There's no shortage of advice on nutrition, fitness and healthy living out there. With so many diet fads, health gurus, fitness regimes and wellness practices, it’s difficult for people to know what is right for them, those they love and their community at large. Hectic schedules and busy lifestyles, among other things, can make getting in shape seem like a daunting task, but a few simple strategies can shift this from an impossible chore to an achievable goal. As a leader in your community, spread the word on the importance of getting in shape and encourage community wellness.
Are You Ready to Change?
First and foremost, determine your true level of desire to change. Not everyone is at the same starting point when it comes to changing lifestyle behaviors. Are you willing to give up habits that hurt (e.g., smoking, overeating, not exercising at all)? Or are you just thinking about changing and you’re not quite ready to make the leap?
3 Tips to Success
For the healthiest and most effective get-in-shape weight-loss plan, consider combining these next three tips.
1. Eat Fewer Calories
You don’t have to have a structured diet to build healthy eating habits. Try:
• Educating yourself about the nutritional content of the foods you eat and the beverages you drink. Read food labels. Stay away from items that list sugar as the first or second ingredient.
• Choosing boiled, baked, steamed and poached foods over fried, sautéed and breaded foods.
• Cutting down your sugar intake. You can train your palate to enjoy things that are less sweet.
QuickTip: Check out the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for more guidance on choosing healthy foods and beverages.
2. Get Moving
The basic principle is simple: The more you move, the more you lose. Being physically active will help you lose weight and keep it off. It will also boost your metabolism, improve your mood, motivate you, help you sleep better and manage stress. Find ways to move more throughout the day: aim for 30-60 minutes of daily exercise. If working out alone isn’t appealing, find a workout partner who can motivate you and hold you accountable.
3. Change Your Behavior
By using strategies to change negative choices and behaviors and switching up your routine, you can break old habits that hinder. Manage your environment and try substituting alternatives: replace a negative health behavior with a positive health behavior. Small substitutions here and there can have a big impact. Some examples:
• Bring a lunch from home instead of going out for lunch.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Pre-portion chips into small Ziploc bags or don’t buy chips at all.
Stay Committed and Motivated
Slips and lapses happen, but it’s how you react to them that matters. While successfully getting in shape, losing weight and keeping it off is extremely rewarding, your enthusiasm might fade over time or you might get bored. A few things you can do to get back on track:
• Change it up (Try a different exercise or a new meal)
• Create goals
• Celebrate your successes
QuickNote: Before you make any significant changes to your diet or exercise program, check with your health care provider. It’s advised that you consult with a nutritionist and visit ChooseMyPlate before pursuing a weight loss program.