Obesity has reached epidemic levels in the United States. It’s a crisis with far-reaching health implications for millions of Americans and translates to massive health care costs for taxpayers. It can be difficult for individuals struggling with a chronic weight problem to shed pounds and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. A well-considered combination of exercise, diet and wellness-focused activity can help you achieve the right mindset and empower yourself by emphasizing personal wellness and a spirit of optimism.
Do what works for you
It doesn’t make much sense to commit to a diet-and-exercise routine that you dislike. You’re apt to quit or put insufficient effort into it, which won’t get you any nearer your objective. Look for physical activity that make you feel good such as strength and resistance training, aerobic dance exercise, meditation, yoga or martial arts. Don’t be afraid to try something you haven’t done before, or to pursue an activity that’s always interested you. You might even discover something that could help change your life. Try thinking out of the box and exercise with your dog – hit the trail for a nice, relaxing hike, or go for a job together at the nearest dog park.
Working toward a healthier you means more than reaching a baseline weight or being able to do a set number of pull-ups. It’s also about personal happiness and feeding your soul with enjoyable activities that make you feel good. Focus on self-care habits such as watching a favorite movie, walking in the woods or taking time out from a busy schedule to read a few chapters of that novel you’ve always meant to finish. Doing things you enjoy lowers the blood pressure, reduces stress and activates “feel-good” chemicals in the brain including serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.
Get your sleep
People who struggle to lose weight often are unaware that shorting yourself on sleep makes it more difficult to shed pounds. You need a healthy metabolism to burn those calories, and your metabolism suffers when you’re not getting enough sleep. According to an article in Shape Magazine, sleep is the most important thing you can do to lose weight because, among other things, there’s a direct connection between weight gain and a lack of sleep.
You can exercise six times a day, but it won’t do much good if you fail to couple it with a healthy diet. Losing weight doesn’t mean starving yourself, followed by a period of binge eating. Instead, seek balance with vegetables and fruit, whole grain breads, low-fat dairy, protein, healthy meat and nuts. If you’re still having a hard time losing weight, consult your doctor or a nutritionist, who can lay out a complete and wholesome diet that complements your exercise routine.
Tracking your progress
Using a bathroom scale to track your progress can be a discouraging and fruitless endeavor. Instead, try other methods, such as increased breathing capacity, sleeping more soundly, more energy and compliments from people who are close to you are far more gratifying indications that you’re making real progress. Instead of feeling listless in the afternoon after lunch, you’ll have the energy you need to get through the rest of the work day productively. Reduced stress and greater mobility are also good indicators that you’ve lost weight and achieved a healthier overall condition.
Crash diets, weight loss pills and fad exercise regimens hold little hope for people who struggle with obesity and seek a sustainable healthy weight and lifestyle. Track your progress through changes in your physical appearance and energy level.