Seven Ways to Support Weight Loss
By Marrian McQueen, Wellness Manager
Believe it or not, losing weight and keeping it off is a challenge for many of us. This time of the year is when most folks throw caution to the wind when it comes to our holiday meals. We tell ourselves we will make changes with the New Year. These include resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking, and to just take better care of the planet and our lives in general. Okay, let’s say you’ve made up your mind to lose weight; here are seven ways to help support your goal.
- Decide to work out; find yourself a workout buddy. Someone that will hold you accountable for working out and vice versa. Schedule your workouts. Be consistent with your workout, it’s no secret that you must stay active to keep the weight off.
- Learn the right moves; it is good to know the muscle groups you are targeting. In the beginning enlist the help of a trainer. If you are not using proper techniques you could do more harm than good. Proper form and technique will decrease your risk of straining or pulling muscles.
- Before you start your workout, warm up; spend five to ten minutes just going through the motions of your workout at an easy slow pace. You need to increase blood flow and oxygen to your muscles or you will increase your risk for injury. Walk first then jog.
- End your workout by cooling down; not cooling down afterward could cause unnecessary muscle soreness. Your body needs time to adjust to inactivity after a strenuous workout. Let your heart rate come down slowly by doing low-key stretches for five to ten minutes. You could bend over reaching for your toes or walk after a run.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise. As a general rule drink four-to-eight ounces of water for every fifteen to twenty minutes of exercise. Muscles need fluid to contract properly. Lack of hydration can increase your risk of muscle spasms or aches.
- Set realistic goals; your fitness goal must be realistic or else you are setting yourself up for failure. Trying too much too quickly is probably the biggest mistake you can make.
- Pay attention to your diet. Weight loss is minimal if you’re not watching what you eat. In a study on obesity, women who improved their diet and exercised regularly shed the most weight (an average of 11 percent of their starting weight) compared to women who only exercised. The exercise only group lost an average of 2 percent of their starting weight. Read the labels on all the food you eat. You can’t prevent weight gain if you don’t know what or how much food you are putting into your body. Pay close attention to calories, fat, sugar and sodium content. Incorporate a diet of lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables along with a good fiber supplement followed up with an abundance of good spring water to wash it all down.