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How Small Changes can Make or Break a Weight Loss Strategy

Actions we take every day eventually become habits.  These habits compound over time to either make it easier or harder to maintain a healthy weight. Thus what we do everyday is a major factor in the success of any weight loss strategy.

Sometimes changing to a new environment can cause changes in lifestyle habits that result in weight gain.  One famous example of this is the so-called “Freshman 15”, the 15 lbs of proverbial weight gain that can happen to students during their first year in university.  

Tracking these lifestyle changes as they are happening is the first step towards taking control and reversing the effects on your weight. Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center now uses app-based technology to put lifestyle habit tracking into the hands of patients.  

Let’s explore how this works and what we need to do to make it work for us as part of our lifestyle intervention portion of a weight loss program.

Habit number #1: Drinks

Perhaps one of the most insidious habits we have that affects our healthy weight efforts is whether or not we drink juice, fruit drinks, sodas and alcohol on a daily basis.  These beverages contain calories and can increase our daily caloric intake by a significant amount. Using Dr. Amir’s Healthy Weight App, patients can track the caloric value of the drinks they consume and see how these extra calories affect their weight loss goals. Take for example someone who drinks just a can of Coca-Cola per day.  That adds 140 calories per day to that person’s caloric intake.  Over time that equals 4,200 extra per month over those who do not drink a can of Coke per day. That amounts to an extra 50,400 calories per year.  Since our bodies can gain a pound of body fat for every 3,500 calories, the daily Coke drinker can expect to gain over 14 lbs a year just from their daily habit!

In other words, eliminating just one 12 oz. can of Coke a day results in 14 lbs. less weight gain per year!

Habit number #2: Snacking

Like beverages, snacking or constant grazing between meals can significantly raise your daily caloric intake and add pounds of fat on an annual basis.  The good news is that people can eliminate a snacking habit as a lifestyle intervention (as they could also do with drinking a daily beverage) and benefit from either staying at their weight or lowering your weight. Using Dr. Amir’s Healthy Weight App, patients can track the caloric value of the snacks they consume and see how these extra calories affect their weight loss goals. Take, for example, someone who snacks between meals every day.  Let’s say they eat a bag of Lay’s original potato chips. That adds 150 calories per day to that person’s caloric intake.  Over time that equals 4,500 extra per month over those who do not eat a bag of chips per day. That amounts to an extra 54,000 calories per year.  Since our bodies can gain a pound of body fat for every 3,500 calories, the daily potato chip eater can expect to gain over 15 lbs a year just from their daily habit!

In other words, eliminating just one small bag of chips a day results in 15 lbs. less weight gain per year!

“… eliminating just one 12 oz. can of Coke a day results in 14 lbs. less weight gain per year!”

Habit number #3: Physical Activity

One of the ways of eliminating calories and thus losing weight on a daily basis is through exercise and physical activity.  It takes energy to move and the more we move, the more energy we burn up and the more weight we can potentially lose. Using Dr. Amir’s Healthy Weight App, patients can track the caloric burn of the physical activities they choose to do and see how the extra calories burned affect their weight loss goals. What’s more, making a habit of doing weight-bearing exercises builds up muscles, which helps the body to have a higher resting metabolism.  People with higher resting metabolisms burn more calories when they are standing still and not moving.  Think of that as bonus fat-burning!  But physical activity does not have to be in the gym or involve strenuous exercise.  Even something as simple as walking up and down the stairs for 30 minutes a day can make a difference.  You can burn in the region of 200 calories by doing this moderate exercise.  That amounts to 6,000 calories per month or 72,000 calories per year.  At the rate of 3,500 calories per pound of fat, the habit of walking up and down the stairs for 30 minutes a day can shave off some 20 lbs of fat per year!

Habit number #4: Meal Portion Sizes

Limiting your meals to the daily recommended calorie intake of 2,000 per day or less is a great way to lose weight.  At Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center, we specialize in restricted calorie diets using a meal replacement strategy  For those meals that are not replaced with delicious low-calorie soups, shakes and bars it will be up to the patient to use temperance in making sure their caloric intake per meal does not cause their overall daily intake to cause them to gain weight.  People can control caloric intake by:

  • Limiting portion sizes
  • Reducing or eliminating high-density caloric foods like cheese, butter and dried fruits
  • Not going back for second servings

Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center

At Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center we use a number of lifestyle interventions to help patients lose weight and keep it off. However, even those who understand the basic concept of “calories in and calories out” can struggle with the practical issues of lifestyle and diet.  Therefore, we work with people of all ages using clinically proven and medically supervised lifestyle interventions, meal replacement and sometimes even medication to reduce weight and keep it off in the long term.  Our goal is always healthy and sustainable weight loss.  If you, or anyone you love struggles with obesity or with maintaining a healthy weight, reach out to us today for an initial consultation by clicking here.  

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