Weight loss is a conundrum in many of our lives. It becomes part of our day to day, our way of thinking, topics of discussions, and often the cause of stressful decisions. The diet after diet, pill after pill, and new fads can become overwhelming, leading us to the question of which is best?
Benefits of Diet:
When you think of weight loss, you immediately think of the word “diet”. There are plenty of different fad diets, all proclaiming they work better than the last to help you shed off those pounds fast and easily. My question for you is, will you keep it off?
Taking in more calories than you need to sustain health and wellbeing can cause weight gain. Consuming fewer calories will help you lose weight. Many of these popular diets are very calorie-restrictive. They can help you limit those fatty, sugary, and processed foods that increase your calorie intake. People have succeeded in weight loss from these diets. However, more often than not, once people start eating and drinking those foods they have restricted, overconsumption may reoccur, and the weight will come right back on.
Working on the behaviors that cause you to consume those high-calorie foods is key. Make it part of your daily routine. Behavior change is not an easy road and can take time, but it is a road that can bring you the success that lasts.
The benefit of Exercise:
A healthy diet, in combination with regular exercise, is one of the best ways to manage your weight. When you are active, you burn calories. When you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. Regular physical activity will also help you maintain the weight loss you achieve.
Physical activity will also help to:
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Decrease risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and several forms of cancer
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone strength
- Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
To lose weight and keep it off, you will need a moderate to the high amount of physical activity. It is recommended to work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week.
Sounds like a lot, right?
The 150 minutes weekly can be broken down into 20 minutes 7 days a week or 30 minutes 5 days a week. Is time an issue? You can break those minutes down further to 2 or 3 10-minute sessions per day.
What do moderate- and vigorous-intensity mean?
Moderate: While performing the physical activity, your breathing and heart rate is noticeably faster, but you can still carry on a conversation.
- Walking briskly (a 15-minute mile).
- Light yard work (raking/bagging leaves or using a lawnmower).
- Light snow shoveling.
- Actively playing with children.
- Biking at a casual pace.
Vigorous: Your heart rate is increased substantially, and you are breathing too hard and fast to have a conversation.
- Swimming laps.
- Rollerblading/inline skating at a brisk pace.
- Cross-country skiing.
- Most competitive sports (football, basketball, or soccer).
- Jumping rope.
It is also important to perform resistant and muscle building activities to promote the production of lean muscle mass. It is recommended to aim for two days a week of either resistant band or weight training using free weights or even bodyweight. Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
The Road to Behavior Change
Consistency in your diet and exercise and SMART goal setting. These are the magic ingredients to achieve success in weight loss.
More often than not, people go on and off-track with their weight loss goals. This is the cause of inadequate progress. It is important to stay on track. Falling off the wagon will happen, but a person must get right back on and restart to continue on their way to success. Consistency is KEY.
How to do this?
Set SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Not just “I want to lose weight.” What you must ask yourself next is HOW? How will you reach these goals?
- I will exercise three times a week for 30 minutes.
- I will increase vegetables by adding salad four times a week at lunch
Start small and build it up. This is crucial to a lasting and successful weight loss.