Would you like to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight for the rest of your life? Most of us would. I wish I could tell you there was some miracle diet or magic pill that could make this happen. Sadly, I don’t know of such a thing. What I do know, however, is that if you follow these ten tips, your chance of success will increase ten-fold. Here they are:
1. Don’t Gain It In the First Place
This is the most important rule. Follow this one and your battle may cease to exist. Make healthy food choices. Watch your portion sizes. Exercise regularly. Indulge occasionally, but not too often. If you see your waistline increasing do something about it right away!
2. Don’t Follow a Diet You Hate
Don’t follow some crazy, restrictive meal plan that sets you up for failure. If you do, chances are you’ll only follow it for about as long as you can stand it, which won’t be long. Design your eating plan around foods that are healthy such as grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Choose healthy foods that you also enjoy eating. The more customized your meal plan is to your likes, dislikes and lifestyle, the more likely it will become a regular part of your life. Achieving a healthy body weight for life requires an eating plan you can follow for life too!
3. Follow the One Hour Rule
People often resist this rule – the one hour of exercise daily rule. That is correct, one full hour every single day. If you are doing less than that you will find it challenging to keep your waistline in check. You don’t have to do the whole hour at one time, but you do have to commit to getting a full 60 minutes total before the day is through. Do something that’s gets your heart beating, like a fast paced walk. Lift weights at least two to three times a week if you can. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest.
4. Don’t Say “What the Heck”
A consistently healthy body weight requires a consistent eating plan. Take “what the heck” out of your vocabulary. No more “what the heck” it’s the weekend or “what the heck” it’s the holidays or “what the heck” my cousin Nancy is coming to visit. Too many “what the hecks” and your healthy eating plan goes out the window along with your healthy waistline. I’m not saying don’t ever indulge. I’m just saying be smart about it and make healthy choices most of the time.
5. Eat For the Right Reasons
Eat to nourish your body and reduce your risk of disease. Don’t eat because you are bored, stressed, tired, lonely, unhappy or for any reason that has nothing to do with food. Emotional eaters have waistlines that expand with their emotions. Don’t let that be you. Keep a daily food diary. It’s an excellent way to determine how often you eat, what you eat and why you eat.
6. Be Hyper Aware
Unfortunately we live in a toxic food environment – an environment where it is easy, if not irresistible to eat high fat, high sugar, calorie-rich foods each and every day. These foods surround us every waking moment and on every street corner. Start each day with an imaginary junk food shield surrounding you. Decide you won’t be tempted to eat the bad stuff just because it’s there. Keep your home and work environment junk-free so healthy eating is the easy thing to do.
7. All Calories Count
All calories count. Whether you follow a low fat, low carb or high protein diet doesn’t really matter. What does matter is how many calories you put in your mouth each day. Most moderately active women need only about 1800 calories daily and most men closer to 2000 calories. You need less than this if you want to lose weight. You don’t need to be an obsessed calorie counter (life is supposed to be fun), but you do need to educate yourself about where your calories are coming from and choose accordingly. Remember, we live in an insane food environment. Many foods today contain an insane amount of calories.
P.S. Don’t forget to count liquid calories, like soft drinks, smoothies, specialty coffees and even fruit juice. Liquid calories don’t fill us up like calories from food and are considered a significant contributor to our current obesity epidemic.
8. Stay Home
If you eat in restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, your waistline will likely pay the price. Dining out and expanding waistlines go hand in hand. Study after study has found it to be true. Again, I don’t suggest that you never dine out, but if you do, be a wise diner. The more often you eat out, the wiser you need to be.
9. Stop Snacking
We are a nation of snackers. We snack all day long, to the point many of us don’t know what it feels like to be hungry any more. These snacks are killing us. Be a smart snacker. Eat small snacks, about 150 calories or less a few times a day. Eat healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables. Be especially wary of late night snacking. Those late night snacks are the kind most people simply don’t need!
10. Don’t Give Up & Focus on The Good
Achieving a healthy body weight can be challenging, especially in the current world we live in. Persist in your efforts. The benefits are many. You feel better. You look better. You live longer. You can do more stuff. Focus on what you get by eating healthy, not on what you are giving up by eating the unhealthy stuff. Never say “I have to” eat this or “I can’t” eat that. Always say “I choose” to eat this or “I choose” not to eat that. When you realize that healthy eating is a choice and a great choice at that, it becomes not only easy, but a pleasure as well!
Lastly, to get you off and running I want to share with you one of my favourite Catelli Healthy Harvest recipes. It’s called Quick Fire Noodle Soup . It contains only 179 calories per serving, but is guaranteed to satisfy! Enjoy!
Here’s to a healthy body weight in 2012 and every single year beyond!