Sunday, December 19, 2010

Small steps can make significant changes in your weight and overall health.

Five Small Steps

Be proud of yourself as you make the right choices and realize that getting healthy is a journey that you must commit to for the rest of your life.

If you are ready to get on track for a healthier lifestyle, start with these five simple steps and it will make a big difference in your everyday life.

Don't do "Diets" – Americans spend 1 to 2 billion dollars on weight loss products and yet 60 percent of people are overweight or obese. The key to successful weight loss is to change the way you eat forever. Prepared diet foods will help you to lose weight but these programs often result in only a temporary weight loss with the weight coming back within 6 months. By changing what you eat to a more balanced menu and by adding exercise on a regular basis, you will be able to lose weight and, more importantly, maintain the weight loss for life.

Five and Two Plan – Decide that you will eat healthy for five days a week and allow yourself some treats two days a week. Most people have family gatherings and parties on the weekend and we take in extra calories during these times. Think about your schedule each week and figure out when you can have an extra helping or include a dessert to share with someone. Remember that your cheat days are not called "binging days" but rather days that you can include a little more food than your usual "healthy eating" days.

Schedule Your Life – According to government recommendations, adults should be working out five days a week for 30 minutes to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Each week, you should make a plan as to when you will work out. Exercising does not have to be a specific program such as a spin class at your local gym. Taking a brisk walk with your friends during lunch or marching in front of your television while you watch your favorite show will count toward your 30 minutes per day. Be creative and get your body moving.

Weigh Yourself on Fridays – One mistake people often make is they decide to weigh themselves on Mondays. It can be very frustrating to get on the scale after eating a little too much during the weekend. If you weigh yourself on Friday, you can have a few treats on the weekend and get back on schedule by Monday. Work hard all week eating healthy and exercising, and you will be in a better position for weight loss by Friday. Then you may be motivated to keep doing well all weekend, keeping your "extra treats" to a minimum.

Set Goals – You must set specific goals when committing to losing weight. Determine how much you want to lose and how you will accomplish it. Write down your goals and keep a record of how much weight you have lost, how often you are exercising and how you are feeling as you make these positive changes in your life. Keep reviewing your goals and modify them when you need to. Try to focus on reaching those goals but also give yourself some breaks when you don't reach them instantly.

Remember that taking small steps each day will add up to long-term health benefits. These changes are simple but not easy. Be proud of yourself as you make the right choices and realize that getting healthy is a journey that you must commit to for the rest of your life.

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