As of April 2012, according to the Center for Disease Control, more than one-third of Americans are considered to be overweight and/or obese. The obesity rate continues to climb and is expected to reach pandemic levels by the year 2020. It is crucial that we try to avoid this possible scenario by educating Americans about the health risk associated with being overweight and/or obese.
Below is a list of the top most common diseases that are associated with obesity:
- heart disease
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
By losing the extra pounds and maintaining a healthy weight we can possibly prevent these diseases altogether.
The question is how best to lose the extra weight? Unfortunately, the “quick fix” programs that offer a rapid weight loss are often effective but the results are typically only temporary. Usually these “quick fix” weight loss programs include pills, supplements, or special dietary shakes that are not intended for long term use.
The best way to obtain lifetime weight loss results is to lose the extra pounds in a healthy way. It is important to remember that it took some time to add the extra weight and so you will need to expect that it will take some time to shed the unwanted pounds. It is important to set realistic goals for yourself in order to avoid becoming discouraged and frustrated on your weight loss journey. Below are 8 tips for losing weight the healthy way:
- Change your mindset: instead of being on a “diet” implement a lifestyle change.
Consider the changes you are making as permanent. Losing weight is hard work and you don’t want to find yourself in a similar position down the road. By permanently changing the way you eat you will avoid regaining the weight you worked so hard to lose. Thus avoiding becoming a “yo-yo-dieter.” Keep in mind food is fuel for your body. Therefore choose to ingest high quality and nutrient rich food in order to keep your body running as it should.
- Start your Morning off right: eat a healthy breakfast.
Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day because it helps to jump-start your metabolism. By starting your day with breakfast your body begins to metabolize that food and continues to burn fat throughout the day.
- Do not starve yourself: eat small, healthy, frequent meals throughout the day.
Doctors and nutritionist suggest five small meals throughout the day instead of three regular meals. This also increases your metabolism and make calories burn faster. These frequent meals will also burn calories faster because of the increase in your body’s metabolism.
- Set a realistic weight loss goal: by setting a goal that is realistic you won’t be setting yourself up for failure.
As stated earlier make sure to allow yourself time to drop the unwanted pounds, nothing worthwhile will happen overnight. Set a realistic goal and mark small victories along the way. Remember to change your mindset, you are making a lifestyle change, you are on a journey not just a short term diet.
- Drink Water: a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day is the recommended intake amount.
In order for your body to burn fat it needs an adequate amount of water. Water keeps the body’s cells hydrated and healthy. Water can also aid in making you to feel satisfied. Try drinking a full glass of water prior to a meal to help prevent overeating, the water will make you feel fuller faster.6. Avoid excess: especially sugar and carbohydrates.
Include vegetables and fruit with every meal and keep servings of bread, rice or pasta to the minimum. For main dishes include lean meat and protein rich foods. Sweets and sugary drinks should be enjoyed only once-in-a-while as a special treat and not automatically included with every meal.
- Monitor and reduce your fat intake: and keep in mind that not all fats are created equal.
There are some fats that are considered healthy and can be easily integrated into your diet. Cooking with olive, peanut or canola oil is a good way to do this. Fish like Tuna, Salmon or Mackerel have omega-3 fats in them which are good for the heart.
- Get Moving: exercise is vital.
By making some small changes in your daily schedule you can easily increase your overall activity level. Take the stairs to your office instead of the elevator, park your car away from the entrance at work, the grocery store or mall.
Learn a new sport or hobby-take ice skating lessons, jog around your neighborhood before breakfast, take some yoga classes through your Park District. Choose an activity that you know you will enjoy and it will make exercising easier to integrate into your lifestyle as an activity to look forward to rather than something you dread having to do.
It doesn’t matter if you have to lose 15 or 50 pounds by setting realistic goals for yourself and starting out slow you are setting yourself up for success. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get adequate sleep and engage in moderate exercise and you will be well on your way to a healthier you both physically and mentally.