Today’s world is one of instant gratifications. If you want to watch a movie, you download it from Netflix; if you feel like sushi for dinner, you have it delivered to your doorstep in minutes. While the convenience of all the recent advances are great, it has left us unaccustomed to waiting.
The driving need to get things how we want it, when we want it, persists even when it comes to things which should not happen quickly, like weight loss. People that want to lose weight usually want to lose it FAST, regardless of the impact it has on their physical and emotional wellbeing. This explains the appeal of various fad diets, ‘detoxes’, and miracle weight loss drugs. When it comes to weight loss, however, slow and steady wins the race, ultimately resulting in long-term success.
Focus on thoughtful changes, not a short-term diets
The ideal rate to lose weight is about 1 to 2 pounds per week, which is roughly equal to reducing your caloric intake by 500 to 1000 calories every day. This can be accomplished through small, thoughtful changes, not a huge overhaul of everything you eat. By changing your dietary habits gradually, you are more likely to make changes for life, not for a few weeks.
Identify your quick wins
The first step in losing weight this way is to identify some ‘quick wins’ for weight loss. These are simple changes that address the things that you might be over-consuming and ultimately impeding your efforts to lose weight. The idea is not to go ‘on’ a diet (which suggests you will come ‘off’ it at some point), but to learn how to make better choices so you can sustain a lower body weight.
For many people, reducing their sugar intake is their quick fix. Soda, juice, and coffee creamers can easily add thousands of extra calories to your daily caloric intake. Along the same lines, your daily dessert habit could be adding upwards of 500 calories per day. Think about it this way: cutting 500 calories per day by eliminating desserts for a full week would equal 1 pound of weight loss. If cutting desert all-together is too much too fast, you can start with swapping out dessert for something more nutritious, like fruit.
Another quick win for many people is to reduce take-away or processed foods and start eating more ‘real’ foods. Studies have shown people eat an excess of approximately 500 calories per day when eating a diet high in ultra-processed foods (1). Thinking ahead, prepping your meals, and packing healthy snacks instead of eating out or choosing packaged meals can have a huge impact on your waistline (and wallet). For a few healthy snack ideas, check out this TOVI blog.
Identify where you can make quick fixes by taking a step back and considering everything you eat and drink in a given day. Chances are, the very unhealthy choices you’re making will stand out to you, leading you towards gradual changes that will help you lose weight.
TOVI helps you accomplish these kinds of manageable, lasting changes by taking you through a process of education and self-reflection, so you can identify areas you may want to work on (like cutting back on sweets or take-out). It then helps you set goals to develop the healthy habits you desire. At TOVI, we help you make smart choices that will help you succeed.
To learn more about TOVI, visit our website here.
For more information about nutrition, check out these other TOVI blog posts:
- Nutrition 101
- Healthy Lunch Tips for the Office
- How Healthy Snacks Can Keep You Energized and Focused at Work
- Reading Labels - What It All Means
1. Hall et al., 2019. Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake. Cell Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.05.008.
Written by Dr. Tara Coletta, PhD
Tara's research focused on obesity and metabolism. She studied exercise science (MS, UMass Amherst) before earning a PhD in nutritional biochemistry (Tufts University). Wellness remains an integral part of Tara’s life as she works to balance being a mother of three.