Spring is here! And while it might not feel like it at the moment, we will soon put away our jackets and shed all of our layers for clothing that shows off our figures. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your diet and exercise program and to get back into shape for the beach!
To get in shape, you need to eat right AND exercise. One will not do the trick without the other. Rather than obsess about crazy workouts or counting calories, the most important change you can make to promote weight loss is to alter your environment and your habits in order to make healthy living second nature. According to noted physician Dr. Mark Hyman, “the key to changing habits is to understand how change really occurs. And for the most part, it occurs by design, not by accident or wishful thinking. It occurs by transforming the unconscious choices we make every day, shifting them so that the automatic, easy, default choices become healthy choices, not deadly ones.”
The old adage, “you are what you eat,” hits the bull’s eye when discussing diet. While the amount of food is important, the types of foods we eat are just as important. Sugar is toxic, and it is very important to limit foods with extra sugar in order promote weight change. Many people have food cravings and find change to be extremely difficult. As stated above, in order to change your eating habits, you must change your environment. Do not keep candy, chips, and sugary items in your house. Place fruits, vegetables and nuts within easy reach. Make produce more accessible by cutting it up and displaying it. Do not go to the sections of the grocery store where you may be tempted to buy unhealthy items, and avoid restaurants or shops where you have a weakness for unhealthy choices. Serve meals in measured portions and put leftovers away. Use smaller plates to eat less. Find new recipes online and keep condiments handy to add flavor to food. Plan your food and snacks in advance so you never have to “cheat” and you are never left hungry with the urge to grab something unhealthy. Change is possible if you have a plan!
You also need to have a plan for exercise. Make sure to set aside time to go to the gym and work out. Make it a priority and schedule it into your calendar. If you find you are not exercising as much as you would like, figure out what your obstacles to working out are and create solutions for them! Exercise should be enjoyable, so find something you like to do – there are so many options. Also remember that cardio is not enough to change your body; resistance training is necessary to boost your metabolism, increase muscle mass, and burn fat. Work with a personal trainer to learn how to safely exercise and ask the trainer to make you a plan to follow.
Change your current habits and start your routine to see results! It is all about having the motivation, ability and a trigger to change. We live in a mostly unhealthy world, so we need to create our own healthy environment and design it to make it easy to do the right thing. That is how we create health, and it is the key to success in weight loss and transformation of mind and body.