Diet, exercise, pills, surgery. If you’re struggling with your weight, you might be overwhelmed by all the options.
So before you get started, Joseph St. Pierre, DO, bariatric specialist in Westport, has five tips to keep you on the right track.
1. Understand your goals
The first step to sustainable weight loss is to understand your goals and motivations.
“There are questions you need to ask yourself before you start trying to lose weight,” Dr. St. Pierre cautions. “Why do you feel the need to lose weight? Have the circumstances that got you into this position changed?”
You might not be able to answer those questions right away, but keep them in mind to help guide your weight loss journey.
2. It starts with a good diet
Struggling to cut carbs, or pack in the protein? Diets aren’t ‘one size fits all,’ so pick one that works for you. Or better yet, don’t pick one at all. Instead, work with an expert to tweak your existing diet, and create healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.
“The reality is, it’s very hard to hand someone a diet guide and send them on their way. It’s much more appropriate to get an idea of what their existing diet is, and make subtle changes as you go.”
Focus on one or two things at a time, and most importantly, never pursue a diet that leaves you feeling deprived.
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3. And then comes exercise
If you’ve ever hopped on the treadmill to work off a few pounds, you know how unrealistic it can be.
“You have to burn 3,500 calories to burn off one pound,” warns Dr. St. Pierre. “But exercise is the primary driver for keeping off weight that’s already been lost. You want to keep that weight from coming back? Exercise is how you do it.”
Even if you haven’t lost any weight yet, don’t be discouraged. Exercise has tons of other benefits such as cardiovascular health, bone and muscle support, and healthy aging effects such as warding off dementia.
4. Is bariatric surgery right for me?
Have you already written off bariatric surgery as a last resort? This section is for you.
“Bariatric surgery is considered the gold standard of weight loss. I would not look at it as a last resort, but as an excellent and primary way to lose weight,” says Dr. St. Pierre. “Often, the greatest weight loss is seen in patients that choose to do both medical and surgical weight loss at the same time.”
And if that’s not enough, bariatric surgery can actually reduce type 2 diabetes and help with a host of other dangerous conditions.
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5. Consistency is key
Wherever you start, Dr. St. Pierre tells all his patients to keep one thing in mind – consistency matters.
“It doesn’t matter the style of weight loss; every diet or lifestyle change requires consistency. There are so many ways to go about weight loss, it’s a matter of trying to find the lifestyle that works for you.”
Still not sure where to begin? Start your weight loss journey here.