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What is your Lifestyle?


While exercise is important, often the biggest weight loss changes come from how you eat. You want to make sure you burn more calories than you eat. Many people find greater success in making small changes over time.

I’m not a big believer in diets.  I believe diets are a temporary fix and a sure way to GAIN weight.  Instead, you need to focus on a “lifestyle.”  You need to be able to enjoy the foods you eat and know how to fuel your body properly.  You need to take control of your meals.  Here are a few tips:

  • Keep a food journal -  be aware of what you’re doing in the first place. Keep a food journal for a week and write everything down. You’ll be surprised at how many extra calories you eat and you’ll also be pleased to find small ways to cut calories without starving yourself.
  • Don’t skip meals. Many people drastically cut calories when they want fast weight loss and skipping meals is a popular choice. The problem is, this can actually backfire. Not only will you tend to eat more, you may actually slow down your metabolism which means your body is burning fewer calories.
  • Drink more water or tea. Staying hydrated will ward off fatigue and help you deal with hunger and tea is often a great way to curb your appetite.
  • Watch your portion sizes. This is always an obvious one when it comes to cutting calories and probably the most difficult one to follow. After all, what’s a portion size? One way to manage portion sizes is to use smaller plates and bowls – it’s an easy way to cut your portions without feeling like you’re missing out.
  • Eat high fiber foods like fruits and veggies. These foods fill you up without tons of calories.

You have a few tips under your belt, but now you need to figure out exactly how you’ll approach your new “lifestyle.”  Below are a few choices for how you can get started.

Follow a Structured Program – Most of us have followed a diet at one time or another and they can be helpful in at least teaching us healthier ways to eat. If you choose to follow a structured plan like Atkins or Weight Watchers, you’ll want to do some research first to find a program that’s right for you.

Make Small Changes in Your Current Lifestyle – With most diets, you cut your calories so much that you end up losing weight more quickly than you do with small changes. But, the nice thing is that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods, you don’t have to change how you eat overnight and the changes you make are more likely to be permanent.

Some ideas for making small, healthy changes:

Add healthier foods to your meals. It’s always easier to add to your meals rather than take a way. Instead of cutting out all the junkfood you eat, try adding something healthy to each meal and eat it first, before you eat anything else. Salads, fruit, whole grain bread or a glass of water are just a few ideas and you’ll find that filling up on the healthier stuff leaves less room for the junk.

Change one part of your eating – Another way to approach this is to choose one unhealthy food you eat and getting rid of it or finding a substitute. Put all your energy towards changing just that one bad habit and leave the rest alone…it’s much easier to give up that Coke or afternoon donut when you know everything else stays the same.

Eat out less – Just cutting out one or two nights of eating out can make a major difference in your waistline. When you cook your own meals, you know exactly what you’re eating, control how much you get and you can make sure the ingredients you use are good for you.

Try new foods and recipes -  Find healthy recipes that you can make and enjoy. Trying new things is the only way eating healthy can become a way of life, so experiment – watch the Food Network or pick up some recipe books at the library or bookstore. Invest in healthy eating and you may find you actually enjoy it.

As you can see, the components of a weight loss program are pretty simple – cardio, strength training and healthy eating.  If you’re looking for more hands-on guidance, you might consider working with a personal trainer, either face to face or online.

Remember that starting a weight loss or fitness program isn’t just a summertime event…nor is it just about losing weight and looking good in a bathing suit. For true, permanent changes, you also need a desire to live a healthier life. It’s that desire that helps you make the daily choices necessary for health, fitness and weight loss.

What’s your “Lifestyle?”









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