Many individuals start off the new year with a personal resolution to lose weight. The key to successful weight loss and maintenance of one's ideal weight is to make permanent lifestyle changes. Beware of the "fad diets." Many have successful weight loss with these diets, however, maintaining the ideal weight becomes impossible when the previous eating habits are resumed.
The key to successful weight loss or maintaining one's ideal weight is a simple formula. To lose weight, the calories eaten must be less than the calories burned. The amount of calories consumed can be reduced by making good food choices and portion control.
What do good food choices mean?
Fat-free, 1 percent fat or low-fat dairy products
Low-fat or lean meat and poultry products that are baked, broiled or grilled.
Vary the vegetables
Select a variety of fruit, but go easy on the juice.
Eat whole-grain foods.
The amount of calories consumed each day can be reduced by following serving size guidelines. Avoid the "super-sized" phenomena. You may be getting more for your buck, but it is larger portion that sets you up to fail (and gain weight.)
Here are some "right-sized" portions.
3 ounces of meat is approximately the size of the palm of your hand, a deck of cards or a cassette tape
1 ounce of cheese is the size of your thumb or a pair of dice
1 teaspoon of high fat foods, such as mayonnaise and peanut butter is the size of the end of your thumb from the knuckle up
1 fruit serving is the size of a tennis ball
1 cup is fist size or the size of a cupped hand
1 ounce of chips or pretzels is equal to two handfuls
Making good food choices and the right portion size helps decrease the amount of caloric intake, however, it is important to rev the body's engines through exercise/activity. Activity increases the calories burned, which in turn promotes weight loss or helps to maintain your weight. Exercise should be for 30-60 minutes each day on most days of the week. You may begin by increasing your activity each week then adding a more formalized exercise program.
Increase or maintain your activity by:
Park farther from the entrance to a store or your workplace
Use the stairs instead of elevators
Walk to the work area of a person you want to talk with instead of calling or e-mailing that person
Get up out of the office chair instead of moving it around while sitting to accomplish tasks
Select a time for activity or exercise that you can commit to
Make a commitment to this time like you make a commitment to the other important things in your life
Choose fun activities and add variety to avoid boredom
Seek out a buddy or a partner who shares many of the same personal goals you have and begin a program where you can support each other.
Don't use the word "diet." That word conjures up the idea that this is a short-term plan. Right choices, right sizes and the right amount of exercise and activity are the long-term fixes for that extra weight that many carry around.