7 Simple Weight-Loss Habits
As soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, our eyes drop to the extra pounds we’ve packed on during the holiday marathon eating sessions. The resolution we make to lose weight and get fit is sincere, but all too often, our good intentions don’t even last until the end of January.
“Every January, health clubs see a spike in attendance, followed by a drop in February,” say boomer generation health experts Dian Griesel, Ph.D., and Tom Griesel, authors of the new book “TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust.”
According to Dian, a nutritionist, it’s misguided to think of eating healthy as a “resolution.” Like most of our resolutions, this one will soon be broken. Instead, it is vital to incorporate healthy habits into our lifestyles — habits that can be maintained over a long period through the year and not fade after only one month.
The Griesels share seven simple steps that dieters can easily incorporate into their busy schedules to make 2012 a truly healthy new year:
• Set a goal for fat loss and improved body composition, not a reduction in pounds. Most dieting efforts, which focus on a drop in scale weight, result in the loss of lean body mass (LBM) along with fat. This loss of LBM can be significant and will reduce your base metabolic rate (BMR). Find a way to measure and track changes in your body composition at turbocharged.us.com.
• Drink more water. Most people are chronically dehydrated, particularly first thing in the morning. We often mistake thirst as hunger, and eat when we should be drinking. Always drink a large glass of water as soon as you wake up, and whenever you feel hungry, before you eat anything. You may find you really weren’t hungry after all.
• Focus on being more active. Sitting for long periods of time is hazardous to your health and cannot be counteracted by daily trips to the gym. Never sit for more than an hour at a time, and always look for ways to increase your daily activity. Walking is great, but everything counts. Just be up on your feet and moving as much and as often as possible. Get out and go to the park, zoo, or museums. Find an outdoor activity that you enjoy.
• Build and strengthen your muscles. It is your muscles that drive your metabolism 24/7/365. Increasing your muscle mass will increase your BMR. You do not need to join a gym or buy a set of weights. Simple body-weight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats done three to five times per day for as little as one minute will do the trick, especially if you have been inactive and sitting around too much. Do what you can now and build from there. Consistency is the key.
• Start improving your diet. Replacing the refined, processed, packaged, and fast foods in your current diet with fresh, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, and meat will dramatically increase your health and improve your body composition without dieting or counting calories. Have fruit for breakfast, start packing your lunch, eat out less, and concentrate on making simple meals at home with fresh natural foods. Drink more water instead of soda or sports drinks. Avoid all artificial “fake” foods, and stay as close as possible to foods in the form Mother Nature created.
• Get a good night’s sleep. We need deep, quality sleep for peak energy levels and to be optimally healthy. Set regular sleep hours and keep them whenever possible since it is during sleep that we “recharge our batteries.” Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or stimulating TV or activities before your scheduled sleep time. Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet.
• Practice regular stress reduction techniques. In today’s world, we experience chronic stress that was unknown to our ancestors. Modern stressors constantly activate our “fight or flight” survival mechanism, and this is very detrimental to our health. Meditation can be very helpful. However, consistently practicing short relaxation exercises during your day is often even better, because they provide regular feedback and can help you to recognize and break stress patterns. These mini-relaxation sessions will reset your nervous system and do wonders for your health and feelings of well-being.
In the fitness business, it’s always interesting to see how the time of year affects people’s habits. I’ve visited several gyms around New York City this month and, predictably, they’re packed– New Year’s resolutions are still “new”. This is the time of year when people get overexcited and end up getting injured, or overexerted and end up battling fatigue. It goes to show you that most folks are are clueless on how to reach their fitness goals.
The best tip I can give you for the New Year: tackle your eating habits. You can run on the treadmill for hours… or attend one thousand fitness classes… and maybe do both on top of eating SpecialK for breakfast– you feel like you’re doing all the things you’re supposed to yet still not get the body you want. Nothing replaces weekly nutritional and personal training guidance. When someone holds you accountable for your meals and snacks, and provides you with a program customized for your body, that’s motivation to keep you on a straight path to reach your fitness destination.
Keep in mind that nutrition and weight programs are not a one-size-fits-all formula. People don’t understand that every body has different needs. Every person I work with has their own unique situation, body chemistry and physical weakness. And every person’s metabolism slows down with every year they get older, which makes it harder and harder to lose the weight.
That’s why it’s so important to have a trainer with multiple strategies to help you reach your weight-loss goal. So many factors can keep your results at a plateau which is why individualized nutritional coaching and personal training is always the best way to go.
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