If you resolved at the start of the year to lose weight, you are not alone. Each year, thousands of Harlemites and millions of people pledge to lose the weight they have gained over the winter or during the previous year as a way to get healthy and look better.The beginning of spring is an excellent time to review your progress and leaves plenty of time to make changes that can get you back on track before the year is out.
Losing weight in a healthy way can provide a number of significant health benefits, including:
· Increasing your energy levels
· Lowering your cholesterol
· Reducing your blood pressure
· Decreasing your risk for heart disease or stroke
· Helping you sleep better.
There are thousands of diets and many different exercise programs that can help you reach your goal.
Which is best? That depends on you. Find one you can follow for months and years. After all, what good is losing weight if you gain it all back?
Here are several tips that can help you make 2014 the year you lose weight safely and get healthy.
Get Regular Exercise
Losing weight is all about taking in fewer calories than you burn. Regular exercise can help you burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.
Adults should engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise three to four times a week. To keep from getting bored, introduce some variety by changing your exercise routine periodically. Consider signing up for a new exercise class (Zumba, Pilates, yoga, etc) in your neighborhood to stay motivated.
Also, try incorporating more movement into your daily routine, whether it’s walking instead of taking short rides or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Watch what you eat
Be mindful of how much food you eat and incorporate portion control during meals. While you want to watch how much food you consume, skipping meals is not a healthy way to lose weight. Skipping meals increases your risk of lowering your metabolism, and makes you susceptible to binge eating later.
Eat healthy snacks between meals
Eating healthy food between meals can help you speed up your metabolism and keep you from overeating during meals.
Ideal snack foods have protein, which helps build the growth of lean muscle, and fiber, which helps improve digestion and keeps you from binging on fats and sugars. Fruits and vegetables are excellent fiber-rich foods, while yogurt and nuts are good snacks to add protein.
Drink plenty of water
It’s always good to stay hydrated and water is best. Water has none of the calories found in soda or other sugary drinks. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can also help prevent you from overeating.
Combining healthy eating practices and exercise is the key to a healthy and sustainable weight loss. But remember to talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program to make sure it is right for you.
William Gillespie, M.D., is Chief Medical Officer of EmblemHealth and President and CEO of AdvantageCare Physicians.