Like most, I’m sure you know of many different fad diets, weight-loss programs and some scams that promise quick and easy weight loss. Bottom line, the foundation of any weight loss program must always include a healthy diet combined with exercise to achieve your healthy weight. While on this journey you must inevitably embrace a permanent healthy lifestyle to lose the weight and keep it off.
Follow these proven strategies to achieve your weight-loss goals and create a permanent healthy lifestyle.
Make a Commitment
Permanent weight loss takes time, effort and requires a lifelong commitment. It’s a lifestyle. Make sure you are ready to make the change and for the right reasons. It’s a decision that must come from within – a drive that says, enough is enough and I’m taking control of my health.
Set Realistic Goals
Now that you’ve decided to take control, let’s make sure you get started right and that means setting goals so you know where you are going and how you are going to get there.
When you are setting goals, think about process (how you are going to get ‘there’) and outcome (the ‘there’). “Eating Healthier” or Exercise Regularly” are examples of a process goal, while “Lose 25 pounds” or “Gain 5 pound of muscle” are an example of an outcome goal.
Establishing process goals are more essential as that is where you will form and embed good habits while keeping you on track even if you make a detour. Let’s make sure your goals are SMART!
S = specific
M = measurable
A = achievable
R = realistic
T = time specific
An example of a SMART Goal is aiming to walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week and logging your results.
Make no mistake – you must take responsibility for your own decision to create a healthier lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Be sure to let those close to you, who will support you, know of your decision and lean on them when needed.
Many days at the Y track I hear women razzing each other to “keep going”, “you can do it”, “girl if I can, so can you”… encouragement goes along way and so does discouragement, so be sure to pick people who you know will support you and share your desire to creating a healthier lifestyle. Negative Nellies need not be considered as they will only sabotage and crush your spirit.
Enjoy Healthier WHOLE Foods
There is so much that can be said on this topic and without a license or certificate on nutrition, the best advice I can give you is – get to know your food. Read the labels. What are you actually eating? I was at the grocery store the other day and saw a box of store brand cereal named, “Healthy 4 Kids”. I was thinking awesome, a company that ‘gets it’. So I, of course, picked it up and turned it over to the label. The first ingredient was SUGAR! Seriously?! I guess they don’t ‘get it’ either.
Whole foods are those that have not been processed or refined and usually do not have any added ingredients. Think fresh. The World’s Healthiest Foods website is where I started on my whole food — ‘what is and how to’ — journey back in early 2004. I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter.
You Gotta Move It
Including healthier foods in your diet can help you lose weight – a lot; however, adding the benefit of excercise will aid in losing weight quicker while building strength and endurance. Physical inactivity is a risk factor for many diseases and conditions. Making physical activity an integral part of your daily life is crucial and need not be strenuous to be beneficial.
The goal of exercise specifically for weight loss is to burn calories. How many calories you burn depends on the frequency, duration and intensity of your activities. One of the best ways to lose body fat is through steady aerobic exercise — such as walking — for more than 30 minutes most days of the week.
Think about ways you can increase your physical activity throughout the day. For example, make several trips up and down stairs instead of using the elevator, or park at the far end of the lot.
You Will Begin to See Results
As you see results of your commitment and hard work, you may not realize you have created and are living a healthier lifestyle. Hopefully, you’ve rubbed off on some friends, co-workers or other family members a long the way. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed in my journey is that the more I do, the more I want to do that can better my health and vitality.
So, while I started off just walking and doing moderate exercises, I now find myself running and increasing the intensity of my strength training. Same goes for healthier eating. In the beginning I bought foods that I thought were healthy, but as I began to learn more, I realized that they were just ‘junk’ in disguise.
You will have an occasional setback, I can guarantee it… BUT, instead of giving up, make adjustments for today and start fresh tomorrow. Remember, the lifestyle that got you to where you are now, did not happen overnight.