Face it… fad diets, diet pills and extreme calorie restriction has never worked for anyone! Ever noticed that almost all of the contestants on NBC’s The Biggest Loser regain their weight back after the show! That’s because the key to losing weight is taking small steps and enjoying a number of flavorful, healthy foods, along with moderate exercise. That’s right, you don’t have to starve yourself, or spend 4-hours a day at the gym to lose weight; but you do need to develop smarter diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits. While cultivating that virtue isn’t exactly painless, it may help to know that adopting a lifestyle of many small healthy habits helps to keep weight off, which generally gets easier over time. In fact, a study recently published in Obesity Research, found that maintaining weight loss required less effort as time went on for people who had lost 30+ pounds, and kept it off for at least two years. Focus on these small healthy habits as a start to being more health conscious.
- Consume a colorful diet – Color your plate with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, lean meats and fish. Sauté your vegetables in garlic and olive oil, but stay away from margarine/butter substitutes. Increase your consumption of lean protein and flavor up your dish with a variety of spices such as cumin or rosemary (shown to have many health benefits). The more color, the better!
- Exercise – Take the stairs instead of the elevator, sign up for a community or group sport, take a yoga course, or try to walk more places! Get a personal trainer or try doing 45 minutes at the gym 3 times a week with a friend over lunch break. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re up and active. Make exercise social and fun… you’ll be more likely to stick with it! People who are active, social, and less stressed are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.
- Take a daily national brand multivitamin – new research shows that daily multivitamin use may decrease your risk of cancer and enhance your short-term memory. While a daily multivitamin won’t help you lose weight, it will help to fill nutrient gaps where you might fall short! Think of a daily multivitamin as a nutrition insurance plan. Talk to your healthcare provider about what type of multivitamin is right for you, as several varieties exist for individuals of all genders and life stages.
- Cut back on the refined carbs (white rice, bread and products with added sugar) and eat more whole grains (brown rice and whole grain bread). Hint – many low-fat products, such as diet bars and cereals contain a lot of added sugar.
- Try a flavored vodka soda (stay away from tonic water) on the weekend, or better yet, a glass of red wine instead of sugary drinks such as margaritas, daiquiris and drinks that use flavored syrup! Numerous studies have shown beneficial effects of moderate consumption (not overconsumption) of red wine on the cardiovascular system.
- Eat several small meals throughout the day. A handful of nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, etc.) makes a great heart healthy snack!
- Increase your intake of fiber (through the diet and/or supplements)… its known to help with satiety, lowers bad cholesterol, and increases GI regularity.
- Drink lots of water and 3 cups of low/non-fat milk per day, instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Drinking a glass of water or low/nonfat milk before you eat helps you eat less. Milk is the number one source of calcium in the diet; it’s important for building and maintaining strong bones during all stages of life.
- Don’t spend a tremendous amount of effort trying to cut salt (i.e. sodium) from your diet (that’s not suggesting you go overboard). Instead, try choosing foods that are good sources of potassium, like sweet potatoes, coconut water, white beans, bananas, dates, clams, and low/non-fat yogurt. Most individuals consume too much sodium and not enough potassium (both of these essential nutrients need to be kept in balance).
- Don’t go on an extreme starvation or fad diet! They never work and most individuals typically end up gaining back even more weight. Focus on being healthy, enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables, and take small steps for big changes in the long term.
19 Apr 2017