It seems as though there’s a new fad diet at every turn claiming significant weight loss by counting carbohydrates, consuming a liquid-only diet, eating a large amount of a single fruit or taking a “magic” pill. However, the simple key to weight loss lies in burning more calories than you consume. Once you’ve got this down pat, it’s time to create a health plan—one consisting of realistic changes in your diet and exercise habits.
When creating a diet plan that’s right for you, think long-term instead of short-term and consider the following:
Accessibility—Can you stock your pantry and refrigerator with foods you can easily find at local grocery stores?
Budget—Are the foods you’re choosing affordable for you?
Enjoyment—Are you eating healthy foods you actually like? If you’re only eating certain foods out of obligation and not because you enjoy them, you’re less likely to maintain a healthy diet.
Lifestyle—If you’re on the go most of the time, do you have foods on hand that can accommodate your busy schedule?
Variety—Does your diet include a nutritious variety of foods from each of the major food groups—fruits, grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy products, nuts and vegetables?
Eating a healthy diet is vital to maintaining a healthy body weight, but don’t skimp on exercise—it’s an essential component of weight management. When creating an exercise plan that fits your needs, it’s essential to think long term. As you consider what activities you want to participate in, ask yourself the following:
What type of exercise do you enjoy? Everyone has an exercise preference: Some like to lift weights and use gym equipment, some enjoy yoga, and others like outdoors-based exercise, such as walking and biking. Whatever you choose, it’s important to enjoy exercising so you’ll be more likely to sustain your routine.
Where would you most like to exercise? Whether it’s working out in a gym, running in your neighborhood, attending group fitness classes or walking, it’s important to exercise in a setting you enjoy.
How does your exercise of choice fit into your schedule or lifestyle? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. With this in mind, do you plan to exercise three days a week? Five? Seven? Are you more likely to get up early and exercise before work or school, or would exercising be a good close to your day? It’s best to be consistent so your workout becomes part of your routine, but if all you can manage on a hectic day is a quick, 10-minute brisk walk—that’s OK.
Who will be joining you? When you have an exercise support system—people to encourage you and hold you accountable—you’re more likely to stay on the path to meet goals. Grab a friend with similar exercise preferences and embark on this journey together.
Combined, diet and exercise make for the perfect mix for getting healthy, in shape and losing weight. Before starting any diet and exercise program it’s important to check with your personal health care provider. If you are in need of a primary care provider,contact Southeast Primary Care for an appointment at 910-642-0331.