Weight loss is a hot topic around the first of the year. A new year means a new start, and after overindulging during the holidays, it’s no wonder that Healthy Weight Week falls in January. Of course, healthy weight means more than just dropping a few pounds to look good in your summer wardrobe. Instead, weight management should be a lifestyle choice that offers benefits beyond an improved physique.
Weight Management vs. Diet
Let’s be honest for a moment. Diets simply don’t work, at least not in the long-term. If your goal is to look great while also being the healthiest version of yourself, a diet is sure to let you down every time. Sure a crash diet may help you drop a few pounds quickly, but they inevitably come back. Furthermore, the very nature of most diets makes them unrealistic to sustain indefinitely. Your chance for success is significantly higher if instead of focusing on a strict set of rules, you make an effort to make smart nutritional choices and live a moderately active lifestyle every day.
Finding Success in Weight Management
Making smart choices begins with having the right information. What exactly are sound nutritional choices, and how much exercise is enough? If you’re ready to embark on healthy lifestyle changes, here is what you should know:
Follow Dietary Guidelines
If you aren’t certain what constitutes a healthy diet, consult the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. In general, Americans should focus on a diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, and eggs. Foods to restrict include those high in saturated fats, trans fats, salt, and added sugar.
This doesn’t mean that you must become a gym rat or the latest CrossFit fanatic on social media. Rather, it’s about getting up and moving regularly with a goal of increasing your heart rate. Typical recommendations include 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week such as brisk walking or biking. More vigorous activity such as jogging is recommended for 75 minutes per week. Of course, if your goal is to lose some weight, the magic formula is simply to burn more calories than you take in.
Get Mentally Focused
Mental hurdles are more than half the battle for most. Once we can overcome these, change becomes far simpler. If you’re struggling to get focused on healthy lifestyle changes and weight management, seek out support. Perhaps yours comes in the form of a group of friends who exercise together, a support group such as Food Addicts Anonymous, or a trusted physician. Research shows that those who have support in their weight loss journeys are consistently more successful.
So, don’t jump on the latest diet fad. Instead, make sound nutrition and regular exercise the routine that gets you healthy and keeps you that way for years to come.