Mayo Clinic's approach to weight loss - indeed the true Mayo Clinic diet - is more than a diet. It's a lifestyle that can help you maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.
If you're overweight, you've likely tried many diet and weight-loss plans, from the low-carb diet to the low-fat approach. You might have even tried the Mayo Clinic Diet - or what you thought was the Mayo Clinic Diet.
But whatever the method, you may not have had much success and are still trying to lose weight. That's not surprising. Most people who diet find weight loss a never-ending roller coaster ride.
That's where Mayo Clinic's weight management program can help you. This approach to weight loss isn't a diet. It's a lifestyle program that can improve your health and help you maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.
Not just another diet
Mayo Clinic's approach to weight loss - indeed the true Mayo Clinic Diet - is based on Mayo Clinic research and clinical experience. It recognizes
successful, long-term weight management needs to focus on more than the food you eat and the pounds you lose. It needs to focus on your overall health.
This Mayo Clinic Diet, if you want to call it that, has a simple goal - to help you adopt a long-term lifestyle that allows you to achieve and maintain a weight that's healthy for you. The Mayo Clinic weight management program can be summarized in four essential components.
1. Eat well with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid
Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid
The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid helps you adopt an enjoyable eating plan that you never tire of - one that can last a lifetime. That means no severe restrictions on the foods you eat and no extreme hunger. The base of the pyramid focuses on generous amounts of healthy foods that contain a small number of calories in a large volume of food, particularly fruits and vegetables. Healthy choices in moderate amounts make up the rest of the pyramid, which focuses on whole-grain carbohydrates, lean sources of protein such as legumes, fish and low-fat dairy, and heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
Use the pyramid to help you select the right kinds and amounts of food. If you eat the recommended number of servings, use the proper serving sizes and are physically active every day, the pyramid approach can help you lose weight at a safe pace of 1 to 2 pounds a week.
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2. Increase your physical activity
Being active - either through physical activity or through a formal exercise program - is the next essential component of Mayo Clinic's weight-control program. When you're active, your body uses energy (calories) to work, helping to burn the calories you take in with food you eat.
At the most basic level, physical activity means moving - every motion of your body burns calories and is therefore beneficial. Cleaning the house, making the bed, shopping, mowing and gardening are all forms of physical activity. Exercise, on the other hand, is a structured and repetitive form of physical activity that you do on a regular basis. Exercise improves your fitness, as well as helps you lose weight and deal with everyday stress.
Whatever activity you choose, the key is to commit to doing it regularly. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. Moderately intense activity or exercise should increase your heart and breathing rates and possibly lead to a light sweat. Brisk walking and yardwork that entails near constant motion are examples of moderately intense activity.
If you've been inactive or you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or health care provider first. Most people can start out gradually with five- or 10-minute activity sessions and increase the time gradually.
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3. Set action goals
Goal setting provides focus and the path to achieve a healthy lifestyle. With a clear goal, you can readily turn your thoughts into action.
When setting goals, focus on specific activities rather than pounds lost. For example, you might decrease the number of servings of high-fat foods in your diet and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Or you might begin walking or jogging a specific number of miles each week. You might start keeping a daily food and activity diary. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable and realistic so that you're able to reach them.
Set weekly or monthly goals, and then track your progress. At the end of the time, gauge your success by how well you've stuck to your plan rather than on how many pounds you may have lost, which of course is the ultimate goal.
4. Get started and stay motivated
Motivation is the final essential component of Mayo Clinic's weight-control program. It's natural to encounter mental roadblocks and resistance when you undertake a major lifestyle change. Once you're ready to get started, here are some strategies to help bolster and sustain your motivation:
ï§ Emphasize the positives. Focus on the good things about losing weight - such as more energy and improved health - and not what you consider the negatives. If you have a setback, don't dwell on it. Put it behind you and move forward toward your goal.
ï§ Prioritize. Don't set yourself up for failure by trying to lose weight while distracted by other concerns.
ï§ Steer clear of dietary gimmicks. Over-the-counter pills and special food combinations aren't the answer to long-term weight control. You want to incorporate healthy behaviors into your lifestyle, not rely on gimmicks.
ï§ Seek out support. Don't feel you have to go it alone. Exercising with a friend or family member, for example, can help keep you motivated.
ï§ Remind yourself you're not looking for a quick fix. Healthy weight loss is slow and steady weight loss that occurs over time. Remind yourself that quick weight loss is usually followed by weight regain a short time later.
Achieving a healthy weight takes continuous effort - or more correctly, good planning and consistency - but the rewards are clear: better health and more enjoyment from life. Over time, these steps will become a sustainable healthy lifestyle based on proper nutrition and increased physical activity. You'll feel better immediately and reduce your health risks. More importantly, this change in lifestyle can be an enjoyable way for you to live.
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