Safe slim down: How to live your 2024 weight loss resolution
Learn how to lose weight safely in the new year with tips from HCA Florida Healthcare.
Did you find yourself overindulging over the holidays? Have you put on a few pounds that you’d like to lose? Or did a health scare motivate you to try to drop some weight? Whatever the reason, weight loss goals are among the most common New Year’s resolutions, with 34% of Americans citing losing weight as a resolution in 2024.
However, sticking with a resolution is a lot harder than setting it. In fact, around 43% of people quit their resolutions by the end of January. When it comes to weight loss, which should be a gradual loss of no more than a couple of pounds per week, it can feel frustrating to not see more pounds melt away in the first few weeks.
“Your weight is impacted by diet, exercise, genetics, sleep, stress, health conditions and more,” says Dr. Donald Fridley, bariatric surgeon with HCA Florida Healthcare. “Some of these factors are in your control, but others are not. That’s part of what makes setting weight loss goals so challenging. Losing weight is not about dieting but instead about making consistent and lasting lifestyle choices that help you keep the weight off.”
Benefits of weight loss
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a healthy weight as having a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 25, while overweight and obese people have BMIs over 25 and 30, respectively. Being overweight or obese brings significant health risks compared to being a healthy weight, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Joint pain
- Sleep apnea
- Some cancers
- Type 2 diabetes
Losing weight can lower the risk of these conditions and can play an important role in improving your quality of life.
How to lose weight in 2024
Whether you have tried to lose weight before or this is your first attempt, having a plan can help you be successful in the new year. While diet and exercise are two key parts of losing weight, there are other factors at play and you can improve your odds by:
- Bringing along your support system. It might be you stepping on the scale, but your family and friends are all participants on your journey. Share your reasons for weight loss and your goals with them, and lean on them for support.
- Exercising in ways that work for you. Staying active is crucial for weight loss since exercise helps your body burn calories that you can’t cut from your diet. Find 150 minutes per week (30 minutes, five days per week) for moderate activity like brisk walking, bike riding, dancing or even gardening. And try to incorporate activity into your daily life, like taking the stairs, parking further from your building or even getting a standing desk. Most of all, make sure that these are activities you enjoy and can stick with.
- Finding healthy foods you enjoy. Similarly, it’s hard to get excited about eating healthy if you’re not enjoying it. Try new recipes to keep your diet interesting. Consider incorporating more plant-based foods into your meals and cut out processed foods, refined sugars, salt and full-fat dairy.
- Knowing why you’re losing weight. You might be trying to lower your blood pressure, keep up with your kids or reduce joint pain. Whatever your reason, articulate it and keep it top of mind.
- Setting specific, measurable goals. “Losing weight” is an aspiration, but “losing 15 pounds by next year” is a goal. Set a target with a timeframe. If you’re looking for extra motivation, consider setting shorter-term goals as well, like losing four pounds in January or exercising four days in the next week.
- Taking your time. Losing weight doesn’t happen overnight — nor should it. Healthy weight loss usually means no more than 1-2 pounds per week. Additionally, people who lose a healthy amount of weight over time are more likely to keep it off than those who lose a lot of weight at once.
And most of all, don’t forget to celebrate your wins when you do lose weight!
Because many factors impact your weight, sometimes even the best weight loss plans don’t quite work out. If you are more than 100 pounds overweight or have serious health issues from being overweight and are struggling to lose weight, weight loss surgery may be an option to help you get started.
Making your resolutions a reality
If your resolutions this year involve weight loss goals, we offer the resources and support you need. Our team of experts will partner with you to develop an individualized weight loss care plan that is best for both your physical and emotional health. Learn more about weight loss surgery and if it is right for you.