Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Having had several serious brushes with my health in the past has contributed to my desire to be fit and healthy. My health nut status has even resulted in the family nick name "chief health officer". A recent article about dieters who were successful in losing weight and keeping it off for over three years, peaked my interest. Here is a synopsis of the tips offered by these successful individuals.
All of the individuals interviewed did not diet. Instead they changed how they ate. They didn’t just cut back on junk food for a limited time, but made serious lifelong changes to their dietary habits. Most importantly, they began to exercise by making exercise an integral part of each and every day. The commonalities between all dieters were as follows:
•No dieting, instead there was a change in dietary habits on a permanent basis.
•Exercised on a daily basis…. way more than most people.
•Kept track of their food intake by counting calories or keeping a food journal. Most ate only 1200 to 1700 calories per day
•They weighed themselves regularly
•They had reminders, rebukes and rewards built into their lives
•They had support from family and friends
•They left nothing to chance
Here is what worked specifically for each of the successful dieters
Kerwin: His diet used to be heavy on bread, pasta, pork, pancakes, fast food and Peach Snapple. He gave up all those foods and now eats more healthy carbs. He replaced the Snapple with plain old water. He also works out five to six times a week with cardio and weights. Before his life change he rarely exercised. He advises that it is OK to say no to certain foods and ask for smaller portions. Eventually it will become second nature and your body will begin to crave only the good foods.
Bonnie: She had tried running, but it hurt her knees. She hadn’t bothered with the gym because she wasn’t sure how to navigate the equipment and didn’t know what exercises were best. A friend showed her the ropes at the gym and Bonnie started eating a more vegetarian based diet. If she craves something she gets creative and figures out how to make a healthier version of it at home. Bonnie encourages people to find substitutes for eating by developing hobbies and going out with friends. It was important for her to identify her trigger situations and come up with alternatives to eating in those situations.
Janelle: She began to become more mindful of her eating habits. She trained herself to ask “Am I hungry or am I eating out of habit or boredom?” She reduced portion size and the number of times she ate each day. She exercised consistently doing an hour of cardio daily and added weights three times per week. Without the exercise she says she would definitely gain her weight back. When going out to eat, Janelle always checks the menu on the web ahead of time to see what will fit into her healthy eating plan.
Zev: He found that it was easier for him to eliminate his trigger foods versus just cutting back, so he cut out all ice cream, meat, white bread, white rice and anything with white flour. He also runs 4-8 miles per day which is good for his mind and his body. Running burns calories, but also helps Zev to reduce stress. Regarding desserts he says that most restaurants have fresh berries or fruit which is always his choice instead of the chocolate cake.
Mary Ann: She eats mainly fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish. If she really wants something, nothing is off limits, but she does watch her portions. She bases her calories on a formula of eating 12 to 15 calories per pound of desired body weight. When she goes out, she plans very carefully. She always eats something ahead of time or checks to make sure that there will be a healthy alternative available. At first the exercise was hard, but now she realizes that if she doesn’t exercise for at least 30-60 minutes each day, she will gain weight. Exercise is not an option, but instead it’s an integral part of her day.
I hope this article inspires my readers to incorporate some of these ideas into their daily lives. Your body is a gift and it is up to you to keep it fit, healthy and alive.
Photo by: Glamlive