A Cut Above Nutrition endorses a non-diet approach to weight management.
In this approach nutrition, behavior modification and physical activity are integrated to create a lifestyle that can be sustained for a lifetime.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight should not be dependent on starving yourself, going on a fad diet, or working-out 24 hours a day. This might work for short term weight loss but over time the most successful way to maintain a healthy body weight is to make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits.
1. Make a commitment
The first thing you have to do is make a commitment. There’s no point in trying to change your lifestyle if you’re not ready or are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you want to be successful you have to follow a plan and stick with it. You also have to do it because it is something YOU want to do.
2. Set goals that are realistic
After you establish a commitment it is important to set goals that are realistic. Attaining and staying at a healthy weight takes time and persistence. I understand this and can help you set attainable lifestyle goals. Evidence shows that it is realistic and healthy for most people to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week once they modify their eating and exercise habits. Yes, it is possible to lose more than this, but thinking that you’re going to drop 30 pounds before that beach vacation in two weeks is not realistic.
Thinking of goals in terms of both the means to reach them and what you ultimately want to accomplish will help. I enjoy helping people set process goals because changing your processes — your habits — is a key to weight loss. Writing them down as well as providing tip sheets on everything from eating out to emotional eating and getting regular exercise are provided. Having something to refer back to later is helpful and can help with both motivation and accountability.
Lastly, it’s important to frame your goals in the context of making them SMART… specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. As an example, someone wishing to stop their intake of soda could set a goal of cutting back consumption by a set amount each day and keep track of their intake until they reached their goal.
3. Make exercise a priority in your life
While you can lose weight without exercise, exercise combined with reduced calorie intake can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including boosting your mood, reducing stress, strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure. Regular exercise also can help you to maintain a healthy body weight. Studies show that people who maintain their weight loss over the long term get regular physical activity.
Don’t like to exercise alone? Join a gym, take a class, join a club or team, or form your own group. It’s not hard to find others to exercise with and can help keep you motivated!
4. Maintain your focus on a healthy lifestyle until it becomes routine
It’s not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for only a few weeks or even months if you want long-term, successful weight maintenance. Eating a well balanced, nutrient-rich diet and exercising must become a way of life.
You likely will have an occasional setback … it’s OK. But instead of giving up or giving yourself an excuse to continue a bad habit, remember what your goals are and simply start fresh the next day. Remember that you’re planning to change your life. It won’t happen all at once. Stick to your healthy lifestyle and the results will be worth it.