If you are like me and firmly ensconced in your 40’s, you have probably found that both your middle age and middle section are creeping up on you. Staying trim and fit just isn’t as easy as it was when we were younger, when we could eat anything and not give a care in the world about possible consequences.
Now we find ourselves having to work overtime and watch what we eat in order to avoid those unpleasant trips to the bathroom scale. Fortunately, it is more than possible to successfully manage your weight, and not by adhering to some rigorous exercise routine that leaves you spent, sweating, and still fat. Just follow some common sense logic and stay fit for years to come.
The good news is that your goal is not as far away as you think. Many of us picture ourselves much fatter than we actually are, and most doctors say that losing 5-10% of your excess body weight can make for a marked difference in your appearance and health.
One of the first steps you can take is to write down what you eat on a daily basis. Being able to see what you are putting into your body and how much of it is often an eye opener. Keeping a good food diary may open your eyes to not so obvious problems, as well as providing a measure of discipline for upcoming efforts to eat wisely.
Know all of your risk factors. Check with your physician to see if you have high cholesterol or blood pressure. You can also calculate your body mass index to help determine exactly how much weight you need to lose.
Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in sugars. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, this will also reduce your risk of heart attack and certain types of cancer.
Eat smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to two or three large ones. Research shows that the human body needs food about every three hours. Snacking during the day also helps prevent eating too much at dinnertime. Try snack foods with high-quality protein and carbohydrates, such as low-fat yogurt and fruit, a smoothie, or soy cheese and a pear. Other suggestions for snacks include graham crackers, low-fat popcorn, vegetables with low-fat dip, and whole-grain crackers.
Develop an accurate calorie count, then cut them out. Determine how many calories you eat during the day, the week, then set a new daily or weekly calorie intake goal. Experts recommend that you lose no more than a pound or two a week. To lose about ½ pound per week, subtract 250 calories a day from your current calorie intake; to lose 1 pound, subtract 500. A reduction of 500-1,000 calories could result in weight loss of about 1-2 pounds per week.
Do something that you enjoy for exercise. The only way to burn more than you take in is to exercise. Exercise increases your metabolism so that even when you are at rest, you’ll be burning more calories. You can start out fairly easily, walking, running, biking, or swimming about 30 minutes a day, three to five times each week. As you build up, you can add to the duration and frequency, with the ideal goal being to exercise 30-45 minutes, five days a week.
Walking is usually the exercise of choice for many. Low impact, easy to accomplish, and a pedometer can measure exactly how many steps you take over the course of a day. Your eventual goal should be a daily total of 10,000 steps.
Don’t give up your favorite foods. You can still take in up to 200 calories of your favorite foods every day, which should be more than enough to keep you from feeling deprived. Deprivation ledas to cravings, and cravings lead to binging. Keep your portions down, and enjoy it.
Eat slowly. This can be difficult for those of us that really enjoy digging into a good repast, but remember that it takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize it is full. That is 20 minutes of eating that is probably not necessary. Eat slowly and let your brain process what is coming in. once you start to feel full, stop eating. It is as simple as that.
Drink plenty of water every day. Water helps flush the kidneys, preventing water retention or water weight gain. In addition, fluids make the stomach feel full, decreasing the tendency to overeat.
Keep a good supply of healthy foods on hand. Examples include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dried beans, nonfat dairy and fish or lean poultry. Also, plan meals in advance and make a shopping list so you’re eating more meals at home. Dining out is not particularly conducive to losing weight.
So there you go…..solid common sense tips for watching your weight, losing it, and keeping it off. Now go and make us proud.