(BPT) – As the new year is here and you may be setting health goals for yourself, exploring the new weight loss medications might be part of this. Whether you’re considering trying them, currently on one, or recently have ended treatment, it’s important not only to consult with your health care provider for guidance, but also to follow nutrition practices that can support your long-term wellness goals.
To help you in sustaining your weight loss journey, Dr. Jonathan Clinthorne, PhD, director of nutrition at Atkins, offers practical advice and recommendations.
“Many patients who are now taking medications to help promote weight loss can face unique challenges,” said Clinthorne. “Health and wellness are long-term goals that go beyond weight, however the good news is that these medications appear to be effective and can really help people reduce their calorie intake by reducing appetite. Ultimately for many people this is an important piece of their wellness journey.”
When your appetite is suppressed and you’re eating less, it becomes more important to focus on nutrition quality and make every bite count. Here are some important factors to keep in mind if you’re taking weight loss medications, and tools to help keep you on track.
1. Focus on maintaining lean muscle
Losing weight typically involves losing some lean muscle tissue, so it’s important that you consume enough protein to help minimize the amount of muscle lost. One way to do that is by following eating patterns that prioritize protein, like the Atkins approach, which has been shown to be helpful for preserving muscle tissue during weight loss. Overall, it’s recommended to seek meals and snacks that are higher in protein, including lean meats, seafood, eggs, low-fat dairy and nuts. Also, don’t skimp on exercise, combining resistance training with higher protein intake is typically the best way to preserve lean tissue during weight loss.
2. Make sure to get your vital nutrients
Since weight loss medications can suppress your appetite, your everyday food choices will matter even more. Be sure that the foods you do eat are not full of empty calories and added sugar, but instead are sources of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your body needs, such as vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, protein and fiber. Many of the newer weight loss medications may also reduce thirst, so make sure to stay well hydrated. Smoothies and soups are great ways to incorporate more nutrition and hydration into your day, without seeming like an overwhelmingly large meal.
3. Find healthier ways to satisfy cravings
It’s important to understand that if you haven’t made nutrition and lifestyle changes, it’s likely you will regain weight if you stop taking these medications. You may also find that your cravings for certain foods – like sweet things – will return when stopping treatment. However, that doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of all the tastes that you love.
To help you stay on track as you work toward your wellness goals, Atkins offers delicious, indulgent low-carb and low sugar recipes and other options that can help satisfy your cravings for your favorite foods. You can choose from Atkins nutrition bars and shakes which are uniquely formulated with protein, fiber, carbs and fat to help support your weight loss journey.
For example, Atkins PLUS Protein & Fiber Shakes are rich in protein, and also a good source of fiber, calcium and other important vitamins and minerals. Atkins Shakes are portable and a great option to keep you satisfied throughout the day so you don’t end up skipping meals.
“Seek out mini meals like Atkins bars and shakes when your appetite is suppressed, because they provide a one-two punch combining quality protein and fiber,” said Clinthorne. “And for anyone who worries about regaining the weight they’ve lost if they discontinue taking their weight loss medications, Atkins offers delicious products and sustainable low-carb options and recipes that can help support you maintain your weight loss long-term.”
For more information about weight loss medications, and how Atkins can help, visit Atkins.com/weight-loss-medications.