To overcome obesity is a common struggle in our culture. Many of us try fad diets and watch our weight yo-yo, or only seem to see the numbers on the scale go up. It can be disheartening and discouraging.
That’s why it has to go beyond just what you’re eating. Modifying your lifestyle is the key to overcoming obesity, and with simple, wellness-focused actions, you can do it.
Become More Active
If you struggle with finding an exercise regimen that works for you, chances are you’re overthinking it. Your exercise program needs to be part of your day-to-day life in order to serve you well, not an occasional and debilitating trip to the gym.
Simply becoming more active will yield results. One suggestion is to focus on your health and how intense your workout is, instead of the duration of your session or number calories you’re burning.
Start out slowly. Find an activity that makes you feel good, like walking with your dog or dancing. As you become more fit, add to the intensity. You’ll find you’re increasing the amount of time you’re moving and working, without feeling like you’re really working!
Make sure your workout is balanced, increasing your cardiovascular fitness as well as your strength. Cardio work gets your heart pumping and makes you breathe harder, and strength training is for your muscles.
You can create a home gym with a few well-chosen pieces of workout equipment to stay active when time is tight or the weather is bad.
Dumbbells, kettlebells, a Swiss ball and resistance bands are great for strength training, and a yoga mat lends itself to a variety of exercises, from Zumba to Pilates for cardio, and from sit-ups to squats for strength.
If you don’t have a room to dedicate to your home gym, you can make do with a space in your garage, attic, or basement.
Embrace Healthy Eating
Diet is an important key to losing weight, but that shouldn’t be confused with dieting. Choosing a healthy diet means developing eating habits that support your energy needs and promote good health long-term.
This can be achieved with a whole-food, plant-based approach to nutrition that includes plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole-grain cereals and breads, protein sources that are lean such as beans and rice, and healthy fats from seeds, nuts and olive oil.
To fully embrace healthy eating, it’s also vital to change the way you think of food. As Psychology Today notes, some people eat in response to emotional cues, and some in response to their environment.
Do some soul searching. If you have certain triggers, modify your circumstances and be mindful of what is prompting you to eat. Some people battle with depression and other mental health disorders that can undermine healthy eating habits.
Connect with a mental health professional if you struggle in this area.
Get Enough Rest
It may sound counterproductive, but without enough rest you won’t be able to lose weight. In fact, if your body doesn’t receive sufficient rest, you can begin generating cortisol, the stress hormone, in response to a too-heavy exercise program.
You will start to retain calories and fat instead of burning them. You can rest your body with smart workout strategies. For instance, some experts explain the importance of allowing your muscles an opportunity to recover from exercise.
You can do this by either rotating exercise routines for the muscle groups you work with on different days, or by doing full-body workouts one day and light cardio and stretching the next.
Also, if you’re maxed out emotionally, it’s also important to make changes. A professional or personal life that is generating too much stress will also mean cortisol production.
If you need help with these areas, embrace better coping skills or reach out to a counselor. You can be happier and healthier, and you’re worth it!
Is It Working?
The scale can be a tricky accessory. Especially in the beginning when weight loss can happen quickly and then stall as you plateau.
While many people swear by daily or weekly weigh-ins, other people say ditching the scale helps them focus on noticeable changes like improved endurance and sleep, clothes that are looser, and more energy.
If you need the scale to help you monitor your progress, use it, but try to keep track of other changes to help motivate you throughout this journey.
If you do plateau, that probably means it’s time to change up what you’re doing and find new ways to attack your fitness. As long as you stay the course, you’ll see results.
Healthy Habits, Healthy You
With better lifestyle choices, you can overcome obesity. Find activities that make you feel good, choose healthy foods, ensure you’re in a good frame of mind, and rest. Simple strategies and good choices can be your foundation for wellness!