As another year draws to a close, many people begin to think about making New Year Resolutions. As the number of overweight and obese individuals continues to skyrocket in epidemic proportions, many resolutions will evolve around the pursuit of an elusive weight loss goal. Reducing calories and exercising more are well known strategies to pursue. In addition, nutrition experts at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have compiled the top research-based weight loss tips designed to help you jump start your new journey to a slimmer waistline.
Tip 1: Keep Moving Each Day
Plan 30 – 60 Minutes of Physical Activity Each Day
Research confirms that physical activity is essential to human health and is also an important catalyst in your weight loss efforts. Exercise doesn’t have to be in the form of a grueling 5 mile run or lifting heavy free weights. The key to using exercise to fuel your weight loss efforts is that you need to do something to stay moving each day.
Set 30 to 60 minutes aside each day for some type of aerobic or resistance activity. The best part is that your time can be broken down into convenient 10 or 15 minute segments and you’ll still receive the same health and weight loss benefits.
Tip 2: Keep a Detailed Food and Exercise Journal
This may be one of the most important tips that many people on a weight loss mission fail to undertake. Keep a detailed record of each bite of food and drink, including the time and amount consumed. Don’t cheat. Record every food item including between meals snacks and sneaking a bite of your favorite chocolate bar. Write down your physical activity also, including type of exercise and the duration of each segment during the day. Many people are amazed to find out the number of calories eaten outside of normal meal time.
Tip 3: Set Realistic Goals
Set Specific and Realistic Goals to Fuel Your Success
Often in our zest to reach an imaginary weight goal, we set an unrealistic target and timeframe. When it becomes clear that the goal can’t be met, our best intentions are forgotten and any lost weight returns with a few extra pounds to discourage us from trying again. Permanent weight loss must be accomplished slowly, with a plan to drop no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. This allows our body time to adjust naturally and make the necessary metabolic changes to maintain our lower weight.
Tip 4: Set Specific Goals
Make a plan to achieve your weight loss goal. Chart your day to include 3 well balanced meals and develop a calorie controlled menu that will allow you to hit your target. Schedule physical activity at a specific time as you would a business appointment. Avoid generalizations about diet and exercise, and be specific with regard to intent and end result.
Tip 5: Allow Yourself Room for an Occasional Slip
Everybody is human and inevitably you will make a small slip in your dietary plan. Fortunately your body is very forgiving and does not assess caloric intake for a single meal or even an entire day. Allow yourself an occasional treat when you really need it to keep yourself moving forward toward your weight loss goal.
Tip 6: Take Up Yoga
There’s more to yoga than just burning calories through physical activity. Researchers from the Hutchinson Cancer Center have “found that regular yoga practice is associated with the prevention of middle-age spread in normal-weight people and the promotion of weight loss in those who are overweight.”Yoga practice leads to mindful eating and healthy weight loss.
The New Year is approaching quickly and health conscious people will be thinking about losing weight gained during the past year. The best way to drop excess pounds is make a structured plan and set appropriate goals that will help you reach your weight target and improve your health and quality of life.