Following the latest fad diet or extreme exercise program typically results in short term success, frustration and re-gaining of weight. What to do? Some tried and true tips:
- Remember that your lifestyle choices reflect to all just how serious you are in your endeavors, and the value you place on your health. If you find yourself saying one thing, yet doing another, this isn’t going to bode well for success. It can also set up a try/fail ‘yo-yo ‘scenario where weight is lost, and weight is gained, over and over again. Make yourself a true priority in terms of getting what you want by making a plan, and sticking to it, with no excuses.
- It is better to eat something every few hours, than to skip meals. It’s also better to engage in some form of activity, even for short periods of time, than to do nothing at all. Skipping meals usually backfires and contributes to low blood sugar, and can lead to binges and cravings. If you are prone to temptations, plan ahead, snacking on a piece of fruit, fresh vegetables, or handful or nuts instead of grabbing fat-laden, salty or sugary treats.
- Eating for reasons other than hunger are the calories that get us into trouble. Common triggers for mindless eating include boredom, stress, the ample availability of food, and simple force of habit. Stay mindful that the purpose of food is for survival and make choices based on how well you desire to maintain your energy, vitality and strength.
- You should neither overeat or undereat throughout the day. The amount of fuel (food) your body needs depends on the amount of activity that occurs once the food is digested. In other words, an intense long duration workout requires more calories beforehand, while sitting requires very few calories. So when ‘spending’ your calories, time wisely.
- Calories do matter. For the overwhelming majority of people, eating less than the body needs will result in weight loss, plain and simple. Start by calculating your calorie expenditure, and compare this to your calorie intake. If weight loss is desired, try a daily combination of upping your activity levels while eating healthier, cutting back on portion/serving sizes, for best results. Trying to exercise pounds and inches off while still eating too much can lead to burnout, while trying to drastically cut back on food without exercise can slow the metabolism, and leave you feeling resentful.
- Carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source, burned along with fat stores (to a lesser degree) during a workout. Protein is used for recovery and repair. For strenuous tasks like heavy yard work and high intensity workouts, carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruits are ideal, along with a smaller amount of high quality protein such as egg whites, yogurt, chicken or fish. After a workout, carbs, protein and healthy fats help to replenish lost vitamins and minerals and help keep blood sugar levels steady.
Marjie Gilliam is an International Sports Sciences Master certified personal trainer and fitness consultant. Write to her in care of the Dayton Daily News, call her at (937) 878-9018 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.