- Get to know your Body
One size does not fit all. Before pursuing a weight loss program, educate yourself and learn how to identify credible sources. There are many weight loss programs advertised through the media, making claims that are not scientifically supported and can actually do more harm than good. Each person’s body is different, so falling for a program that claims to be a miracle, will most likely fail if it is not catered to each person’s body type. There are many factors that must be considered when pursuing a weight loss program, which includes:
- Stress level
- Body type and genetic potential
- General lifestyle factors, such as; daily activity level, environment, type of work, etc…
Most adults do not know their bodies very well because they have abused them most of their lives. Starting from birth, many parents teach their children to eat every piece of food on their plate, ignoring the child’s natural mechanism that tells them what and how much they need to eat. By the time children become adults, their natural mechanism that controls their appetite and cravings have become desensitized. When educating yourself about weight loss, this mechanism needs to retrained or developed.
- Food Journal
Nutrition is one of the key factors to successful weight loss. However, not all nutrition plans works for everyone. Despite the uncertainty and complexity, keeping a food journal is a consistent component of any nutrition program. Regardless of counting calories, recording what you eat helps to identify triggers that lead to bad habits. Triggers can be a specific kind of food, a stressful situation or mood, a social event, or a relationship. Food journals also help with consistency, which can be problematic if your nutrition is sporadic.
In regards to triggers, in the past ten years, fitness professionals taught that you could have a cheat day, allowing you to eat anything you want. The problem with having a cheat day is that it usually takes 2-3 days to get back on track, not to mention the surplus of calories consumed. The key for many people, is to make small changes over time to ensure that good habits develop.
- Find An activity You Love
We tend to stick to activities we enjoy. When it comes to exercise, there is no difference. Consistency will lead to success and have long term results. Fitness professionals and the media try to tell you that there are specific exercises you need to do that are more effective than others, which most likely will be true. However, if you don’t enjoy the activity, you will be less consistent. Think outside the box and you’ll find success. For example, gardening is an activity enjoyed by many, which includes many of the functional movements endorsed by fitness professionals.
- Set Goals
Goals are very important, which help to keep you going in the right direction. When setting goals, make them realistic and sustainable. Also, make short and long term goals. Short term goals could be a simple as drinking more water during the day. A long term goal would be improving your functional fitness and mobility for the future. You can set performance goals as well during your training sessions, such as completing a 5k or bench pressing 100 lbs, which helps to shift the focus from external to internal.
It’s important to have goals, but if you don’t have a plan, you will be shooting in the dark. Each time you exercise make sure you have a plan of action and make sure your plans are specific to your goals.
- Be Patient
Do not rush. Be patient and forgiving of yourself. It takes time to reinvent yourself. After all, it took you all your life to get your where you are today. Do not be discouraged with time because with consistency and courage, you will see changes. The worst thing you can do is allow guilt to prevent you from continuing your journey to a new well-being. When it comes to weight loss, losing weight very quickly is not always healthy. It’s better to lose 2 lbs per-week rather than ten lbs. I
The body needs sleep. Without sleep, you will wreck havoc on your metabolism and health. An good exercise program and nutrition plan is rendered ineffective with insufficient sleep and rest. Also, according to the National Sleep Foundation, there is a “greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation”.
- Reduce Stress
Reducing and controlling stress can not be emphasized enough. Many times stress can be the culprit keeping you from achieving your goals. Stress stimulates the adrenal gland to produce the hormone cortisol, which affects insulin and blood sugar. Stress also interrupts sleep, leading to appetite issues and a wrecked metabolism. Excessive cortisol in the body can cause a serious condition called, Cushing’s Syndrome, a disorder with symptoms that include weight gain, depression, high blood pressure and diabetes. Managing stress can be difficult because many times the stress could come from one’s career or relationships. Sometimes you may have to make a tough decision to leave certain situation behind.
- Drink plenty of water
Water helps to rid the body of toxins that are fat binding and prevent weight loss. Most of us do not drink enough water, so increasing water intake could have a positive effect. Many times losing weight may be temporary when fat binding toxins are lingering in the body. Water is the best metabolism supplement.
- Support System
Last but not least, you need a positive support system to help to accomplish your goals. Accountability is very important. It’s almost impossible to make changes when your family does not support you. Try to avoid people that make it difficult for you to achieve you goals. Some people hire personal trainers for accountability and motivation. Some people depend upon a role model.