What do I need to do to lose weight and get healthy?
According to a poll by online broker TD Ameritrade, almost 50% of New Year’s resolutions are about setting health related goals. Losing weight and getting into shape are the bulk of these resolutions. We all can name people (for some of us it would be ourselves) who during the month of December talk about their plans to lose weight and get into shape in the New Year. Are you one of these people? If your goal is to lose weight and get into better shape, here are a few tips to help you succeed at your resolution.
But wait…before we get to how to lose weight, we need to determine how important losing weight and getting fit is? Well, here is what the statistics say. In one year, heart disease was listed as the cause of death for 596,339 people. During the same year, diabetes caused 73,282 deaths and was the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness among adults. Also, 60% of amputations were due to diabetes complications. Where did I get these numbers? They are the preliminary numbers from the Center for Disease Control for 2011. Since the going theories state that both of these diseases are heavily influenced by diet and lifestyle, I would say that losing weight and becoming fit is extremely important.
2011 Leading Causes of Death
Cause of death
Chronic lower respiratory disease
Stroke (Cerebrovascular diseases )
Accidents (unintentional injuries)
And now...7 Tips to Living Healthy and Losing Weight
Most people can lose 5 to 10 pounds pretty easy, but losing a substantial amount of weight and keeping it off for the rest of your life takes a life-long commitment. This is especially true as you age. A while back I lost a bit of weight and a friend asked me how I did it. I had not used any special diet; I had just followed these tips. Since they were too long to get into on a Facebook post, I simply told her I finally wanted to lose weight more than I wanted a piece of cake or second helpings.
I work in an office with a good number of women over the age of 30. A woman’s three favorite topics is her kids, her husband, and dieting. Shopping comes in at number four at our age. Anyway, I listen to these ladies discuss diets and what works for them and what does not. All of the ones with actual weight loss will tell you, it takes a committed mindset. So that is my first tip, be committed. Commit first to weight loss and/or getting into shape and then commit to maintaining your goals.
Set realistic goals
Humans are creatures who enjoy success. If we do not reach our goals, we are not likely to continue working at them. It is crucial to set realistic goals for your age and fitness/weight levels. For example, at 20, I could lose 5lbs by cutting back on soft drinks for a couple of weeks. At 40, I can gain five pounds by looking at a cupcake. Example two, if my husband and I ate the same food, portioned in equal amounts, he would lose weight and I would gain two pounds.
The Mayo Clinic advises that goals should be within your capabilities and limitations. Personal fitness level, health issues, time and motivation (commitment) should be taken into consideration. They also recommend that losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight at 1 to 2 pounds a week is where most people should set their goal.
Get friendly with your doctor
Before beginning any weight loss or exercise program, see your doctor. Not only will this confirm you are healthy enough for weight loss and exercise, it will help you set your goals. It is imperative, when creating a weight loss or exercise plan, to take into consideration any health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Your doctor can also provide information and advice on proper nutrition and the effects certain medicines will have on weight, for example, some women will gain weight with birth control pills.
Eat healthy and moderate
I do not believe in dieting. Dieting, especially fad diets, set people up for failure. It goes against human nature. You tell a person they cannot have something and that is the one and only thing they are going to want. Also, when most people want to lose weight, they do not want it to come back. So do you really want to be on the celery diet forever?
I do believe in eating healthy and in the correct portions. The perfect way to lose weight and eat great foods is to commit to eat a healthy, varied diet. A healthy diet does not leave much room for fats and sweets. When you commit to eat healthy, you choose to eat a healthy meal over a meal high in fat and calories. In other words, a McDonald’s Big Mac is not off limits, you just choose the salad over the hamburger because you are committed to losing weight and feeling better
In America, our portion sizes are out of control. On average, we eat twice the amount of food we should in one sitting. In theory, a person could lose weight while eating the same food, if the portion sizes were cut down. Twenty years ago the common Chicken Caesar Salad was 1.5 cups and had 390 calories. Today’s Chicken Caesar Salad is 3 cups and has 790 calories. You would have to walk 1 hour and 20 minutes to burn off the additional calories today’s salad provides.
Personally, I follow the USDA “My Plate” recommendations. It is the perfect way to make sure you are eating healthy. I admit that I increase the size of the protein some. I feel better when I eat more protein. I have a friend, though, that eats less of the protein because she does not feel well when she eats that much protein. It is important that you listen to your body, after you get beyond the cravings for sugar and salt. It will tell you what it needs.
Use your technology
Today’s technology offers dozens of ways to help people wanting to lose weight and get into shape. From posting your goals and successes on Facebook or Twitter, to using your smartphone to keep up with your calorie counts, make use of the technology around you. Websites such as WebMD, FitDay and Lose It.com all offer online and smartphone apps that provide a wide range of information, support and interactive tools. The best thing is to sync your smartphone apps to a website so that you can log information from home or on the go. I have personally used all three of these websites and they each have their good points and bad points. You must choose one that you like. The Best Free Online Food or Dieting Journals and Planners provides additional information on using technology for dieting or getting into shape.
Live healthy and fit
Everyone knows to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you eat. The best way to eat more of the foods you like is to burn more calories. Simple right? I wish. I hate exercising, I hate sweating. I love sitting around. Also, I spend 8 hours a day working behind a desk, not including the time spent on freelance articles like this one. Who has time to exercise? Not me.
I do have time to do things I enjoy, such as hiking. I love to hike. That’s not exercise is it? Actually, it is great exercise. There is the secret to living healthy, try different sports, weight training, aerobic exercises, anything that gets you moving, until you find something you enjoy doing. You will be amazed at how quickly you will incorporate exercise into your life if it is something you enjoy.
No matter what activities you choose, make it a goal to do those for 30 to 60 minutes a day every day. For example, I will try to go on a long hike once or twice a week. The rest of the week, I may use videos, such as “Leslie Sansone: Walk Away the Pounds Ultimate Collection” or hit the local park walking trail to get in my 30 to 60 minutes a day. Some days, I may choose to do a bit of yoga or aerobic exercise, anything that will raise my heart rate, increase my flexibility or build muscle.
Another way to live healthy and fit is to be more active at all times. Clean house, do yard work, walk to a neighbor’s house, and go shopping. Get off the couch and just move. Caloriecount.about.com states that a 150lb person burns 70 calories an hour watching television. The same person will burn 175 calories per hour doing light housework such as dusting, straightening up and taking out the garbage. It only takes burning an extra 500 calories a day to lose a pound a week. At 175 calories you are almost half way there.
Another way to be active without exercising...go metal detecting
Finally, make time to be lazy
Part of living a healthy lifestyle is taking time to rest and relax. Studies have found a correlation between sleep, actually lack of it, and weight gain. WebMD mentions a Chicago study of 12 men who were deprived of sleep for two days. During this time of sleep deprivation, their hunger levels went up as did their cravings for sugary, high-carb snacks. Although the experts are still arguing about sleeps role in weight management, it is now recommended, if you are on a weight control, plan to get a few extra hours of sleep a week especially if you log six or less hours a night.
Also relaxing and getting plenty of sleep will boost you and your body’s efforts to control stress and emotions. Emotional eating is the number one reason many people gain weight. By setting aside time to relax, you are letting your body and mind unwind from the pressures of life. Take a hot bath, read a good book, watch a funny movie, as with finding an activity that suits you, find a relaxation method that fits you.
I hope you will incorporate these seven tips into your daily life. If you do, you can be assured of having more energy, better self-esteem and a healthier lifestyle. Whether you plan on losing weight or if you just want to get in better shape, these tips should help you reach your goal.
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