New You: Healthy Body & Positive Ways To Lose Weight
One of the most common (and most difficult to keep) New Year’s resolutions, is to lose weight. Be it for a wedding, graduation or family reunion, many of us focus on a particular event or “end goal” that’s often a public occasion where we can bask in the compliments of family and friends. On the other hand, others see their weight loss as a private achievement, being able to run a half marathon, perform yoga poses and even just climbing the stairs at work without feeling out of breath.
Noticeable weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, or even in a few weeks. You should be aiming to lose only one to two pounds a week, any faster it could lead to other health issues. However, if you stick to a healthy eating plan, get plenty of exercise and drink lots of water you will eventually meet your goal. Properly losing weight is not a diet, think of it more as a lifestyle change for the better. By utilizing some of the easy tips below you’ll soon start to feel healthier, more alert, and much happier. While you’re in the process, always remember people love you for who you are, not your dress size!
Water Water, Everywhere
Water is super important when it comes to weight loss. Water flushes out your system, getting rid of any toxins; as well as helps to beat bloating caused by water retention. Just one glass of aqua will make you feel more focused, energetic and alert. In general you should try and drink between one to two liters of water every single day, that’s between six to eight large glasses. If you get tired of drinking plain water all the time, add a hint of lemon, lime or strawberry to jazz it up. Make sure that you carry a water bottle at all times and especially during exercise!
Ditch The Junk Food
Our bodies need many things to maintain optimal health. When it comes to food, the essential food groups are protein, fiber, vitamins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Most junk food is high in sodium, or large quantities of sugar (something our taste buds seem to love). We may get a temporary happy sugar high; but it’s short lived. It’s better to avoid temptation altogether by emptying your cupboards of sweets, sugary drinks, and chips. Stock up on low-fat snacks such as fresh fruit, unsweetened popcorn, nuts, pumpkin seeds and carrot sticks. This way, if you feel tempted, you’ll be eating something that benefits your body instead of consuming empty calories.
Follow The Five A Day Rule
Calories are important as they act as a balance sheet for the daily amount you should be eating. On average, the recommended daily calorie amount for men is roughly 2500 and for women it’s about 2000. A medium size packet of chips with 500 calories in it, is quite a significant proportion of your daily intake. However, obsessive calorie counting isn’t recommended either. Focus on eating plenty of fruit and vegetables as they’re high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and low in fat. Create a rainbow of healthy foods at each meal or make a healthy smoothie with fruits and veggies and you’ll be on your way to five a day!
Get Out There!
Swimming, dancing, tennis, running or hiking are all awesome forms of exercise and get you off the couch. Countless studies have shown the mental and physical benefits that regular exercise gives us. Along with helping aid weight loss, it also reduces your chances of diabetes, stroke, and even cancer, while raising our life expectancy. Exercise also lowers insomnia, boosts self-esteem and mood, eases depression, stress levels and your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Healthy, active adults, should aim to exercise at least three times a week, for a combined total of 150 minutes a week through different activities such as walking, cycling, sports, running, and gym workouts. Are you active enough? Think about where you could make some simple changes because exercise and weight loss are best buddies.
Treat Yourself To Food Free Rewards
Shopping trips, a visit to a hair salon, a weekend away at a luxury spa, or your favorite pampering treat are all great rewards when you make your goals. When you’ve made real progress, gift yourself with non food items, your mind will no longer associate treats with junk food. Many of us after a long, stressful or tiring day reach for something sweet, salty or fattening to cheer us up which fosters an unhealthy relationship with food.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Skipping breakfast can significantly reduce your chances of successful, long-lasting weight loss. A good, healthy breakfast such as oatmeal, a banana with peanut butter on whole grain toast and a small glass of fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit juice has much-needed vitamins, fiber, and energy to help you start your day right. Some people think that by skipping meals they can lose weight quicker. The opposite is true – your body will store fat and increase your hunger levels, leading you to snack much more than had you eaten a balanced breakfast.
Cut Back On The Booze
The problem with alcohol is even though we might be aware of how many calories are in one glass of Chardonnay, we don’t know how many calories each glass can hold. Many restaurants and bars pour a much bigger glass than the standard five ounces. A glass of wine can easily have the same amount as a small chocolate bar, while a pint of beer equals roughly the same calorie count as a snack bag of chips. To reduce your calories when drinking, alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water, and have a healthy meal before you go out to head off any midnight munchies or after party visits to fast food places.
Fiber is the perfect food for when you’re trying to achieve weight loss as it helps keep you fuller for longer as well as giving you those all important vitamins and minerals. Fiber is found in plant-based foods such as fruit and veggies, oats, whole grain bread, brown rice, beans, peas, and lentils. A high fiber diet not only keeps you regular and improves digestion; but also lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Starchy foods like potatoes, with their skins on, contain good amounts of fiber and even though carbohydrates have a bit of a bad reputation, they contain vital vitamins, calcium, and iron that the human body needs. By eating healthy carbohydrates along with all of the other healthy foods mentioned, you’ll be well on the way to achieving a balanced diet.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!