7 Keys to Successful Weight Loss & Lifestyle Changes
Achieving lasting weight loss and good health can be simple, but as most will probably admit, not always easy.
Fancy diets or diet fads are typically not the answer. While they may produce quick results, such "diets" are not designed to be sustainable for a lifetime.
Looking at success in terms of overall health first and foremost is important.
Those that focus on getting healthy first often find that weight loss will follow suit. In the end, it's not about how much weight one loses, rather it's about inches lost.
Those starting an exercise program will lose fat quickly, but at the same time gain muscle back. Pound for pound, fat takes up more space than muscle. If one loses a pound of fat and gains a pound of muscle back, the scales won't change, but there will be a physical difference.
Simple keys for healthy success
When attempting to lose weight, tone up and overall live a healthier lifestyle, there are seven simple key principles to live by:
1. Define what success means to you. It’s not about what your peers or loved ones think. The definition of success will be different for everyone!
2. Enlist those around you to be your support team. No one succeeds totally on their own. Let your friends and family know what your goals are and how important these are to you. Ask them to respect that and to support you. They can your biggest cheering squad if you let them!
3. Always keep it realistic. Don’t expect more than is possible in a short period of time. Smaller attainable goals over shorter periods of time are much better than one big one that seems like a mountain. Start with one or two small goals and once those are achieved, set one or two more.
4. Keep a journal of your daily thoughts, successes and struggles. No matter how bad a day may seem, find something positive out of it and write it down. Then, list something that you are struggling with and create a plan to help you overcome that hurdle the next day. Be specific in how you plan to improve it. We learn most from our mistakes and the things that appear to be failed attempts.
5. Be open to new ideas. If a diet for weight loss did not work or did not last, it’s time to be willing to step outside the box and be open to change and new ideas. Most “diets” are designed to deprive you of something. Consider changing your perspective and making simple dietary changes (e.g., smaller portions, less fast food, etc.) that you can live with and that will last a lifetime.
6. Connect with others that share similar goals and especially those that have succeeded at similar goals. Choose those people that will be uplifting – not those who are going to bring you down!
7. Share your success no matter how big or small with others. As you succeed, others will turn to you to learn – learning is a gift that should always be shared!
Current health statistics
In January of 2012, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) posted the results of their United States 2009-2010 health evaluation. These findings include:
- 37% of adults were identified as being obese in 2009–2010
- 17% of children were identified as being obese in 2009-2010
- These statistics have remained about the same since 2007
- The prevalence of obesity was roughly equal between men and women
- Adults aged 60+ were more likely to be obese than younger adults.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is typically used to define "overweight" versus "obese" and is calculated using height and weight.
- An adult with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is generally considered overweight.
- An adult with a BMI of 30 or higher is generally considered obese.
BMI represents a very rough estimate of body fat and most commonly used by doctors, but keep in mind that it does not directly measure body fat. For some people, such as athletes, their BMI may not be a true refection of overall health. An athlete may have a BMI that labels them as "overweight" even though they do not have excess body fat.
To determine BMI, there are websites online that one can use.
A more accurate assessment of health is to truly measure "% body fat". There are a number of methods used for this - most of which are accurate within 1-2%. There is more to come on this in a future hub!
Getting started - knowledge is power!
If you don't know your BMI, it's easy to figure it out. You can use the link above to find out where you are.
If you fall into the "overweight" or "obese" category and are ready to make some changes, try starting with the seven simple principles above.
Once you know what your starting point is, you can create one or two small and attainable goals. Once those are achieved, you can them move on and set new ones.
Change is not going to happen overnight and these keys principles aren't going to be the magic pill, but they are a good strong foundation that will help get you started.
Figure out what works for you and don't try to go it alone - enlist some help, keep it real and celebrate your small successes as you go!
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