Most of us have tried to lose weight at one time or another. For some of us, it seems like one ongoing diet during our lifetime. If you've been struggling with your weight, don’t give up! Being at your optimal weight or even losing a few pounds can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk for certain diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease, help you feel better, and be able to fit back into that favorite pair of jeans, the dress you love or really nice suit.
Reasons You Haven't Been Able to Lose Weight
1. You’re not as active as you used to be
2. You love your diet soda
3. You mainly eat your meals in restaurants or processed foods at home
4. You don’t have a support system
5. You don’t get enough sleep
What You Can Do About It
Take baby steps to increase your activity level
– Instead of sitting at your desk all day at work. Get outside during your lunch hour for a 10-15 minute walk.
– Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
– Park your car a little further away instead of trying to get the closest spot.
– Aim for 3-5 days a week of exercise for at least 30 minutes each workout. Include 2-3 days of strength training or weight bearing exercise. Walking is a wonderful way to get moving.
Ditch the diet soda
– No calories, no weight gain, right? Sorry, but research has shown that there’s a possible link between artificial sweetener consumption and weight gain. It can actually be addicting, causing you to drink more. Also, the sweeteners can increase your appetite, which leads you to eat more.
– Try a substitute like water with lemon juice or if you like the fizz, seltzer water with juice from a lemon, lime or orange can be really refreshing. After breaking your addiction to sweeteners, you’ll realize that you don’t even crave sodas like you used to.
Get back to cooking at home
– Eating a majority of your meals at home, can really help with weight loss. There are a lot of hidden fats and sodium in restaurant food, even if it sounds healthy. Also, the portion sizes are much larger than we should be eating. Check the online menu for nutritional information before going, to at least try to make healthier choices. And take half your meal home to eat the next day or split it with someone.
– We are a society of convenience and we all have very busy lives. However, by eating processed foods that come in a bag or a box, they are often full of ingredients we can’t pronounce, contain artificial flavors and colors, and have very little nutritional value.
– Pick out fun recipes and make it a family activity to cook together.
– Fill your plate with mostly natural foods such as fruits and vegetables (organic if possible) and protein such as chicken or fish (hormone free is preferred). Reduce your red meat consumption. Ideally, your plate should be ½ vegetables, ¼ lean protein and ¼ starch, such as a sweet potato or whole grain roll.
– Let your friends and family know that you’re trying to lose weight and ask for help.
– Go out for walks or to the gym with friends instead of for a drink sometimes.
– Pick a friend or family member to be accountable to – let them know how often you plan to exercise during the week or check-in with each other once a week to talk about how it’s going and what the ups and downs are. It helps to get encouragement from someone who cares.
– Choose healthier options if you get together for a meal. Maybe ahi tuna or a salad with dressing on the side, instead of nachos or fried calamari.
Get your zzzzz’s
– Getting fewer than 5 hours of sleep a night can wreak havoc on your body. Sleep is important for your brain, your skin and for your weight as well. Research has indicated that a lack of sleep alters the digestive hormones that are responsible for hunger and fullness. Less sleep can lead to a loss of control over portion sizes the next day and an increase in cravings for sweets and carbohydrates, which can add to our weight.
– Try to get eight hours of sleep each night or at least 7 ½ . Your body will thank you!
Here’s a little weight loss humor. By the way, laughing is a good way to burn calories too!
“Doctor, I have metal fillings in my teeth. My refrigerator magnets keep pulling me into the kitchen. That's why I can't lose weight!”
By Nancy Goldstein, Certified Nutritional Consultant. Follow me on Twitter @NancyGoldstein4