Here are 10 steps to start losing weight:
Goal 1 – Eating for Performance
Focus on quality food choices. Try to eat whole foods such as fruits, veggies, lean meats, beans, whole grains, low-fat dairy and healthy fat choices for performance nutrition.
* Do you eat 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day? It is difficult to do, but the more fruits and veggies you eat, then less "junk foods" are likely.
* Try adding more fish to your diet such as salmon and mackerel.
* Are you drinking healthy beverages? Low-fat milk and water are the best choices. Other beverages can add calories and limited nutritional value.
Goal 2 – Limit the Empty Calories
Fatty, refined, and highly processed foods contribute very little nutritional value to your diet and tend to be a significant source of empty calories which can literally weigh you down and make it harder to lose weight.
* How you can limit the empty calories is two-fold. Either reduce your portion sizes OR swap it out and make a better choice!
* Keep in mind that 1 pound of body fat is equivalent to about 3,500 calories. Consuming an extra 250 calories a day generates ½ pound of fat a week. Consuming 500 extra calories a day will create an additional pound of fat.
* Be aware of your alcohol intake. Alcohol takes priority in the metabolic process, your body won't metabolize other fats and sugars as efficiently, ultimately slowing down your metabolism over time. Alcohol also has added calories.
Goal 3 – Build a Better Plate
Start with plenty of fruits and vegetables, then add in a small amount of whole grains and a more modest amount of lean protein. Look what happens to the amount of calories when you change the proportion of the foods on your plate and emphasize more fruits and veggies!
* Think about the extras such as dressing, added butter, sauces, or sugar.
* Eat breakfast every day.
* Don't skip meals. Plan ahead and keep healthy snacks handy.
Goal 4 – Target Calorie Level for Your Weight Loss Goal
Maintaining weight is a balance of energy expenditure. Losing weight is creating a negative energy expenditure. About 70% of the calories we burn each day are accounted for in our resting metabolic rate. The rest of the calories you burn in a day come from lifestyle choices and exercise. Lifestyle calories are calories that are burned during daily activities. This makes up approximately 20% of the calories used each day. This is why it is important to include more activity throughout the day, in addition to exercise. Exercise calories are calories that are burned while deliberately exercising – whether it is at the gym, through a walking program, etc. These make up about 10% of the calories used each day. So how many calories do you need to lose weight? First start by calculating how many calories you need to maintain weight and reduce your calories by 500-1000 calories per day to lose a ½ pound to 1 pound per week.
* Calculating your calorie needs: multiply your goal weight by 10 to get a rough estimate of calorie needs for weight loss.
* Army Wellness Centers offer metabolic testing to personalize your calories needs. All Military Health System beneficiaries are eligible for Army Wellness Center services.
Goal 5 – Move More
Physical activity is recommended as an important part of weight management. In fact, if exercise were a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world! Exercise improves endurance, burns calories, strengthens bones, and helps manage stress.
* Your target should be to perform 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise per week.
* Increasing the amount of steps you take each day is one way to monitor yourself and encourage more exercise. Activity trackers are a great tool for tracking your steps. It is best to start small and gradually increase the number of steps.
* One mile equals about 2,000 steps walking approximately 20 minutes or 1500 steps of running for approximately 8 minutes.
* The goal should be to ensure you are getting enough overall moderate to vigorous exercise each WEEK - this doesn't have to be walking or running. Any activity that gets up your heart rate and breathing up for continuous period (cycling, swimming, rowing, and shoveling) will count.
* Adding in more steps each day is also a bonus, but it's important to let you muscles and bones have rest days.
* Remember that exercise contributes to total physical activity and provides a routine foundation for managing weight and improving physical fitness.
Goal 6 – Strength Training
Strength training is an excellent way to improve muscle strength, preserve lean muscle tissue, and strengthen bones. As a matter of fact, building muscle and losing body fat will boost the number of calories you burn at rest.
* Working out just 2–3 days per week for a whole body program effectively builds strength and muscle.
* Use all 7 major muscle groups to develop the strength you need. Start with a weight you can lift for 6–12 repetitions. If you are new to strength training, then one set of each exercise is a good start. More experienced lifters should use multiple (3–5) sets to get the most out of their program. Use 3–5 sets of 6–12 repetitions as a base to build strength and muscle.
* You can use equipment, or your own body weight by doing push-ups, triceps dips, squats, planks, etc. Rest muscle groups about 48 hours between workouts. Get 7–8 hours of sleep to maximize recovery and improvement.
Goal 7 – Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep, 7+ hours per night is critical for weight loss and here's how: When you get enough sleep, your body can properly regulate your appetite and your metabolism. Inadequate sleep, on the other hand, can throw these processes off balance and may lead to overeating and gradual weight gain over time. When you are sleep deprived:
* It upsets hormones that help you regulate your appetite and it can increase the amount of a stress hormone -- called cortisol in your system.
* The hormone responsible for feelings of fullness goes down; and the hormone responsible for determining how hungry you are goes up!
* When these appetite hormones are not in balance, have strong cravings for higher-sugar and higher fat foods, but you are also more likely to put on weight around your mid-section.
* Getting enough sleep, helps to make better food choices. And, finally, when you are well-rested, you'll have more energy to engage in physical activity!
Goal 8 – Weigh Yourself Regularly to Stay on Track
It can be daily, every other day or weekly. Research has found that those who weighed themselves more often lost more weight and prevented weight gain than those who weighed themselves less frequently.
* Weighing yourself first thing in the morning is usually best. Because of variations in food and fluid consumption, we often "gain" different amounts of weight throughout the day.
* If you're weighing frequently, remember that daily fluctuations in weight are common.
* Monthly variations in weight are also common in menstruating women.
* Plateaus in weight loss aren't necessarily bad. If you're exercising a lot, your weight may remain constant for a time even though you're still decreasing your body fat content and getting healthier.
Goal 9 - Track Your Food, Activity, and Sleep
There is also an abundance of technology and health trackers to use to track your physical activity, sleep, and nutritional intake.
Goal 10 - Make S.M.A.R.T Goals
SMART goals are: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based. Putting your weight loss goals in writing will help keep you on track. Set realistic goals that fit your lifestyle and timeline. Remember, goals are flexible. Once you start logging your food and beverage intake and physical activity, you may want to update or add to your goals.
Goal body weight: _______ pounds (6 months after completing the Fit for Performance – Weight Strategies, Powered by Performance Triad). Establish a realistic goal weight by averaging a half pound to 2 pounds of weight loss each week over the next several months.
Contact your local Nutrition Care Division for more information.
Through a series of sessions, Soldiers will receive group and/or individual counseling. Fit For Performance concentrates on 4 key areas that are essential for long-term weight loss success and these include:
sleep, activity, nutrition,
Upon completion of the mandatory nutrition education, a Soldier can choose to continue with Fit For Performance remaining sessions (the recommended best practice approach for optimum weight loss success) or select from other weight loss options as outlined in AR 600-9 and TG 358.
Being a Soldier means being physically able and healthy enough to perform your duties.
TG 358 is designed to help Soldiers meet the Army body composition standards per AR 600-9. The Army Body Composition Program (ABCP) states that as part of the Soldier Action Plan, a Soldier is required to read the TG 358 and meet with a dietitian or health care provider within 30 days of enrollment in the ABCP (for Active Duty Soldiers).