Have recent years and recent stresses added a few extra pounds to your body? When you are ready to get to your optimal body weight, start by increasing your physical activity and then consider changes to your diet.
Physical activity, or exercise, is the smartest way to a healthy body. Activities such as bicycling burn calories and increase lean body mass. Exercise elevates mood-enhancing hormones and has even been shown to decrease mild depression. Once exercise becomes a daily part of your life, you will simply feel better, regardless of your current weight.
When you have established your routine of regular exercise then you can consider making healthful changes to your diet. Sit down and evaluate your current diet. Write down the foods that you normally eat within a 24-hour period, including both meals and snacks. Do you see any roadblocks to weight loss?
- skip breakfast and overeat late night.
- eat fast food most days.
- raid the vending machine each afternoon at work.
If this is the case, the next step is to formulate a plan to deal with these issues.
- Skipping breakfast means your body goes without food for as much as 16 hours. By the time you eat your body is screaming out for nourishment, leading to a lack of control and overeating. Studies have shown that breakfast eaters take in fewer calories over a day’s time. Make breakfast a daily habit, keeping quick and healthy foods like fruit, cereal, yogurt and whole grain breads on hand.
- If fast food is a reality in your life, make the healthiest choices available. Forgo the French fries and keep your sandwich simple by skipping the special sauce and bacon.
- Anticipate your mid-afternoon cravings and keep healthful snacks on hand. Better yet, try a 10-minute walk around the office to refresh your body and mind.
As you make changes to your diet, remember that the key to a healthy diet is increasing whole foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other foods that are naturally whole and unprocessed) and decreasing processed foods. When you anticipate and remove roadblocks to healthy eating, weight loss will follow.