America’s war with weight has hit a record high — nearly 40 percent of American adults are obese. Larger portion sizes, lack of activity and confusing messages are among the reasons for the spike. When it comes to battling this epidemic, it’s all about going back to the basics. While that may be easier said than done, no fad diet can replace the lifestyle changes necessary to shed pounds and live a healthy life for the long-term. Here’s how to get back on track so you can start feeling like your best self.
Make Healthy Eating Fun
Sure, you know cucumber slices are healthier than potato chips, but the trick is breaking the habit. Labeling foods as either “good” or “bad” isn’t a healthy way to look at food from a mental perspective, so consider following the 80/20 plan of eating nutritiously 80 percent of the time, but leaving room to splurge on the remaining 20 percent. This can be a helpful approach as trying to eat like an angel 100 percent of the time — even if you have a lot of weight to lose — is only liable to backfire and cause you to overeat. To get yourself excited about preparing and eating nutritious foods, take up a cooking class or download a healthy recipe app. Once you see that you can lose weight without having to subject yourself to bowls of kale on the daily, you’ll be more apt to stay on track. Make sure you invest in a good knife set so you can safely and effectively cut up all those fruits and veggies. For reviews on knife sets, see Family Living Today.
Find A Workout You Enjoy
The U.S. government suggests that adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity activity (or a combination of both) per week, yet studies indicate that a whopping 80 percent of Americans don’t get enough exercise. Lack of time or motivation are among the top two reasons why people aren’t lacing up their sneakers, but physical fitness is an absolute must when it comes to weight loss and overall health.
Don’t force yourself to do the latest fad workout if you absolutely detest it as you’ll never stick with it. Determine whether or not you are a solo exerciser, or prefer team sports or group classes — or a combination of all three. Sign up for a race or join a league to help you stay motivated. If time is of the essence, set up a home gym with basic equipment such as dumbbells, adjustable resistance bands, a BOSU balance trainer and a yoga mat. This way you can roll out of bed in the morning and squeeze in a workout before work — or after if that’s when you’re more motivated.
Get Enough Sleep
Research links inadequate sleep to obesity, so there’s never been a better reason to get enough shut eye. Lack of sleep adversely affects the secretion of the hormones responsible for increasing appetite and letting the body know when it’s had enough to eat, thus prompting an elevated food intake. Not to mention, when you don’t get enough rest, it’s likely that you won’t feel like working out. Establish a bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it — even on the weekends. Make sure your bedroom is clutter-free as that can contribute to anxiety. Invest in quality pillows and bedding (enhance with an aromatherapy mist) and consider playing ambient music such as crashing waves or a rainstorm to help calm your mind.
If you have any current mental health issues such as depression, make sure you’re continuing to address them while on your weight-loss journey. In many cases, depression and obesity are linked, so becoming healthier in body and mind can actually be a helpful form of treatment. Remember that losing weight for the long-term is a marathon, not a sprint, so prepare yourself for any slip-ups.
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Editor’s Note: We came across a great resource to consider checking out in addition to this article called, Obesity: What It Really Is, The Risks, and How to Combat It.