Commit to Weight Loss in 5 Easy Steps
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Commit to Weight Loss in 5 Easy Steps

Diets often backfire, but a long-term commitment to weight loss helps you shed pounds and inches... and keep them off.

Written by Steve Pair

According to the National Institutes of Health, people lose on average 20 percent more weight when they combine a healthy diet with exercise than with diet alone.

According to the National Institutes of Health, people lose on average 20 percent more weight when they combine a healthy diet with exercise than with diet alone.

Americans spend $40 billion a year on weight loss programs and products. Often, the money is spent on the latest diet craze with promises of quick results. The truth is, losing weight is hard and requires long-term commitments.

Whit Walker, M.D., Texas Tech Physicians – Internal Medicine, recently offered five suggestions to help people lose weight.

Do something for exercise. It could be as simple as walking to the store, hitting the park with your four-legged friend or taking dance lessons with your spouse.

“Make it something you like,” Walker said. “If you don’t like it, you won’t keep it up.”

Drink more water and avoid sugary drinks. The fact is that many drinks, like Gatorade, were developed for athletes participating in prolonged, intense physical activity. For most people, the beverages amount to another source of calories that can be hard to burn. Walker also suggested drinking a big glass of water before meals since it can help you feel full with less food.

Add, don’t subtract. “Add cherries or grapes or peas,” Walker said. “Add them to your breakfast cereal or to your lunch and think positive.”

Eat smaller portions. This can be hard, especially when portions at restaurants are so large. Walker suggested splitting with a friend. In fact, many people have started asking for half of their order to go and save it for lunch the next day.

“It’s also important to avoid fried foods,” Walker said. “Baked fish and chicken are your friend.”

When cooking at home, Walker encouraged people to spice up their tables by trying new recipes.

Set goals and reward yourself. “Set a goal, such as losing three pounds per week,” Walker added. “If you do this, you will lose 36 pounds in three months.”

Finally, Walker said to reward yourself, however, the reward should be a fun activity and not a high-calorie treat.

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Featured Expert
James Walker, M.D.

James "Whit" Walker, M.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in Amarillo.

View his profile in our Experts Guide.

Texas Tech Physicians
Texas Tech Physicians

Texas Tech Physicians is a physician group and part of the School of Medicine and the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

Clinics are located in Amarillo, El Paso, Lubbock and the Permian Basin, encompassing 108 counties of Texas and New Mexico comprising 103,000 square miles with a population of 2.6 million people.

Receiving care in a medical school setting is unique – many Texas Tech Physicians are also teachers. They must remain up-to-date in new treatments and diagnostics, not only to care for their patients, but also to pass on that knowledge to resident physicians, physicians studying in fellowships and medical students.

Connect with Texas Tech Physicians on and .