Before you know it, you’ll turn a page on your calendar, and swimsuit season will be staring back at us. Are you ready to stand in front of a three-way mirror and check your profile? To expand your courage as you shrink your waist, consider the ideas from these experts on how to achieve healthy weight loss:
Jump-Start Your Metabolism: Has sluggish metabolism undermined your weight-loss efforts? Don’t despair. Overcome the hurdle and achieve the results you want with 15 jump-starting ideas. Some of the most effective steps you can take include getting adequate sleep (an average of eight hours), drinking 48 ounces of cold water per day, adding chili peppers to your diet and eating breakfast daily.
Break Out of Your Fitness Rut: If your weight-loss journey has stalled and the number on the scale isn’t moving down (or worse, is moving back up), take heart. Don’t quit. Recommit. Add new activities to your weight-loss regimen. First, record your food intake in a journal. Also write down the reasons why you began your fitness journey. Set small, manageable goals. When you reach one, indulge yourself with a new haircut, a book or a bubble bath. Finally, expand your diet by exploring new, tasty and spicy foods that won’t pack on pounds.
Get Back to the Basics: Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle confirmed that a balanced combination of diet and exercise is the surest and healthiest way to achieve weight loss. Participants in the study (postmenopausal, overweight to obese women, ages 50 to 75 years) were randomly assigned to one of four groups. The first group adopted an exercise regimen of 45 minutes a day; the second group adopted a diet consisting of 1,200 to 2,000 calories a day (depending on starting weight); the third implemented both the diet and exercise regimens described above; and the fourth group made no changes to their diet or fitness regimens. The results? The majority of women whose weight-loss regimen included both diet and exercise elements lost 11 percent of their starting weight.
Don’t Be Fooled by Healthy Food Labels: Although food labels include words such as healthy and fruit, the actual product may be unhealthy and contain little or no fruit. In particular, dieters should watch out for sugar-laden foods and drinks masquerading as healthy fare. Milk shakes may be advertised as “fruit smoothies.” Sugary drinks may be labeled “fruit-flavored water.” Low-fat items may contain extra sugar and salt to beef up flavor. To ensure you’re selecting the best and healthiest foods, skip the advertising buzzwords on the front of the product and read the nutritional content.
You can look great in your bathing suit this summer, and by your example, you will inspire your family, friends and neighbors to adopt healthier habits.
All change begins with a single person. But as psychologist Dr. Howard Rankin says, “Although you alone can make changes, you can't make them alone.” Surround yourself with like-minded friends so you can give and receive the support.
Become the person you would like to be. Become a self-appointed fitness advocate and make your voice heard wherever you go.
Make no mistake about it—- there is real magic in enthusiasm. Enthusiasm spells the difference between failure and success. And although your effort may focus on fitness and losing weight, the most wonderful by-product will be a revitalized sense of your power to improve your life and the lives of those around you.
- Carole Carson
Photo courtesy of Luz Maria Espinoza