Over the last few decades, as the waist lines of Americans began to grow, there has been a greater and more urgent focus on the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.
As weight loss became more mainstream, figuring out how to live a more active and healthy lifestyle has become the hot topic that everyone is talking about. From the classic aerobics videos in the 1980s to the infomercials peddling the latest weight loss craze in the 90s to now eating healthier and taking on new sports such as stand up paddle boarding or cross fit, weight loss is a priority for many people. Getting healthy and losing weight is not only the hip thing to do; it also has countless health benefits that are ageless.
First, let’s talk about how you go about losing weight. One way to maximize weight loss is to transition your diet from an ‘eat anything, anywhere, anytime’ plan to an ‘examine the product and make smart decisions’ plan. In order to lose weight, it is essential to cut back on food items that have excess sugars, fats, carbohydrates, and sodium. (Keep in mind, the key word here is excess. Your body needs at least some of all of those macronutrients in order to function properly). Once the excess is cut out, you’ll need to replace them with more nutritious and wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, you need to consider how much of it you are eating. Some people believe, falsely, that skipping a meal, such as breakfast, will save calories and help to lose weight. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Skipping a meal puts your body in starvation mode (i.e. it is wondering if and when it will be fed next). This causes the body to enter into ‘survival mode’ where it stores more fat than usual, just in case you don’t eat again soon. It is proven that those who skip breakfast, in particular, are about 4.5 times more likely to be overweight.
As you can see, this method defeats any goal of weight loss, and will actually cause you to gain more weight in the long run. Research shows that in order to lose weight, an average person should eat every few hours and divide their day’s meals into five or six small meals, instead of the three large ones that many people are used to. This causes the body to be able to keep blood sugar levels steady, therefore warding off any ‘crashes’ or urges to binge eat.
Of course, a proper eating plan goes hand-in-hand with at least 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise 3 to 5 times per week. This can be achieved by walking outside, doing a work out video at home, or heading to the gym for a weight lifting session or fitness class. It is important to see your doctor before starting any weight loss plan to make sure that you are healthy enough to participate.
The combination of healthy eating and regular activity leads to many health benefits:
If you’re ready to get started on your weight loss journey, get in touch with your local Medifast Weight Loss Center for more information about our program.
Here’s to a healthier and happier you!