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Weight Management for a Lifetime: 10 Strategies
The reality of losing weight and keeping it off takes a long-term (okay, a lifetime) commitment. You know as well as I do that this commitment is not always easy.
My motivation to make that commitment came from a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. My mother had, and my sisters still have these conditions; developing from unhealthy eating and carrying around too much extra weight.
So what’s the next step after you make that commitment to yourself? Actually, I can give you 10 steps
1. Set the right goal. Or should I say, set a realistic goal. It doesn’t have to be about weighing up what you did in high school. It’s not about being a size 0. (Admit it, when you’re over 50 and too skinny, it’s unattractive). According to experts, it’s a good idea to base your weight goal on your BMI (do a Google search and you’ll find out how to calculate that BMI)
2. Choose a date to start and write that date on your calendar. If you don’t choose a start date, you can continue to put off your weight management plan. Once you’ve picked your appointment, plan ahead: stock your fridge with healthy foods, buy some exercise DVDs, sign up for an exercise class.
3. Do not starve. When we eat too much, we gain weight. But eating too little isn’t a good choice either. Eating too few calories during the day slows down your metabolism. The best way to decide how many calories to eat throughout the day is to consider how active you are in your daily life. Nowadays, there are phone apps that can give you an idea of what your daily calorie needs are, based on your lifestyle. Other calorie calculators can be found online.
4. Keep a food diary. We often eat mindlessly and underestimate what we eat on a daily basis. For at least a week, write down not only what you eat, but also the portion sizes. It will help you keep track of times you overeat. Being aware of this can help you plan to substitute healthier options during those times. (Don’t forget to count the drinks).
5. Breakfast is essential. But not just a breakfast; a carbohydrate-heavy morning meal will cause your energy to slow down at the start of the day and won’t keep you full for long. Instead, include a protein, whole grain, and fruit. For example, try an egg scrambled in canola oil or a thin whole-grain bread with berries on the side.
6. Fill your lunch and dinner plate with fruits and vegetables. They add antioxidants, nutrients and fiber to your meals. You can eat larger portions of them, as they have fewer calories and fat than meats and processed foods.
7. Speaking of fiber, increase your intake to lose weight. Fiber helps block the absorption of calories. Try oatmeal or other high-fiber cereals for breakfast, beans for lunch, and whole grains throughout the day.
8. Avoid processed foods and reduce your fat intake. Processed foods have too much salt, too much sugar, and too much trans fat. To reduce fat, choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat cheese and yogurt, and bake your food instead of frying it.
9. Drink. Cold water, that is. Believe it or not, researchers have found that simply drinking two 250ml glasses of cold water can boost your metabolism by 30%.*
10.Don’t forget to sweat. Some health experts argue that cutting calories is more important to weight loss than exercise. I’d argue that even though it’s easier to eat 100 fewer calories a day than it is to burn them off, exercise definitely has its place in the weight management game. Exercise helps burn fat and strengthens muscles and bones. It can also reduce stress, lower cholesterol and boost self-confidence.
By maintaining a healthy weight, my blood pressure is comfortably low and my cholesterol levels are good. At 60, I managed to avoid the heart disease and diabetes that plagued my mother until her death. I feel strong and I love that feeling.
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