Small modifications could make an enormous distinction in weight reduction, in keeping with Native Information
Editor’s Note: The start of the new year is an opportunity to reflect and hit the reset button. However, research shows that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Each day this week, the Observer reporter will examine five common resolutions and give readers ways to comply with them.
One of the most common New Year’s goals is to lose weight, and sticking to it can be a challenge.
But losing weight is one of the most important health decisions a person can make.
Even small changes can make a big difference — losing 5% to 10% of your total body weight is likely to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“Losing weight has health benefits. Carrying extra weight on our bodies physically affects the heart and puts more pressure on our joints. So overall, when we lose weight, it helps protect our bodies from many diseases — heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems — and injuries,” said Katie Stache, Washington Health System director of fitness, water sports, sports and recreation Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center in South Strabane Township.
There are several factors that can affect your weight loss efforts. This includes changes to your diet, exercise, and lifestyle. A nutritious diet and a balanced lifestyle are key to better weight control and a healthy life.
Stache suggests talking to your doctor before starting any weight loss plan so they can help you customize a plan and safely monitor your progress.
Here are some tips to help you on your weight loss journey.
Set yourself realistic goals
The first step to sticking with your weight loss goal is to set an achievable goal.
“At the wellness center, people come in and say they’d like to lose 50 pounds, but when we dig deeper, they’re not sure how to go about it and how long it might take,” he said.
Pam George, associate executive director of the Uniontown YMCA, said it’s important to set a realistic and specific goal.
“People overshoot their goals and when that doesn’t happen they get discouraged and quit,” George said.
Losing two pounds a week is smart in the long run.
“It’s important to set those smaller weekly goals, the short-term goals, and reward yourself with a massage, a walk, or a new outfit when you hit that goal,” says Stache.
Eat Healthier “Diet and nutrition are such a big component of weight loss. Eating right, getting enough sources of fruits and vegetables, and carbs has an impact,” Stache said. “Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.”
Instead of dieting, focus on eating well. Research shows that following a restrictive eating plan often backfires and makes us eat more.
George encourages those trying to lose weight to educate themselves about what they eat.
“We encourage people to eat healthily and educate themselves. There’s a lot more to losing weight than just exercise. Exercise alone cannot work. It has to be a lifestyle change,” George said. “Our society has come to a point where we sit far too much and exercise is important; But on top of that, the convenient meals that are out there are what we go for because we’re so busy. It’s important to educate yourself about what’s in the food you eat and try to move more than sit.”
Try to eat a variety of nutritious foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal.
Cook at home and at the grocery store regularly to reduce urges to eat out or buy processed foods.
Make fitness part of your lifestyle.
To do this, Stache suggests finding an exercise you enjoy, which makes you more likely to stick with it. If you enjoy walking, biking, or doing yoga, make a plan to do these exercises a few times a week. You don’t have to exercise every day, and it’s important to build in recovery days and stretching exercises into your routine.
Both cardio and strength training are important for weight loss, Stache pointed out.
“One of the biggest things people don’t realize is that strength training helps our metabolism. We can burn more calories at rest by changing our metabolism. Therefore, a good combination of cardiovascular training and strength training is essential,” says Stache.
Get a buddy
Find an exercise partner and don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for support when starting a weight-loss program, Stache said.
“When a family member or friend or coach works with you, they hold you accountable. That’s why programs are so effective — there’s a sense of accountability,” Stache said. “When you know someone is cheering you on, when you feel like you have an ally on your path, you’re more likely to stick to your resolution and be successful.”
Drinking water can be very helpful in losing weight. It’s zero-calorie, it helps you burn more calories, and it helps suppress your appetite if you drink it before meals.
“Drinking water has so many benefits. But water is very underestimated,” said Stache. “Staying hydrated is one of the most important things people need to do. One of the biggest things we see is people exercising every day and not drinking water.”
Do not give up
It’s easy to quit when you make a mistake or leave your program. But if you eat three slices of pizza instead of one, or if you don’t see any improvement, don’t get discouraged and stop. Remember that the journey is long-term. It takes time to build new habits.
“Give yourself plenty of time. You’re not going to lose 10 years of weight gain a month,” George said.
Remember, you can always get back on track, Stache encourages.
The wellness center is hosting a Biggest Winner weight loss program, and “we’re seeing quite a change in life,” Stache said. “There are people who can come off medication and we have people who come and have difficulty walking and now they can climb stairs with no problem. We have people who let us know they are in less pain. It’s rewarding to see the things that change people’s functional lives. Her weight loss journeys can change her life.”