People have tried all sorts of methods to lose weight and improve their health, though some have proven to be more successful than others. Maintaining a healthy weight can have a plethora of health benefits, both physically and emotionally. The improvements to the immune system and other bodily functions, coupled with increases in mood, self-esteem, and energy make losing weight an excellent way to improve your health. People who are already comfortable with their weight, however, can still benefit from partaking in some of these healthy tips and practices. Here is a basic guideline for losing weight and keeping your health in check.
- Set goals
It is important to set realistic goals when losing weight. There are several key factors to consider. How much weight do you want to lose? How long will it take, realistically? How will you hold yourself accountable? After setting your goals, you can begin structuring a fitness plan that will suit your individual needs.
- No need to rush
According to the CDC (2015), people who drop weight slowly and steadily, around 1-2 pounds per week, are more likely to keep the weight off in the long run. Lasting weight loss is not achieved by just completing a diet or a program; it requires lifestyle changes that will have to be implemented for the long-term.
- Exercise regularly
This may sound daunting for someone who is not a very active person, but aim to create an exercise routine that meets your individual needs and abilities. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym or obsessively do cardio in order to lose weight. Simply balancing a healthy diet and a little exercise can work wonders for your health and your waistline. While it may be difficult for people who are busy or who lead rather sedentary lives to find the time and motivation to get out and exercise, it is important to keep in mind that any physical activity is better than none. Try to find fun ways to stay active (whether it’s yoga, biking, swimming, etc.) and ask your friends to join in as you will be able to hold one another accountable. Also, you are more likely to stay committed to your routine if you are doing something that you actually enjoy.
- Drink lots of water
Water plays many roles in the body and staying hydrated allows us to function at peak performance. Although 4-6 cups of water a day is the general rule for healthy people, the required amount of water differs from person to person (Harvard Health Publications, 2016). Signs of dehydration include weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, and dark urine. Drinking enough water will allow your body to carry out many of its necessary functions and serve to keep you energized. Plus, its a great alternative to sugary alternatives that can lead to weight gain. The H2OPal Smart Bottle is a great tool for tracking your daily hydration levels and it connects to your iPhone.
- Smart snacking
It is perfectly fine to eat a snack if you are hungry, but try to opt for healthier choices. Many vegetables, for example, are loaded with vitamins and have very few calories, making them excellent snack options if you are feeling hungry. Avoid snacks that are loaded with sugar and calories. Sugary snacks, especially those with processed sugar, will give you a temporary boost in energy that wears off after a short while. These processed sugars metabolize as fat if they are not used up as energy, so it is better to avoid them in the first place.
- Track your progress
Although good old-fashioned pen and paper works just fine, there are several ways to track your progress. Choose the way that works best for you and monitor your performance. Tracking your results can keep you motivated and allow you to continue setting goals as well. With the advent of cell phones, there are now several applications dedicated specifically to the purpose of tracking your exercise and diet. MyFitnessPal is an excellent iPhone application for people who want to track their progress.
- Get enough sleep
Sleep gives the body a chance to recover, so it is important not to overlook. Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night can help you feel energized and assist in losing weight. Sleep deprivation can also increase hunger, slow down the metabolism, and lead to overeating. If you are not getting enough sleep, work on adjusting your sleep schedule and start logging the hours you sleep.
Have you been trying lose weight? Let us know what methods have worked best for you.