Even though many people greet the new year with ironclad resolutions to lose weight and lead a healthier life, in reality many of them will become discouraged and deviate from the goal before March is over. Very often, it is the mismanagement of expectations that sets one up for failure and further compounds a feeling of hopelessness and resignation while the body continues to suffer. One of the biggest misconceptions of those seeking to improve their life is that it can be done quickly by following restrictive diets and forcing the body to lose weight at a rapid pace. It has been shown that in order to lose weight and incorporate healthier habits, it takes time and planning for that is essential to success.
Take for instance those diets that have one concentrating on eating protein exclusively. Whereas there is indeed some weight loss to be gained from this, it is not feasible to completely eliminate fruits and vegetables from one’s diet on a permanent basis. In the end, a rapid loss of weight and muscle mass may translate into precipitated weight gain in the long run when eating habits revert. So for those who want to lose weight, keep it off and lead an overall healthier life, here are some tips:
-Focus on changing your lifestyle, instead of only changing your eating habits-
what this means is that severely restricting the foods you eat, counting calories, carbs and fats can become tedious. Although important, it is more effective to train yourself to continuously make healthier choices as you go about your day. If you are used to leaving your house without eating breakfast, make sure to plan ahead and make a fruit smoothie to take with you in your commute. Or choose to have an egg white omelet instead of a doughnut. Make this a lifetime choice, not only for a few months. Introduce healthier food choices such as fruits and nuts and have them replace less healthy options gradually. Just because you are watching what you eat doesn’t mean it has to be bland and tasteless.
-Increase your physical activity in ways that make sense – many of us want to exercise for three hours every day at the crack of dawn, but do we really? The answer is probably not. Increasing physical activity is essential to achieving a healthier body. The benefits of exercise and the perils of being sedentary are well documented and everyone should strive to add physical activity to their daily routine. But it needs to make sense to you. If you work two jobs and have a husband and a child to care for, it may be unlikely that you will drive to the gym each day to work out. So download a video instead and exercise in your living room. Or take your child on a bike ride while you walk around your neighborhood. And if you fail to work out on one day don’t beat yourself up over it, just do it again the following day. Always set realistic goals and clear milestones to help you achieve them. You will find that the process will become a lot more palatable.
-Learn more about healthy living –
thankfully, the internet offers countless resources to help one lead a healthier life. Read up on topics such as the importance of eating healthy foods every couple of hours instead of eliminating meals, or incorporating more anti-oxidants in your day. You may also learn more about foods that yield the best health benefits, such as lentils and other legumes. The internet is also a great source for recipes that will take away the effort of planning and adding healthier dishes to your family’s dinner table. Many sites come complete with a shopping list for the week and cooking instructions!
Achieving a healthier body and lifestyle is easier said and done. It is for sure more of a marathon than a sprint, and one should plan accordingly. Setting measurable and tangible goals along the way is an incredible tool in the journey to the body of your dreams. Make sure you allow for a few mishaps here and there, but don’t lose sight of the goal. Resist the temptation to join the newest fad diet only to find yourself in the same predicament (or worse) in just a few months. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
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