Health Plus
September 27, 2011

You are determined. You have weighed and know you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or more than 25.0 and have decided that now it is time to lose weight. What is your next step? It is to set a reasonable weight loss goal. Where do you start?

The key to setting and achieving a reasonable weight loss goal is to follow the SMART recommendations for goal setting. The goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time framed. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends starting with a goal to lose 5 to 10% of your body weight or one to two pounds a week. After achieving this goal, you can move forward by setting another weight loss goal of losing 5 to 10% of your now new body weight. In this way, you can achieve the weight loss you imagine. Losing slowly over time will strengthen the possibility that the changes you are making to your lifestyle will last a lifetime.

Getting to a healthy weight is important because obesity increases the risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, hypertension, stroke, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, and liver and gallbladder disease.

Best Practices:

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is about balancing what you eat (calories) and how you burn those calories (physical activity plus body function) every day. Instead of going on a diet, think about making healthy changes in the way you live. Take small steps. Even a 5 to 10% weight loss can lead to a healthier you.

  1. Find out how much you weigh. If your BMI is higher than 24.9, then you may need to lose some weight.
  2. Set a reasonable weight loss goal. One to two pounds a week is safe and reachable.
  3. Eat fewer calories. How?
    • Learn what a serving is and eat reasonable portions.
    • Eat breakfast. Research shows that eating breakfast helps people control their appetite and not gain as much weight.
    • Eat more fruit and vegetables every day.
    • Drink more water and fewer sodas or sugared drinks.
    • Choose healthy snacks; opt for snacks of 100 calories or less such as 2 cups of carrots, 3 1/2 cups of air-popped popcorn, or 1 cup sliced banana.
    • Limit foods high in fat and/or sugar.
  4. Move more every day. Start slowly and work up to at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Choose an activity which you enjoy. Basically anything counts as long as it is done for at least 10 minutes at a time.
  5. Keep a record of your progress by writing down the food you eat every day and your physical activity minutes. Weigh yourself every week and keep a record of your weight loss as you move forward toward your goal.

How we can help:

Health Plus offers weight screening throughout the year at Know Your Numbers events.

Vanderbilt Health & Wellness offers the Vanderbilt Healthier You program. Health Plus provides credits to those who want to participate in the Weight Watchers at Work program. Call 615-343-8943 for more information.

If you would like to make lifestyle changes and would like the support of a Lifestyle Coach contact Health Plus.

Additional Information:

Healthy weight and how you can achieve it

Keywords: Weight, Weigh, Overweight, Obese, Body Fat, Healthy Weight, Weight Loss, Lose Weight, Calories