60,000-79,999 SparkPoints 74,949

7 Simple Strategies for Weight-Loss Success

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I read this article from the Healthy Aging Magazine. I found it helpful and wanted to share.

7 Simple Strategies for Weight-Loss Success

Organize Your Home.

In many ways, your home is the epicenter of your weight-loss activities. Whether you're cooking a healthy homemade meal, working out in your living room, or squeezing more fitness in by speed-cleaning your house, what happens at home affects your commitment to losing weight. A disorganized home can interfere with achieving your goals, and it can lead to getting poor-quality sleep, succumbing to emotional eating, and skipping workouts. By keeping your home organized, you'll be better able to stay focused, maintain a positive outlook, and improve your mental and physical well-being. Assess the mess in your home by going through every room (be sure to check the basement and backyard too) and decide what needs to be dealt with (or tossed!), and then figure out a way to keep it organized permanently.

Shop Healthy.
1. It's a common misconception that eating healthy costs more money. While some healthy foods can be pricey, the reality is that when you stop buying junk foods and replace them with high-quality nutritious foods, your grocery dollars will go farther (and you'll ultimately save on those doctor bills, too). Help cut costs by creating a weekly meal plan of the breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes, as well as snacks, you'd like to make, and then tally up the ingredients you'll need and prepare a shopping list. At the grocery store or other market, stick to your list but be flexible enough to make exceptions for seasonal produce on sale and any discounts on healthy foods that you know you will use later.

Cook Meals in Advance.

If a busy schedule is keeping you from cooking most of your meals at home, knowing that there is already something healthy in the fridge or freezer that you can simply reheat will keep you from resorting to fast food or other unhealthy dining options. To help take the stress out of the kitchen, cook a few meals in advance each week to serve midweek or later. Soups, casseroles, and stews made with lean protein and plenty of vegetables, as well as recipes made with brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, are just a few examples of dishes that can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen.

Make Mealtime Matter.

You might be surprised to learn that taking the time to savor your meals can actually aid your weight-loss. When you sit down to enjoy what you're eating, thinking about every bite, you'll feel more satisfied and eat less. It won't be long before you realize that every meal eaten standing up or on the run is a missed opportunity. Mealtime is also designed to give you a break from your hectic schedule and allow you to catch up on what's happening in the lives of your family and/or friends. And these are the people most likely to support your weight-loss goals. Furthermore, studies suggest that eating nutritious meals at an actual dining table is good not only for your physical health but also for your mental health, and that goes for both adults and children.

Eat Healthy Snacks, Wherever You Are.

Regular midmorning and midafternoon snacking can seem like a challenge, particularly when you're on the go. But with some planning and preparation, you can put together a healthy assortment of snacks to help curb your hunger and prevent cravings—wherever you are. Invest in an inexpensive, lightweight, reusable lunch bag that you can stock with small zip-seal bags containing such healthy options as part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks, whole-grain crackers with nut butter, hard-boiled eggs, and/or lean deli meats. If you don't have time to prepare a snack, grab a 100-Calorie Snack or a piece of fruit for the road. When you're hungry, reach for one of these healthy choices instead of munching on sugary, salty, high-fat, empty-calorie snacks. Strategic snacking helps prevent the swings in blood sugar that can cause cravings that lead to overeating.

Make Exercise a Priority.

Regular exercise can help keep your metabolism revved so you lose weight faster. In addition, exercise can also help prevent the onset of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, by reducing belly fat, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Dr. Agatston recommends getting at least 20 minutes of either cardio conditioning (ideally as interval exercise) or core-strengthening exercise on most days of the week. If you can't get in a full workout, or even if you can, you should simply aim to move more every day. Even the smallest movements add up and will improve your weight-loss results.

Get More Quality Sleep.

You can never be truly healthy if you don't get enough quality sleep. Recent studies show that people who sleep less tend to weigh more. In addition to altering your metabolism and making you prone to weight gain, being sleep-deprived can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. If you're having trouble getting the recommended 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night, keep a sleep log to help you track your sleep habits. Not only should the log include what time you go to bed and awaken each day (and the quality of your sleep), but also what foods, beverages, and medications you're taking, how and when you exercise, any anything else that can help you and your doctor figure out what's causing your sleep issues. Tracking your sleep patterns will help you identify areas of your life that may be getting between you and a good night's rest, and enable you to make improvements as necessary.

Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.