When you control your weight, you control the key factors of overall health and wellness. Losing as little as 10% of your body weight, allows you to reduce insulin levels, reduce blood pressure, and decrease your risk of Diabetes.
Health, Fitness, and Wellness mean so much more than fitting into a skinny pair of jeans.True wellness means a life without weight or illness issues. Wellness, is so much more than a number on a scale. It is living a life full of vitality, sharing it, and loving it.
Start your journey today by taking the time to read this article and bending its words to fit your specific situation. At the end of the article, I will share a six step Action Plan to Achieve Your Fitness Goals.
As a Certified Hypnotherapist, I will make the case that some of the hardest challenges we face is working with weight loss and smoking. Weight loss is closely associated with food, which is necessary for survival, thus the close association, makes it something that we have to have. The problem of course is that we have gotten to a point where we just shovel it in, never thinking of the consequences, and finding out at a point, later in our lives, that we have gotten obese and sickly.
Remember that excess fat hits more than your waistband; life expectancy, productivity, mobility and self confidence are all affected. The path to better health is straight forward and simple. Eat smart, get active, perform at your peak and stay accountable.
“There is no single, simple answer to explain the obesity patterns in America”, says Walter Willett, who chairs the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.” Part of this is due to lower incomes and education, which result in purchases of cheap foods that are high in refined starch and sugar. More deeply, this also reflects lower public investment in education, public transportation, and recreational facilities,” says Willett. The bottom line: cheap, unhealthy foods mixed with a sedentary lifestyle has made obesity the new normal in America.
Obesity puts people at risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. These illnesses, of course, exact a financial toll too. In 2008, this country spent approximately $147 billion on medical costs, the CDC says. If every American were to lose an average of 10 pounds, the United States would save roughly $29 billion a year within five years, says Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit organization promoting national health.
Researchers believe that some physical activity is better than none. Extra health benefits can be gained by increasing how often and intensely one exercises and how long each session lasts.
What is causing the Overweight and Obesity trends?
A lack of energy balance most often causes overweight and obesity. Energy balance means that your energy IN equals your energy OUT.
Energy IN is the amount of energy or calories you get from food and drinks. Energy OUT is the amount of energy your body uses for things like breathing, digesting, and being physically active.
To maintain a healthy weight, your energy IN and OUT don’t have to balance exactly every day. It’s the balance over time that helps you maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity happen over time when you take in more calories than you use.
Additionally, many Americans aren’t very physically active. One reason for this is that many people spend hours in front of TVs and computers doing work, schoolwork, and leisure activities. In fact, more than 2 hours a day of regular TV viewing time has been linked to overweight and obesity.
Other reasons for not being active include: relying on cars instead of walking, fewer physical demands at work or at home because of modern technology and conveniences, and lack of physical education classes in schools.
Our environment doesn’t support healthy lifestyle habits; in fact, it encourages obesity. Some reasons include:
• Lack of neighborhood sidewalks and safe places for recreation. Not enough area parks, trails, sidewalks, and affordable gyms take away from being physically active.
• Work schedules. No time to be physically active because of long work hours and time spent commuting.
• Oversized food portions. Americans are exposed to huge food portions in restaurants, fast food places, gas stations, movie theaters, supermarkets, and even at home. Some of these meals and snacks can feed two or more people. Large portions means too much energy, IN.
• Lack of access to healthy foods. Some people don’t live in neighborhoods that have supermarkets selling healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and for many, healthy foods are too expensive.
• Food advertising. Americans are surrounded by ads from food companies. Often children are the targets of advertising for high-calorie, high-fat snacks and sugary drinks.
Reasons Americans are Becoming Overweight.
• Large screen TVs with 120 channels of great American TV, 24/7.
• No time to exercise!
• Huge portions in restaurants.
• “Girl Scout Cookie Dough” gets better tasting every year.
• High Fructose Corn syrup in Sodas, Diet sodas, and many other foods.
• Bacon in everything.
• Butter in everything.
• Slim Fast shakes taste much better with a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s.
• The Donut craze, Krispy Crème, Sprinkles, Dunkin Donuts
• Fast Food and its convenience: McDonald’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, and on and on.
Eliminate 5 Foods and Lose Weight.
Losing weight can be tough. You want to slim down, but unless you have the stamina to dedicate the next few months to your body, you’ll also want to maintain your social life, which means cocktails after work and an occasional slice of pizza late at night. Most of us wake up, look at ourselves in the mirror, and decide that it’s time to make a change and lose weight. That typically means better eating and more consistent workouts, but it isn’t foolproof. There will be days when things don’t go as planned and a cupcake is consumed or a run is skipped.
Dieters may be apt to slurp down diet sodas. They have zero calories and the carbonation-lovers argue that the carbonation makes you feel full. Turns out that the country’s most obese people prefer diet soda and some studies report that the more diet sodas a person drinks, the more weight they’ll gain. Reason? The artificial sweeteners keeping diet soda calorie free, confuse your body, since the sweetener is unknown and artificial. When your body doesn’t know how many calories have been consumed, it will respond by craving more high-calorie foods.
Carbohydrates only snacks
When your meals or snacks are comprised of only carbohydrates, your body quickly converts the carbohydrates into simple sugars and sends the sugar off into your blood stream. The sugar rush comes on and is over quickly, leaving you with low blood sugar and a gnawing hunger pain. Avoid carbohydrate heavy meals and snacks, like pasta, crackers, dry cereal, and breads. Pair your carbohydrates with protein or healthy fats like cheese and peanut butter to keep you full longer. There should always be a balance of both protein and carbs to maximize your weight loss program.
Skip the low-fat yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and milk. Low-fat foods are often manufactured so that the natural, fat elements of the food are removed and replaced with chemicals and sweeteners. Studies show that people who eat low-fat products actually gain weight because the low-fat food is not satisfying, and they end up binging on carbohydrates. Stick to natural, non-modified foods for the full benefit of what you eat and to avoid feeling hungry hours later.
The boxes in the frozen food section of your grocery store may scream healthy, low carbohydrates, low fat, and low calorie, but most frozen meals are just another tricky obstacle in your weight loss plan. Frozen meals contain heavy doses of sodium and preservatives to keep them fresh. In addition, the nutritional value in these meals is lower than if you made the meal at home.
These harmless 100-calorie snacks are all over the shelves of your grocery store, promising weight-loss. The problem is these little snack packs are processed foods that contain lots of sugar or artificial sugar and chemicals. When you eat this tiny snack, your blood sugar skyrockets, before dropping and leaving you hungry. Eating something not providing any nutritional value or sustainable form of energy for your body is bad for you and your diet, because hunger sets in again in another hour.
WHAT AFFECTS YOUR WEIGHT LOSS RESULTS?
Your attitude drives your day. Leave the house in a great positive mood, and more than likely, you will have a great day. Inversely, if your attitude is pessimistic, that feeling permeates into everything you do with negative results. Weight loss is a lifestyle change and one that requires discipline, commitment, and an awareness to make it happen.
Weight loss is a great goal, but unless you have the motivation to fulfill your program, it is easy to slip backwards, which is not going to cost you, but one time becomes two, three, and all of a sudden you are back to your old ways.
A weight loss program is not a destination, it is a journey that needs to be thought about and planned out. It is all about lifetime fitness. Keep an exercise journal and write down every single success and failure, whether you’re losing weight or not. You will start to see patterns of behavior that allow you to make adjustments to your program.
Exercise is part of the equation. The weight loss equation has three parts, proper nutrition, basic exercise, and mind fitness.
If you don’t exercise consistently, it’s hard to lose weight. If your head is not in the right place, your attitude, it is going to be hard to stick with a program. It is possible to lose weight through diet alone, but you’ll likely hit a plateau. Set up a reasonable workout schedule that you can follow each week. It’s not about killing yourself, it’s about finding something you like and that you’ll continue with for the rest of your life. Do not feel that you have to compete with anything other than your direct results. You are your competition. You will come to find out that the sooner in life that you start your program, the easier it is as you start to age. Start the habits while your body works with you, as it makes it a lot easier to continue as you move forward.
Changing the way you eat is another thing you’re going to have to adjust, for lasting weight loss. Keep in mind this simple rule. All food and drink becomes fuel for your body. Remember that we started out as grain and vegetable eaters. Meat came later. I always compare my body to a sports car that needs the highest octane fuel for maximum performance. I always ensure that what I put in my mouth as fuel, is of the highest quality, and I only eat what I need to continue the journey, meaning smaller portion meals and a couple of healthy snacks in between.
Replace unhealthy foods with healthier choices as much as you can. The name of the game is Moderation.
• Keep a food journal
• Spend more time in the grocery store reading food labels
• Spend more time preparing your foods
• Understand proper portion sizes for your body
• Make conscious choices about what you put in your mouth
Do not feel you are sacrificing the good stuff (pizza, fast food, desserts) or your life is over. Remember the word moderation? You can still have them, just not whenever you want or in the amount you want.
If you want a full, healthy life, you have to be willing to change your habits. Do not try to change everything overnight, simply be open to new ways of doing things. Some things you should consider for a healthy life are:
• Daily routines.
You may have to get up earlier to prepare your lunch or squeeze in a workout. Use your lunch hour for exercise or use it to go for a walk. After work instead of watching TV, do a light workout. Exercising on a daily basis change’s your entire day.
Set new guidelines for yourself, limiting how much TV you watch or how long you sit at the computer. Pay attention to how you spend your time and where you’re out of balance so you can add more movement.
• Kitchen pantry.
Do not have bad foods around. If you are trying to lose weight, do not have potato chips or Cheetos around. If you want to be truly healthy, you may need to get rid of all the foods you can’t resist.
Remember the commitment we mentioned earlier, If you’re not willing to change the way you live each day to include exercise, time to prepare meals and time to nurture yourself with sleep, it’s hard to lose weight. It is very easy to use busy schedules as an excuse not to be healthy. If you’re not ready to assume responsibility for the schedule you’ve created, it will be hard to lose weight.
Your Action Plan for your Total Fitness Profile
Set Specific Goals
Your goals need three criteria to be effective. First step is to be Specific about what you are after. Make sure your goals have specific numbers to them. Do not say I am going to lose weight. Determine how much weight you want to lose and set up a time frame to accomplish. Example: I want to lose 20 pounds over a six month period. This means that you want to see 3 to 4 pounds of weight loss monthly to achieve your target. Second step is to work short term. As per our previous example, you are monitoring monthly to see that you are on track with the 3 to 4 pounds coming off. The Third step is setting up goals to be Attainable. Can you reasonably lose the goal of 3 to 4 pounds a month? If you have shortfalls, regroup and push forward.
Remember, you are your own competition and the one staring in the mirror.
Design Your Regimen
Know in advance when and how long your exercise periods are going to be. How often? We recommend 3 to 5 workouts a week. At what time? Set up a schedule when the time is yours. Know in advance that your best time is early morning, or possibly evenings, after work. I suggest starting out with 30 minutes and working your way to a good solid hour of exercise that will help you for life. Always stay accountable to the most important person in your life, namely you. If you drop the ball, the only person hurt is yourself.
Define Your Nutrition Plan
Start by learning the differences in food. What are carbohydrates, protein, and snacks that impact your diet? Learn how to blend in new ingredients such as Kale to your plan. Plan for three small meals daily, with breakfast being the key one, which gets your day off to a great start with a nutrition plan covering the basics. In between, choose which ingredients will fill in for a couple of light snacks. This is more of a grazing concept, as you are eating all day, but smaller, more nutrition packed meals that keep your glycemic index in check and generate the power you need to get through the day, feeling good about yourself, especially seeing the results of this program. Keep a balance between your protein intake with a proper amount of carbohydrates. A basic rule of thumb for protein is to use a portion size approximately the size of your palm. Keep in mind that we are trying to lose the extra weight and get your body back to its optimal state, where you feel healthy, vibrant, and ready to tackle life.
Evaluate Your Progress
This is a work in progress and needs indicators that can help you see where your strengths and weaknesses are. You want to get your heart rate up and your repetitions up to a basic level of twelve, increasing as you move forward with your plan. Before you start, take measurements, such as your waist size, your total weight, your sitting heart rate, and notice how you feel. As you progress though your workouts, you will start to see your intensity go up, your reps up, and your ability to stay on cardio machines increases. The trick is to monitor daily for best results, Keep a journal, which gives you the raw data to evaluate and use in prepping for the next session.
Find someone to team up with. Share goals and expectations. Bounce off one another. Motivate each other. Use your workout partner to give you feedback, as well as giving them the same feedback. As stated earlier, you are the only one responsible for yourself. You can no longer blame your parents, husband, or anyone for that matter. Learn to become your leader and cheerleader. Learn how to shut off or turn your inner conversation, which many times talks down to you. Unfortunately, we are not trained to listen to ourselves and in the process, many times sabotage our success. When younger, I used to place my working goals on the bathroom mirror, so I stared at them while brushing teeth, shaving, etc. Don’t write them down and leave them in a drawer. They are your Action plan and should be in front of you at least once a day, to see where you are in your progress.
When reaching your goals, short or long term, reward yourself. It might be a new piece of clothing to match the loss, a new, wholesome food. Your reward should reinforce your efforts to improve your self image. Make it something you look forward to and something that motivates you to work harder.
If you follow this basic approach to weight loss, success is imminent. It will come in simple steps that lead to bigger jumps in time and the satisfaction that comes from achievement. Celebrate all of your achievements and keep in mind that your mind works off this simple formula. It takes 21 times of saying something, hearing something, doing something, feeling something for your mind to start a new file, that in time will replace the original file. If you do not work your program for at least 21 days, your chance of success is minimized. I guarantee that if you give it the suggested time frame, anything can happen.
As you start to see the weight come off, your health becomes better, your outlook on life changes and the way people perceive you will also change. Science has shown that physical fitness pays rich dividends throughout your life, with better health, more vitality, and an outlook that opens doors to happiness, confidence and success. For those of you that have gotten this far in the article, if you will email me, I will send you a little primer on Vitality, that organizes a lot of these concepts into a working plan for you.
This article was designed to give you an overview of the basic steps and a solid, simple program to start your personal program. Do not let it be the only reading you do on the most important statement that I have ever heard, “Health Is The First Wealth”. Wealth means nothing without great health.
If I can help you with additional information on this life changing subject, please contact me. The company I represent has many nutritional products and programs that support any level weight loss and fitness program.