Ask the Expert: 3 things you can do to lose weight

By Tucson Medical Center

When you need to lose weight, it can be hard to know where to start, but you don’t have to jump on the latest diet trend or buy “miracle” coffees and teas to succeed. 

“Obesity is a chronic disease that is a complex problem and requires treatment of all parts of the person. Weight loss doesn’t have to be difficult to work,” says Susan Musal, nurse practitioner at TMCOne Skyline. 

“There are simple science-backed methods that can help you be successful. A lot of the fad diets, coffees or shakes advertised as quick fixes are just not sustainable for the long run. Focusing on lifestyle and behavioral changes rather than ‘dieting’ is the best way to see long-lasting results. We also now have viable medication options available.”

Musal leads a nonsurgical weight-loss program at the TMCOne Skyline office. If you are struggling to lose weight, ask your primary care provider for a referral. 

She shares the following advice for people who want to lose weight without pills or serious dieting.

Track your food intake 

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume, which is difficult if you don’t really know what you are eating and drinking.

“Most people consume more than they think they do,” Musal says. 

“Keeping a food journal is an effective way to really know how many calories you are taking in, as well as the nutrients in those foods.”

Apps such as MyFitnessPal are a convenient way to track on the go. They have huge databases with nutritional information on restaurant and grocery store foods. 

Swap processed foods for healthier options

Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, but the type of carb is key.

“Our standard American diet consists of a lot of convenience and fast foods that are full of refined sugars and carbohydrates,” Musal says. 

“Foods such as white rice, bread and pasta are heavily processed and don’t contain fiber and other nutrients. They are quick to digest, promote insulin resistance and turn into glucose pretty quickly, which can promote weight gain.”

Extra glucose in the blood provokes insulin, which promotes fat storage and contributes to weight gain.

Here are some food swaps to try:

• Whole-grain bread, pasta and rice instead of white.

• Eat nuts, seeds and fruit instead of a candy bar.

• Drink herbal tea or fruit-infused water instead of soda.

• Make your smoothies with almond milk or water instead of fruit juice.

Get good sleep

Studies have shown getting fewer than six hours of sleep per night is associated with weight gain. 

Not enough or poor-quality sleep slows down your metabolism, which prompts your body to store unused energy as fat. It can also increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which makes the body store fat. 

Having a hard time catching zzzs? Learn more at