I don’t know about you, but September hit hard! And it’s almost October! Any month of the year is a good month to begin making healthy choices in your life. Better to set up a good routine now, before the holidays sneak up on you. Small changes will result in improved health – lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, lower disease risk. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, think about the positives. Think about the healthy food you’ll add to your diet. Think about how good a walk out in the fresh air will feel.
Try not to fall into these diet traps:
- Don’t set unrealistic goals. If you haven’t exercised in fifteen years, don’t say “Okay, next week I’m going to walk 10 miles, do a spin class, and lift weights for 30 minutes every day!” Your body won’t handle it, nor like it. The negative body messages (excessive soreness, heavy breathing) will get you down.
- Don’t quit eating. If you go on a crash diet, you will lower your metabolic rate. This will cause you to burn fewer calories. Your goal is to burn more calories.
- Don’t say: “I’m going on a diet” Realize that you can both enjoy your favorite foods, but also try some new ones. You simply have to change some habits related to your eating.
- Don’t give yourself a time limit. Saying “I will lose 15 pounds by Christmas” will only make you anxious and pressured to lead a miserable life for the next 3 months.
- Don’t under or over-estimate exercise. Both an aerobic workout (one that increases your heart rate) and weight bearing exercise is important to long term weight loss and management, but you have to reduce calories too.
- Don’t underestimate the need for support. Having a good friend to meet you for your walk or exercise class is priceless. This can keep you both committed. You may even consider a personal trainer to get you started and keep you on track.
Work on doing this:
- Set realistic goals. Work on small goals, 2-3 at a time. Say “I will eat 2 pieces of fruit or have a yogurt every day” and “I will take a 20 minute walk, and stretch afterward, 3-4 days a week.” Gradually working on goals leads to success and confidence. Keep a list, and check things off.
- Eat! You have to eat to lose weight. Digestion burns calories, so shoot for 3 small meals with 2-3 healthy snacks in between. Choose well, choose foods naturally high in fiber, with volume, and eat often.
- Enjoy eating. Take your time when you eat, enjoy every bite. Splurge on small portions of your favorites without guilt.
- Be patient. Weight loss takes time. If you begin making better choices in your diet, and exercise regularly, you will absolutely see results. Life happens in between. Your daughter may get married, you may go on vacation, and a holiday may come up. These are times to enjoy, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be in control. Enjoy special times then resume your best habits the next day.
- Stay positive. Think about what you are doing, not just the long-term results. Focus on the healthy dietary changes you are making and the exercise you have added to your lifestyle.