it’s not sugar itself that is bad, it’s the amount of sugar people take in. Limiting yourself to 18 grams of sugar or less per snack won’t sabotage your weight loss. If you want a candy bar, just check the sugar; if it has 36 grams of sugar, eat half of the bar now, and eat the other half later. You really just want to limit the amount of sugar you’re consuming at one time. If you take in too much at one time, your blood sugar will spike, and your body will start saving fat rather than burning it. Artificial sweeteners should be completely avoided, as they are known to cause rebound cravings of sweets and calories and damage your metabolism.

Eat real food

This step sounds simple enough. Instead of eating protein bars or shakes as meal replacements, just eat a regular meal. Although these items start off with a lower count than a meal, your body doesn’t have to do much to digest these foods, and thus doesn’t burn calories during digestion. Essentially, you end up with more calories. You can also make the following subtle changes to commonly used items for an added health boost:

Change your dairy products to 2 percent or less fat. This includes yogurts, cheeses, and milk.

Change your cooking oil to olive oil or vegetable oil with no cholesterol, and remember that a little bit goes a long way.

Change your white sugar to brown sugar.

Activity of 30 minutes a day

Exercising for 30 minutes every day promotes metabolism, burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep and builds muscles. You should think about what kind of exercise you’re likely to stick with and that you will enjoy. You can play tennis, go for a swim, or enjoy a walk. However, don’t expect to doing a daily exercise will equal to losing 10 pounds in three months. You don’t lose weight from exercise alone. A combination of exercising and eating using the first six steps will ensure you meet your weight loss goals this New Year.

— Dr. Myo M. Nwe is a double board certified physician by the American Board of Obesity Medicine and Internal Medicine. She has appeared on several radio and television shows, educating the audience on right way to lose weight and keep it off. Dr. Sandeep Grewal is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He was awarded the Innovation in Healthcare award by the Charlotte Business Journal in 2012, in addition to being named one of the “40 under 40” in 2013. Dr. Grewal has appeared on several television and radio shows. Both are co-inventors of the SlimPlate System.

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