Call 936.539.4004 | Hablamos Español

4 min read

Swimsuit Season- Losing Weight

Dr. Tana Nieto

It’s finally warming up here in Montgomery County, and that means it’s time for pool days and summer nights. One thing that gets brought up often in the clinic, regardless of the season, is weight loss. Weight loss trends and fad diets have been around for as long as I can remember, coming in waves, with people having varying degrees of success with them. Recently there has been a trend toward certain weight loss medications that seem to be a “magic pill” that makes weight loss easy.

There is a time and a place for weight loss medications, and you should talk with a healthcare provider to see if those medications are right for you because they are not right for everyone.

Whether you want to lose weight to help better manage your medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension, to help prevent future disease, or you just want to get stronger and have more energy, this article is going to focus on lifestyle changes to help lose and maintain weight.

Losing weight is challenging for many reasons. It’s hard to keep up healthy habits when you don’t see any immediate results. It’s hard to eat healthy when you feel like you’re constantly exposed to unhealthy food options. It’s hard to make big changes in your life, and with a vast number of resources on the internet, it can be hard to know where to even begin.

All of this can be even harder if you feel like you’re doing it alone. We will go through some ways to combat these difficulties.

Something to remember about weight loss is that everyone is different. A friend of yours might have tried a specific diet or exercise program that caused them to lose weight, but when you tried to do it you don’t have the same results.

Since everyone is different, I wouldn’t try to measure your success by comparing yourself to others. I would also try to avoid focusing too much on the numbers on the scales. Some positive results from these lifestyle changes could be that you don’t feel as out of breath as you walk up a flight of stairs, that you have more energy throughout the day, that you can lift 5 lb. weights more easily than you used to, or that some of your tighter fitting clothes fit you a little better.

These are things you might notice before you notice big changes on the scale. One thing that I have found helpful is to create small attainable goals. If we create goals that are too difficult to achieve or if they’re too vague like “work out more/eat better”, we are less likely to follow through.

An example of a small attainable goal could be: “I will try and walk three times a week for thirty minutes a day for two weeks”, “I will take the stairs at work for these next two weeks”, or “I will drink only one soda a day for two weeks”. It’s okay if you skip a day or are unable to complete your goal, just try completing it next week.

One missed day is not the end of the world. Once you’ve found you’re able to consistently keep up with the goal you can change up the goal and say, “I want to walk four days out of the week for 30 minutes”, or “I will not drink any sodas this week”.

Another helpful thing you could do would be keeping a journal about what types of food you buy and eat, and when you snack. For example, you might think that you only eat take-out food or sweets a few times a week, but when you write it down it looks like you eat out more than you thought, or that you eat out more during busier seasons in your life when you have less time to cook.

Knowledge is power so knowing when and why we do certain things can help us make changes. A simple change that I encourage people to make, particularly if they like to snack, is to not buy those chip snacks or sugary drinks and to sub them out for maybe vegetables, fruits, and flavored water with no added sugar.

It also helps to encourage other people in your household to join you as well. It’s easier to avoid temptation if you don’t have it in the house. It’s also easier if you’re not surrounded by other people eating things you can’t.

This also helps encourage a sense of community and accountability within your household. If you would like to meet other people within your community sharing similar health goals, you can join groups like Walk Across Texas to help you exercise or try activities in your local community centers.

The biggest thing to avoid while trying to lose weight is doing anything extreme. If you’ve never really exercised before don’t try to lift heavy weights, exercise for long hours at the gym, or run many miles.

Going too hard too fast can lead to injuries which can slow your weight loss journey and keep you from exercising again in the future since you had a bad experience. Don’t try to do extreme eating restrictions and meal skipping. You won’t have the appropriate fuel you need to do your activities throughout the day, and this might lead to binging large meals at night which can be hard on your metabolism.

I know weight loss and body image can be sensitive subjects, but if you ever feel sad, guilty, or so negatively about your weight that it affects your daily life, I strongly encourage you to talk to a healthcare provider about the way you feel. Some of those negative thoughts could be potentially harmful.

Today, we mainly discussed goal setting and good habits to help in overall aspects and didn’t get into the details of meal guides and sample exercise programs. As we mentioned earlier, everybody is different, and some people might not like certain foods or certain exercises. The CDC website has lots of information about healthy eating habits and activities to help with weight loss, so I would recommend going there for some ideas. Broad diet tips would include eating foods high in fiber, leafy green vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and drinking mainly water.

Diet and exercise are important aspects of weight loss but getting plenty of sleep and lowering stress levels are just as important. Again, weight loss and weight maintenance are hard work, but I would encourage you to try to start that journey with whatever small step you can if you find yourself motivated this swimsuit season.

Dr. Tana Nieto is a resident physician who sees patients of all ages and provides obstetrical services at Lone Star Family Health Center, a non-profit 501©3 Federally Qualified Health Center operating facilities in Conroe, Spring, Willis, Grangerland, and Huntsville, and serving as home to a fully integrated Family Medicine Residency Program to increase the number of Family Medicine physicians for Texas and our community.