The results are in: Waistbands are snug, slacks are too tight, and belts have to be let out a notch or two. All signs indicate that the 2020 holiday feasts were another sugar-coated, fat-drenched success!
Come Jan. 1, 2021, an estimated 85 to 90 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions will place “losing weight” among their top goals. Unfortunately, “losing weight” is only part of the overall picture of health and fitness. As anyone who’s struggled with lifelong obesity can relate, being more than a few seasonal pounds overweight is a medical condition with more serious implications than not being able to fit into one’s “skinny jeans.”
Here are five steps to better weight management in 2021.
Change from “Losing Weight” to “Healthy Eating”
Perpetual dieters are like light switches; they’re either “on” or “off” a diet. This either/or, way of looking at weight management virtually ensures failure, because the moment a dieter takes one bite of candy, a cookie or any other “forbidden” food, he or she is automatically “off” the diet. To get out of this self-defeating trap, change the wording from “losing weight” to “healthy eating.” A mindset of “healthy eating” gives a framework for appropriate weight loss while providing more real-life flexibility than a rigid program. By giving oneself permission to make choices and adaptations, it’s possible to correct any “slips” more easily. Most of all, a goal of “healthy eating” rather than “losing weight” avoids the sense of failure that precedes bingeing or giving up.
Get the Real Skinny on Healthy Eating
Healthy eating, rather than losing weight, requires learning about what makes for good nutrition. Lest this sound boring, keep in mind that healthy eating also looks for recipes that make food taste and look as good as it is nutritionally. Even a fresh salad can wreck a healthy eating plan if it’s swimming in fatty dressing. Nutrition education also will help teach healthy food choices and ways to satisfy needs for sweets or snacks.
Watch Portions for Losing Weight
Nutritionists tell us that most people have no real understanding of the accurate size of food portions. As a result, people eat far more food than they need. In fact, portion control is probably more effective than calorie-counting at developing good weight management habits. Try this method: Measure out one cup of dry beans (eight ounces) in a measuring cup, and then pour the beans into a plate or bowl. If the portion seems too small, that’s a sign that previous portions have been too large. Start measuring food portions to develop a better sense of appropriate portion sizes.
Get Moving for Fitness
Healthy people who manage their weight successfully get a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. Aerobic exercise is any activity that raises the heart rate and requires more oxygen, such as walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, dancing, racquetball, volleyball and tennis. Dieting by itself will never achieve good weight management; it must be accompanied by an increase in exercise to create the calorie deficit that results in weight loss. Start an exercise program slowly, but persist in activity. Always consult a doctor before undertaking a new exercise program.
Make a New Year’s Resolution to be Patient
The urge for instant success in losing excess pounds lies behind every weight-loss fad. The excess weight didn’t appear overnight and it won’t go away overnight. The goal is not merely to lose weight in the New Year; it’s to create lifelong habits of nutrition and exercise that will result in good health for years to come.
Seniors Walking Plan
It’s never too late to create a healthier lifestyle and get in shape. Seniors can seriously improve their quality of life and lessen pain by following a healthy diet program and participating in a regular walking plan.
When aches and pains come as naturally as waking up, it can be difficult to get moving or motivated to lose weight. But often times, doctors recommend weight loss as a way to relieve stress on bones, joints, tendons and muscles. Every bit of exercise seniors can manage, however small to start, is beneficial for their overall health.
The benefit of a seniors walking plan is the ability to lose weight and feel better. Ideally a senior walking plan should start off slowly and built up over time. Knowing your physical limits is the key to finding the right amount of exercise.
A good way to start a senior walking plan is to include some walking every day. At first, this may be a short walk around the block, but as weeks go by and the starting distance of the walk becomes easier, seniors can add time and distance to their walking program.
Ways to include daily walks:
- Talk advantage of nice weather and walk outdoors. Use neighborhood sidewalks, local paths, and parks for a nature tour while walking.
- Contact your local high school. Some schools offer a special time for seniors to walk their indoor track for free.
- Contact your local mall. Some malls have walking clubs where you can earn points for every mile walked. This is another safe, indoor option for seniors.
- Can’t get out of the house? Try a walking video. Walk Away the Pounds is a great program that is simple and can be done in your living room.
Talk to your doctor before starting any kind of fitness routine. Seniors with health concerns may have some limitations as to how much walking they can safely do. A senior walking plan, however, can be tailored to meet your needs. Anyone from a couch potato to an avid walker can get involved at their own pace. Listen to your body and pay close attention to aches and pains beyond the norm after walking. If you are out of commission for several days after walking, you probably have been too ambitious and need to try a shorter distance to start with.