Weight Loss Through Lifestyle Changes
The option of weight loss through lifestyle changes is based on the idea that modest weight loss can lead to significant health and body image improvements. Just 5 to 15 percent of your body weight is a realistic amount to aim for. It’s also important to be realistic about what is required to lose weight and maintain that weight loss. Gradual weight loss is the safest and most long-lasting approach. This is a permanent lifestyle change, not a quick fix. It’s similar to the healthy living option reviewed previously, but more intensive; food intake is more restricted, the exercise is more intense, and weight monitoring is done on a daily or weekly basis. This approach can also include body image work, which research suggests may help to maintain weight loss, and the use of medication.
Weight Loss Through Lifestyle Changes: Food
In this approach, you will follow what’s called a “balanced deficit plan”. We will calculate the calories you need in order to maintain your current weight, and we will reduce that amount by five hundred calories per day. You will develop a balanced and low-fat meal plan based on this target. We encourage you from drinking alcoholic beverages, partly because of the calories in these drinks and partly because they may make you more likely to overeat. You won’t need special foods on this plan, although you may find it easier to stick to your plan if you don’t allow yourself too many options.
Weight Loss Through Lifestyle Changes: Activity
With this approach, you will eventually be doing one hour of vigorous activity per day, six days per week. This amount of activity is based on what we know about the activity levels of successful weight losers -the majority of whom choose to walk daily, most walking for about one hour. This activity you choose should be based on both what’s physically comfortable for you and what you can see yourself and sustaining in the long run. Finding a partner to join you in your activity will likely help with motivation, and having goals to work toward (like participating in a yearly walk for charity) can enhance your sense of accomplishment.
Putting the Weight Loss Through Lifestyle Changes: Option into Practice
How will you change old patterns and adopt a new ones? As i the case with the healthy living option, you will start by planning and then move toward your planned lifestyle. We will provide you with general guidelines that have been shown to help you to identify the specific “bumps in the road” that put you at risk for falling off your plan. We will suggest strategies for managing risky situations, emotions that trigger overeating, and interactions that may upset you. We suggest that you find a support network for individuals trying to lose weight, and someone (a friend, family member, or therapist) you can check in with on a weekly basis to review difficulties that come up and listen to your plans for solving problems.
Weight Loss Through Lifestyle Changes: Body Image
You may be planning to lose weight in order to feel better about your body. It likely will make you feel better, even the modest weight loss that we are recommending. However, people who rely on weight loss to feel better about their body are very vulnerable to feeling dissatisfied if they regain even a small amount of weight. Even if weight loss does improve your body satisfaction, you will likely still experience some dissatisfaction. We therefore recommend that you also plan to complete the body image section of this workbook.
Who is Suited to the Weight Loss Through Lifestyle Changes Option?
This option is recommended if you are overweight or obese. It is not recommended if you are in the “healthy range”. The weight loss through lifestyle changes option is also recommended if you know that you are organized and disciplined, and believe that you can follow a plan consistently. It is not recommended if you have a tendency to become overly restrictive in your eating or if you tend to overdo your physical activity. In addition, this option is not recommended as the only strategy for managing body image concerns. If the way you feel about your body is what bothers you most, then we recommend that you use the body image section as your main strategy.
Source: The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Weight Management