Guest Post: Elspeth Polt on Healthy Lifestyle Changes and Eliminating the Word DIET!
Obesity in America has doubled in the past 30 years.
The average American consumes more than 3,800 calories a day. What’s wrong with that? For most of us that is roughly twice as much as we need!
So what is the solution? Diets? Workouts? If only it were that easy!
Obesity is an incredible problem in the world we live in and often the answer is not as simple as “workout” and “go on a diet”. Not to make excuses, but many people who are obese do not have the luxury of hiring a personal trainer, buying all fresh and organic produce, or have the time they feel they need to fully commit themselves.
BUT, where there is a will there is always a way.
From my experience as a personal trainer I feel that when approaching a large goal, such as losing a substantial amount of weight, it’s best to approach it as a lifestyle change rather than a ‘diet‘.
When I think of ‘lifestyle’, I think of something that I can fit into my routine and maintain.
The word ‘diet’ often makes people think of restrictions – so before they start they’re already thinking ‘I can’t do this!’.
Instead, I’ve written some guidelines and tips that are helpful when making a huge lifestyle change.
- Keep a food diary. Tracking what you eat in a journal is a great way to track your progress and evaluate your eating habits. The simple act of writing down what you eat can make you more aware of and accountable for how much you eat.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast does not save calories. Quite the opposite: Eating a healthy breakfast stops you from overloading on calories later in the day. People who skip breakfast report having less energy, so they’re less likely to burn calories through exercise or other physical activity.
- Add in fruits and veggies! Fruits in the am and veggies whenever! The extra fiber will help you feel full longer so you’re less likely to go for seconds or snack later. Plus, they are loaded with health benefits!
- Stick to a schedule: repetition makes habit. Eat a healthy breakfast, prepare and pack your meals for the day, workout at a similar time each day, etc…repetition and consistency are key.
- Know what you’re putting into your body. You can still eat healthy and enjoy a social life- just be aware of the food you’re eating when dining out. Be specific when you order – for example: ask for your food to be prepared with no butter, little oil, dressing on the side, etc… Don’t feel bad asking, you’re protecting your health!
- Weigh in weekly. This way you can make adjustments if the scale starts to creep back up. But don’t step on the scale too often. Your weight can fluctuate day to day, depending on how much water you drink and other factors, and you don’t want those upticks to discourage you.
- Make more meals at home. Meal prepping is a great way to stay on track, control what goes into your meals, saves money, and saves valuable time during the week. Also, meals prepared outside the home most often have more calories than home-cooked food does. What’s worse, the high-dose combination of sugar, salt and fat in many prepared foods creates a chemical addiction that drives us to eat more of the stuff, even when we’re not hungry. Cooking at home is the only way to control the ingredients in your meals.
- Banish temptation. When faced with a favorite food, even the most dedicated person can cave. So if cookies or chips are a trigger food for you, don’t keep them in the house!
- Slow down and enjoy your meal. Turn off the TV, sit down and enjoy the meal you’re eating- even if it’s just a snack. When we eat while watching TV or standing at the kitchen counter we chow down more and enjoy it less because we’re too distracted to taste the food or even know how much we’ve eaten.
Set a realistic goal. Losing one pound a week sounds doable, doesn’t it?
And that adds up to 52 pounds over a year. Losing weight slowly through behavior changes means you’re more likely to keep it off. Keep in mind that the extra pounds didn’t all come on in one month — they’re not going to come off that quickly, either. Stay positive!
ISSA, Youbeauty.com, Livestrong.com, WebMd, AFAA