I hope you've been enjoying my Getting Back to Healthy series where I have been documenting my weight loss journey. This article is the conclusion to that series, summarizing the 3 top habits I've developed to lose and keep the weight off.
This wasn't the 100lb weight loss you hear about on the TV infomercials. This series was about recovering from the drift that we all face in our lives as we age. Day by day, month by month, year by year, the pounds sneak up on us, shrinking our clothes and encouraging us to indulge in all the wonderful food around us and stay in our warm cozy beds just a little while longer.
I have been borderline obese before and made this journey previously, but day by day, month by month, year by year, I backslid a bit as most of us tend to do. I've taken a hard look at the habits that got me to where I was, and have worked to develop some new ones to take the weight off and keep it that way.
|My weight loss progress bar during this journey|
While this article is the conclusion of this series, I know that my journey is far from complete. The journey to health is never quite complete, staying healthy is a way of life, not a one-time diet. It takes a lot of effort to get your body in good working condition, but it also takes discipline to keep it there month after month, year after year. The key is to realize that there are certain habits that can make this journey a little easier.
Here are three healthy habits I've developed over the past few months that got me back to where I want to be. They worked for me, if this is an area you struggle with, I firmly believe they will work for you.
1. Eat mindfully
Our bodies need to last us a lifetime, so we need to be careful what we put into them. What and how much you put in your mouth is the biggest thing to focus on if you are looking to maintain a healthy weight. Physique is 80% diet, and 20% exercise according to most experts and my own personal experience. You can lose weight without ever picking up a weight or even doing any exercise at all if you control what you put into your body.
|Best to start eating right when you're young, but it's never too late to start|
Consider these two examples.
A medium fry from McDonald's is around 340 calories.
Run a mile? Great, but that'll only burn about 130 calories! Run a few more to burn off that fry!
Get the picture?
If you want to know how to take the weight off, you need to understand where it is coming from. Set up an account at myfitnesspal.com or a similar service and track your diet. Once you know which foods or drinks are making up the bulk of your calories, you'll be able to clearly see where you can start cutting back.
Beyond that, strive to be mindful about what and how much you eat. I've found a pattern of light-light-heavy or heavy-light-light works for me (light breakfast, light lunch, heavy dinner or heavy breakfast, light lunch, light dinner).
Protein such as that found in Dannon's Nonfat Greek Yogurt, eggs, fish, or chicken breasts will keep you full for a long time, try to eat a fair amount of protein in every meal. Yogurt has become one of my favorite snacks and has a ton of protein with little fat or calories. Veggies like green beans, broccoli, and corn add few calories while filling you up and are great for you. You can lose weight with nearly any type of food if you control your portions, but making a habit of eating the right things will make it much easier to cut the cravings and keep yourself heading in the right direction.
2. Make exercise enjoyable
Enjoyable exercise? How do you do that? Well, for me I started a habit of taking my dog for a walk around the neighborhood each night. Now we are both eager to go for a walk, at least when it is somewhat warm.
I set up my Total Gym so that I walk by it every night on the way to my bed, and I've made a habit of working out on it for a few minutes each night. It's probably the best piece of exercise equipment I've ever bought, I actually enjoy playing on it and I can tell the difference now after a few months of doing it regularly. It doesn't even really feel like a workout. It probably won't get you into competitive bodybuilding shape, but for the normal person looking to keep reasonably fit? Perfect.
I have also joined a local indoor recreational soccer league. I really enjoy playing, and since I'm in the over 35 recreational crowd, no one expects me to be a superstar. I've found a community there that has created some good friends while also keeping me in shape.
On the weekends, I'll try to get away for a hike for a few hours if possible. Some of my kids have started joining me from time to time on this as well, so this is turning into a family activity that keeps everyone healthy and gives us time away from all the electronics to talk.
These are a few things that I enjoy doing. What do you enjoy doing that keeps you active? Look for ways you can turn being active into play.
3. Create relationships
If you are going to make being healthy a lifelong goal, then you need to look for ways to continually encourage yourself to be healthy. One of the best ways I've found is to hang out with others who are healthy. If someone's idea of a great visit is a bike ride in the afternoon, playing a physical game like soccer, or going on a walk, then you're likely to drift towards doing healthy things when you are around them. Likewise, if they eat healthy things, and you guys spend time together over meals, you'll likely find yourself picking up those habits as well.
|Me getting a lift from my team during one of my Tough Mudder adventures|
Ultimately, life is about relationships. Include your kids and significant other in your walks and journey toward health whenever possible. Find friends who enjoy doing healthy things, and I think you'll find yourself drifting in the right way instead of the wrong way over time.
I appreciate all the support and encouragement from my readers that I've received over the last few months on this journey. I love reading stories of how my journey has inspired others; if this series has helped you I would love to hear about it!
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Getting Back to Healthy: 3 Habits That Helped Me Lose 16lbs Reviewed by Don Smith on 3:16:00 PM Rating: