There is no doubt that what you eat has a substantial influence over your weight and wellness.If you want to get trim and healthy and then stay that way though, I urge you to throw away the fad diet guides and look at your lifestyle from a more holistic perspective.
The Difference Between a Diet and a Lifestyle Change
Perhaps you are already familiar with the “diet, weight-gain, diet” cycle. It’s an all-too-familiar pattern. When you embark upon a diet, you typically set yourself a target for weight loss. Then you begin following the diet guidelines and tracking your progress. Finally, one of two things tends to happen:
- You give up on the diet because you are not seeing the results you wish for or, because it’s simply forcing you to eat things you don’t want to eat day-in-day-out.
- You achieve your target for weight loss and then quit the diet. After all, most diets that claim fast results leave you pretty limited as to what you should or should not eat.
A lifestyle change can sound a little daunting, since it implies permanent change. However it’s not the same as being on a permanent diet. If you change your lifestyle to achieve health and wellness, you will make incremental changes in the things that you eat regularly. Additionally you will start doing more of some things, (like exercising), less of others (like comfort eating) and perhaps cutting some things out of your life altogether (like smoking, if you are currently a smoker).
By introducing habits focused on health and wellness and ridding yourself of less healthy habits, you will be able to attain and maintain a healthy weight, feel more fit and alive and forget about crash diets that just don’t work.
Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle
When you decide to take a lifestyle approach to weight loss and wellness, the first change to make, is in the way you think about what you are doing. Instead of simply thinking about losing weight, you need to think in terms of reducing cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure and ultimately, becoming fit. Trust me; by working towards those four things as objectives, you will achieve the weight loss you desire.When you are ready to begin, you will start to gradually introduce the following changes to your eating habits and other lifestyle aspects. Here are some of the key changes you will make:
Eat More Healthily: This means introducing lots of vegetables and fruit into your diet. You will also eat more lean meat and low-fat dairy foods (assuming you are not vegetarian) and stay mostly away from fast food. As an occasional treat though, you can still indulge in a steak, burger and fries or whatever food might be considered taboo if you were on one of those “guaranteed to lose weight fast” diets.
Become More Physically Active: This doesn’t mean you have to run marathons or pump iron at the gym regularly. There are dozens of ways to add physical activity to your daily routine, from taking regular brisk walks to learning yoga, Pilates or some form of dance. The trick is to find something active that you enjoy, as opposed to following some rigid exercise regimen.
Quit Smoking:This is perhaps one of the toughest habits to change, if you are a smoker. However, becoming a non-smoker is essential for a wellness lifestyle. Even if it’s not the first change you make, you will need to do it at some point.
Limiting Alcohol Intake: One alcoholic drink per day maximum, if you are female and two per day if you are male, is the objective for a change in drinking habits. Of course if you are already tea total, you don’t have to start having a daily alcoholic drink.
Get Sufficient Sleep: If you don’t get your eight hours of restful sleep per night, some of your other lifestyle changes will be harder to make, especially taking control of your food intake.
Adding Nutritional Supplements: Getting all the nutrients your body needs, directly from the food you eat, is sometimes easier said than done. Your lifestyle change might involve the addition of some nutritional supplements, depending on your circumstances. Some possible supplements to include in your program include vitamins A, B, C, D, E and calcium.
Manage Stress: Aside from being generally bad for your health, stress can be a big barrier to weight loss. Emotional eating is a habit formed by many people with high degrees of stress in their lives. Stress can also make it hard to focus and be successful in making healthy lifestyle choices. That’s why stress management is a habit to develop as part of your lifestyle change. Treating yourself to some regular stress-busting therapy, such as massage therapy, is also a great way to get a feel-good boost and keep you motivated.
No Need to Go it Alone
Having a support network is very important when making lifestyle changes. With the right people to help you stay on track, you will find it easier to get though those tough times when weight loss isn’t as fast as you’d like or when trying to kick some of your unhealthy habits. Friends and family are invaluable for supporting you in your efforts, as are organized support groups.
Professionals such as dieticians, doctors and psychologists too, can be very strong sources of support. For example, here at Orange County Wellness Physicians Medical Center, our weight loss program takes a step-by-step approach, helping you change your lifestyle and break the “diet, weight-gain, diet” cycle. We offer support from a highly professional team of weight loss experts along with support group meetings for you to share progress with your peers. To find out more about our personalized and tailored weight loss program, pay a visit to www.ocwellnessphysicians.com or call us for a consultation at 866-303-9355.