by Anne Torres, NASM Personal Trainer, PN1-Certified Nutrition Coach
We live in a world that thrives on instant gratification. We look for quick fixes for everything. When it comes to weight loss and achieving our version of the perfect body, we reach for pills and injectables and even surgery as the solution. Or, on the other end, we are constantly going on the latest fad diet. While these methods can work in the short term, they don’t address the root cause of the problem. Not to mention, they often come at a cost, both to our pocketbook and to our health.
Instead, by taking a long-term approach rooted in changing one’s behavior, we can create lasting change. First, it starts with examining one’s relationship with food – eliminating starvation diets that slow down one’s metabolism. And, instead, look at our beliefs around food, as well as our habits. Recognize unhealthy patterns, such eliminating entire food groups, emotional eating or binge eating. Instead, establish healthy eating habits and behaviors – nourish our bodies with real, whole foods, such as lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and high-fiber foods. Engage in behaviors like eating when we are hungry, eating slowly and mindfully and eating until we’re 80 percent full.
If the goal is weight loss, you will have to create a calorie deficit (not a low calorie starvation diet) but that’s much easier to do with whole, high fiber foods than it is with processed foods. Start with one small habit at a time, such as adding a serving of vegetables at lunch, practice it for a couple weeks and then add a new habit. This will take time!!
Second, it’s important to incorporate exercise into one’s daily routine. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week plus two days of strength training in order to be healthy. If you don’t currently exercise, start small. Start by walking 20 minutes a day 4-5 days a week and build from there. This will also take time.
Let me emphasize the time factor. Even by exercising and eating healthy, it’s important to understand that results take time. You aren’t going to see results overnight. There are no quick fixes when it comes to one’s health! Be patient. Keep showing up. Keep doing the work of eating healthy and exercising most days.
But understand you will have setbacks. There will be days when you don’t exercise and days when you blow it and eat an entire birthday cake. But don’t give up, throw in the towel and think what’s the use. Eliminate all-or-nothing thinking. And just get back to exercising and eating healthy the next day. You will fall off, and you get right back on! It’s not about perfection. Just stay the course!