The Top 6 Secrets to Successful Weight Loss

Samantha Heller MS RD

At any one time more than 80 million Americans are on a “diet”.  With 72.3% of women and 64.1% of men overweight or obese it is clear “dieting” does not work.  Emerging research suggests that  people who have been overweight or obese for long periods of time are not only battling environmental and psychological influences but physiological ones as well.  So what can you do if you want to lose some weight?  Here are the top 6 essential steps you need to get started on a successful weight loss program.

1. Assess  your motivation:  Determine how motivated you are to do what it takes to adopt a new healthier lifestyle. On a scale from one to ten, one being “Fuggedaboutit” and ten being “YES 1000% motivated”, where does your motivation fall?  If it is below about 8 then perhaps this is not the best time for you to begin healthy lifestyle changes.

If you do not feel motivated, ask your self why?  What is getting in the way? A fear of deprivation, hunger, feeling overwhelmed, and stress can all contribute to a lack of motivation. Also not knowing how or where to begin can quash your good intentions.  Seeing a registered dietitian is a great way to start. She can help you create a healthy eating plan that works for you.  Go to and plug in your zip code to find an RD near you.   There are some decent online programs.  Weight Watchers is one that seems to have been helpful for  people.

2. Set realistic goals.  Once you decide you are truly motivated set some realistic goals.  You are not going to lose 10 pounds in 3 days. Focus on making doable, practical choices first. Take into account where you live and work and what is realistic in terms of your daily life, budget and food preferences.  For example: losing 1-2 pounds/week, eating breakfast or adding exercise to your daily routine.  Make a list of your goals.

3.  Create a very specific game plan.  Write a meal by meal menu and a shopping list to help you get organized.  Set  simple steps for yourself each day.  For example: instead of skipping breakfast have a 100% whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter; tonight, do not eat in front of the TV;  get up earlier and walk 15 minutes in the morning; eat whole grain cereal with unsweetened soy milk, strawberries & 1 tbls of walnuts for breakfast.

4. Be positive and patient.  Always give yourself a pat on the back for making healthy choices.  But do not berate yourself for falling off the wagon.  Look at the event as a learning experience and move forward.  Remember, weight loss takes time and behavior change is a process.  Be kind and patient with yourself.

5. Never starve yourself or follow a fad diet.  Adopting habits that you can keep forever is what will stick with you for the long haul.

6.  Keep a food diary.  Write down everything you eat & drink, even a few grapes or a guzzle of juice.  This will help you eat consciously and increase your awareness of how much and what you are choosing to eat.  Food diaries will help you see what your triggers are; for example, stress, boredom or eating at night, so you can then create strategies for managing them.

Finally, your goals should be about being healthy and feeling great not being skinny.   Seek support from friends, family and health professionals.  Find a partner with whom you can exercise, exchange recipes or share experiences.  Choosing healthy foods more often than not and adding regular physical activity to your day will help you reach and maintain a healthier weight.


About Samantha Heller's Blog

Samantha Heller is a registered dietitian, certified dietitian/nutritionist and exercise physiologist. As a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist Samantha strives to be sure accurate, scientifically based yet practical health advice and recommendations are available to the public via her radio show on SiriusXM's Doctor Radio, articles, books and appearances. Samantha is also a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center's new Center for Musculoskeletal Care & Sports Performance Center where she works with patients & athletes to optimize health & performance. Samantha's radio show is a live two hour show on SiriusXM's DOCTOR Radio, Friday's from 12-2p.m. ET. Her new, best selling book The Only Cleanse, is an evidence based guide to helping you optimize your body's innate ability to keep you healthy. She deconstructs popular trends such as fasting, juicing and colonics and offers an intelligent, practical and science based 14 day plan to help you be your healthiest. Samantha’s first book GET SMART:SAMANTHA HELLER’S NUTRITION PRESCRIPTION FOR BOOSTING BRAIN POWER AND OPTIMIZING TOTAL BODY HEALTH is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Medically peer reviewed, Get Smart shows you how to boost brain power, improve memory, lose weight and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Voted the #2 BEST SUMMER READ by the Huffington post, For more on Get Smart go to; With her unique, motivating and entertaining style and respected status as a medical professional with extensive media experience, Samantha is a favored expert on shows including Dr. Oz, Today show, Good Morning America, NY1 News and CBS This Morning, Samantha is a highly sought after expert, spokesperson, writer, keynote and public speaker. Twitter: @SamanthaHeller FB:
This entry was posted in Food, Health, Nutrition, obesity, Uncategorized, weight management, Wellness. Bookmark the permalink.

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