Weight Loss with HEALTHeME

Weight loss and good health made simple

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ABCs of Weight Loss

ABCs of weight loss.

When you choose to lose weight, you'll face inconveniences like giving up T.V. time or waking up earlier to make room in your day to exercise. Here's some tips to make it bearable!

Losing weight, in theory, is a pretty simple concept: burn more calories than you consume and you’re well on your way to shedding those unwanted pounds. In reality, losing weight and maintaining that weight loss takes sacrifice. Let me be clear about the fact that whether you make the sacrifices to improve your health or you are following a less than healthy lifestyle, which puts you at risk for developing serious diseases, you are still making sacrifices.  The sacrifices you'll make by not following the healthy road are much more serious: frequent doctors visits, missed days at work, trips to the pharmacy to get medications, and maybe even dealing with frequent finger sticks and insulin injections – all of which are consequences of diseases that are commonly associated with obesity.
Do I have your attention now? If the health-related consequences of not making your health a priority sound like a bigger inconvenience than making a few sacrifices to improve your health, then read on.

 Here are 5 best sacrifices to make for weight loss (although maybe a little inconvenient):
  1. Cook at home. I realize that you’re busy and between work, helping kids with homework, and taxiing your family around, it might seem like the drive-thru is the answer to your prayers. Consistently making dinner at home and eating at the dinner table may seem like a big inconvenience. But, studies show this is key to improving your health. According to one study, cooking at home leads people to make and eat healthier foods and those who cook at home experience more positive emotions. Plus, by cooking at home, you can control exactly how much sodium and fat is in your food. Try making a large batch of a meal so you’ll have on-the-go leftovers. Or, cook several meals over the weekend and freeze individual servings for healthy meals you can just heat up on busy days.
  2. Exercise regularly. OK, I know carving out time in your schedule to exercise is a little like reading a “Where’s Waldo” book. But finding the time to get active may be the healthy life magic bullet. Researchers in a 2011 study found that exercising just 20 minutes 3 times per week can cut your risk for developing type II diabetes by over 30%. That’s just 60 minutes of exercise per week, folks! When you leave your house for the day, take your sneakers with you so you will be ready to get moving when a free moment presents itself.
  3. Track your food. According to one study, the study participants who tracked what they ate on a daily basis lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t track their diet. If you want to lose weight and improve your health, taking a few minutes each day to update your food log will make you more aware of what you’re eating and where those extra calories might be sneaking in.
  4. Turn off your laptop and cell phone before bed. Who doesn’t want to wake up feeling well rested and ready for the day? If you’re burning the midnight oil texting, typing, and checking out Facebook, you might be in for a restless night. One study found that interactive technology, like laptops, cell phones, and video games, not only affect the quality and quantity of sleep you get at night, but they are bigger sleep busters than falling asleep while watching your favorite late-night show on T.V. So, try setting a bed time and turn off all technology (especially laptops, cell phones, and video games) at least 30 minutes before you want to hit the sack.
  5. Make (and eat) breakfast every morning. Mom may have been right in saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. And grabbing a Pop-Tart on your way out the door is not gonna do the trick! Not only are most on-the-go breakfasts loaded with sugar, they also lack a major breakfast must-have: protein. According to a 2011 study, eating a balanced breakfast that includes protein, can reduce cravings and decrease overeating, which can help you stay on track the rest of the day. Start your day with a true breakfast of champions and include high protein foods like egg whites or Greek yogurt.
Pick just one thing that will lead to weight loss and you can start to incorporate into your daily life. As you succeed in that one thing, you will find the confidence and the time to add another, and another, and another. As the Chinese proverb reminds us, “One step at a time is good walking.”