Healthy habits for lifelong weight loss

February 26, 2012

Exercise, Food, Goals, Health, Weight issues

Many ultimately regain the weight they worked so hard to lose because weight loss is a matter of lifestyle.

by Christina Jordan — 

If losing weight and keeping it off is simply a matter of cutting back on what you eat and increasing your amount of exercise, then why do millions of Americans chronically battle the extra pounds? Many ultimately regain the weight they worked so hard to lose because weight loss is a matter of lifestyle. And, if you do not adopt the healthy habits necessary to sustain your weight loss, you can backslide into overweight and obesity.

Here are some helpful tips from Dr. Suzanne Bentz, a weight-loss doctor, that are aimed at helping you create a healthy lifestyle that will improve your chances for successful weight loss. They might seem like common sense, but many people neglect these simple habits and end up struggling to succeed.

1. Watch your portions — Portion control is a key factor for Americans pursuing weight loss. Piling food onto your plate can make you feel pressured to eat it all. Start with small portions and go back for (a little) more if you are still hungry. Keep in mind that your stomach will grumble early on, until it has shrunk to adapt to the smaller meals you are now eating.

2.  Drink more water — One of the best weight-loss secrets is to ditch the sodas and stick to water. Experts say you should drink approximately eight to 10 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and healthy. Instead of turning to calorie-laden or sugar-rich drinks, grab a refreshing glass of water. In addition to flushing toxins out of your system, drinking water encourages you to build muscle and curbs sugar cravings.

3. Eat your vegetables first — Vegetables contain fiber and bulk, but few calories. By choosing them first, you might eat less of any fatty or high-calorie items on your plate.

4. Do not skip meals — Skipping meals might sound like a good idea for losing weight, but it actually undermines your plan. Your body thinks it is being starved and starts storing fat in an attempt to store energy away for later. On top of that, you are likely to be even hungrier for your next meal and eat far more than you would have otherwise. The best course for lifelong weight loss is to eat three small meals, with two or three snacks in between.

5. Incorporate weights into a light workout — One great way to maximize the amount of fat you are burning is to add a resistance program to your workout routine. Weight training will not only tone your physique, but will also strengthen your body and improve your general health. Lifting weights will burn calories and fat more quickly than traditional exercising, and it will boost your metabolism.

6. Choose protein — Choose protein-laden foods for boosting your metabolism and enabling your body to burn fat rapidly. In addition to burning fat, consuming a protein-enriched diet will help you maintain lean muscle mass. Take great care to select proteins that are low in fat, so you do not consume extra calories.

7. Switch to healthy snacks — Swap out the high-calorie or high-fat snacks in your diet for healthier alternatives. Fruits, low-fat cheese, low-fat cottage cheese and fresh vegetables are good options. Create snacks that combine carbohydrates and proteins, like string cheese with apple slices, as these will make you feel full longer.

8. Mix it up — Choosing to engage in a variety of quality exercises will retain your interest and best allow you to maintain your goal weight. Instead of doing the same exercises each day, mix it up. Opt to swim laps one day, jog another and bike the next. Rotating your activities will not only allow you to experience a variety of athletics, but it will also allow you to better tone your body and keep you interested for a lifetime.

9. Get professional advice — When you have seen few or no results in your weight-loss program despite living a healthy lifestyle, it may be time to consult a professional. A weight-loss doctor should be able to determine why you are not losing weight. There are a number of different reasons that could explain the problem, such as hormonal or medication-related issues. Several weight-loss options are available to choose from, so do your research and find a doctor that best fits your needs.

10. Try a low GI diet — A low GI diet is an excellent method of losing weight quickly and keeping it off for a lifetime. You consume foods with low rankings on the Glycemic Index. These foods are nutritious and will aid your body in burning fats and calories at a quicker pace. This diet includes many of your favorite fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and grain products. It is easy to follow and encourages individuals to obtain their goal weight without starvation.

Always remember the time-tested saying, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Today is, in fact, the best day to start living healthily. Even if you have a lot of weight to lose, now is the best time to seek help. All your efforts will be well worth it and, in the end, you will be proud of the physique you have worked so hard to achieve.

The key is to get started and stick to your goals. Remember, the sooner you begin, the sooner you will start seeing results.

 

Christina Jordan is the assistant director of marketing and public relations for Red Mountain MedSpa with locations in Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz. www.redmountainmedspa.com or 480-991-4159.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 3, June/July 2010.

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