How do you plan to lose weight?
Losing weight, gaining weight or maintaining a healthy weight can be a difficult task. However, if you learn to eat healthy and exercise regularly, and you train your body to accept that - instead of a daily task, it can become a "way of life."
Here is a simple 5 step plan that can help you learn how to live a healthier life:
1. Get into a Healthy Eating Mindset:
If you are going to lose weight or gain weight you must believe that you can do it. If you are discouraged, you will not be able to do it. You must think, I CAN LOSE WEIGHT. I WILL LOSE WEIGHT. I WILL GET HEALTHY STARTING RIGHT NOW!
This may seem a little over the top - but it's not. You need to get yourself into a healthy mindset. You need to give yourself positive reinforcement and pump yourself up.
You may need some help to get into a healthy mindset. It is not a weakness to admit that you need help. In order to be a healthy person, you have to admit that sometimes you just can't do it by yourself. You may need the help of a trained professional (a doctor, a dietitian, a personal trainer) or simply a support network of friendly people. If you have tried to do it on your own and have failed, then it is time to get the help that you need - start with your family physician.
Your support network can be composed of people that are available for you to talk to, they should be positive people and they should believe in YOU.
If you don't want to count on your friends and family - you may need to go out and pay for a diet plan - Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem are a few of the programs that also provide a support network of actual people you can talk to and find encouragement from.
2. Find Motivation, Set Goals, and Reward Yourself:
Motivation to lose weight or get healthier is going to be completely up to you! Whether you are just trying to lose a few pounds to go to your high school class reunion or you are trying to lose fifty pounds so that you can be a healthy person and play with your children ... You need to find a motivation.
Once you have a motivation, set attainable goals. Set goals that you know you can achieve. In other words, don't try to lose five pounds in one week. One or two pounds per week is a small, attainable goal.
Also, plan to reward yourself when you've reached your goal. For instance, if your motivation is to shed ten pounds to go to your class reunion, then reward yourself with a new outfit to wear to the reunion. Or, if your motivation is to lose 50 pounds so that you will feel healthier, plan one fun day going to an amusement park when you've reached your goal weight.
Take little steps. Motivate yourself using rewards every step of the way. Set goals and rewards. For instance, "When I lose 5 lbs, I will reward myself with a new pair of shoes."
Set your own rewards based on what you really, really want. Follow through - don't just say you will reward yourself and then conveniently forget because there are more important things to buy or do - GO THROUGH WITH YOUR REWARD PLAN.
3. Plan to Eat Healthy Foods and Healthy Serving Sizes:
The US government has provided us with a healthy "food pyramid." This plan works! So don't be afraid to use it. It's simple, too. If you are an adult, each day you should have the following allotment:
- Fats, Oils and Sweets - use sparingly.
- Milk, Yogurt, Cheese - 2 to 3 servings.
- Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Nuts, Eggs - 2 to 3 servings.
- Vegetables - 3 to 5 servings.
- Fruits - 2 to 3 servings.
- Grains, Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta - 6 to 11 servings.
6 to 11 servings is a wide range. The amount of servings you need per day will be based on your daily activity and special needs:
A breast-feeding mother will need the highest amounts - 3 servings of milk and cheese, 3 servings of meat.
A middle aged woman who has a desk job
will probably need the lower servings suggested -
6 servings of the grain/bread group, 2 servings of meat.
6 servings of grains may seem like a lot of food - but - you must be careful on the serving size. A pasta meal at a restaurant may equal 6 servings of pasta. Watching the amount of food is as important as the kinds of food.
Serving sizes follow:
- Milk group - - 1 cup 2%, 1 cup yogurt, 1 1/2 oz of cheese
- Meat group -- 2-3 oz. of meat, 1/2 cup cooked dry beans,
- Vegetable group -- 1/2 cup of cooked or raw cut up, 1 cup raw leafy
- Fruit group -- medium sized piece of fruit or 1/2 cup cut up, 3/4 cup of juice
- Grain group -- a serving is 1/2 cup of cooked pasta or rice,
1 slice of bread, 1 oz.
Do not assume that the serving sizes on packaged products are the same as the above. Use common sense. Be honest with yourself about serving sizes.
Here is a cool visual chart that makes for great printing. Print it out and tack it up on your refrigerator! Another great motivator is tacking up a picture of yourself on the fridge - as you are now or as you would like to be.
4. Plan to Exercise:
You don't need to run a marathon every day in order to get exercise. There are little ways that you can get the exercise you need everyday. Here are some suggestions - choose at least one of these and do it everyday or at least once a week. I guarantee that after a couple months - if you don't get your exercise, you will MISS it!
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park the farthest away spot from the store every time you go.
- Take a 30 minute walk everyday. (This is the one that I do -
I love my walk, if I don't get my walk, I really feel at a loss
I am definitely NOT an exercise fanatic, but I never miss my walking even on vacation - and I feel GREAT because of it.)
- Take an aerobics class or a dance class. (Do you have a partner? Take ballroom dancing! Not only will you get some exercise, you will also learn a useful, fun skill.)
- Get off the subway or bus stop one stop before where you normally get off and walk the rest of the way home.
- Decide to take up a sport like Tennis, Racquetball, or even join a Softball team. Check out your community athletic center or the YMCA for sports that you think you might like to participate in.
- Buy a work out video and commit to working out 20 minutes a day.
- There are some awesome workout programs for free on the internet. Here's one at Drop a Dress Size in Six Weeks. (I like the free ones you can do at home, because if you're like me, you're a clutz and are embarrassed to be seen doing any of those exercises in public!)
5. The Right Tools:
Support Network -
In the first part of the plan, we discussed a support network. This network may be made up of health professionals or simply a group of family or friends that you can talk to. They are positive people that will help you over the rough spots.
Healthy Eating Guide -
You need to know the right balance of foods to eat. If you join any type of Diet plan, they all have their individual ways of keeping track of your calories or nutritional intake, however, they are all similar to the Food Pyramid.
Nutritional Counting Device -
Make your healthy diet fun! The NutriCounter can help you keep track of your daily eating habits, it's a wonderful way to get into a routine and stay healthy.
This article provided by the NutriCounter web site (http://www.nutricounter.com - link no longer working). For more information on how nutrition influences weight loss, diabetes, pregnancy, heart disease and more!