Diabetes and obesity are reaching epidemic proportions and both are closely related to our lifestyle. Unless we change some of our lifestyle habits,this trend is likely to continue.
So, how can you improve your fitness and start your weight loss program?
Here are 7 suggestions.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND AVOID SOFT DRINKS.
A recent research study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association found a direct correlation between drinking soft drinks and obesity. Refined sugar with its high glycemic index is the enemy of weight loss.
An article published in the Los Angeles Times,September 15 2005, titled: “Liquid Candy. The Rise of Soft Drinks in America.” stated: “Soft drinks are currently the primary source of added sugar and studies connect them to obesity and nutrient deficits”.
Dr Joseph Mercola, author of “The Total Health Program” warns:”To be truly healthy, you will need to seriously consider reducing or eliminating all sugars from your diet. Consider the fact that your risk of obesity increases by a whopping 60% for each can of soda you drink a day.” Some popular soft drinks contain as much as 9 teaspoons of sugar!
Beware also low calorie or diet drinks. Check the labels to see if they contain Aspartame, a substance that can be toxic.
FORGET STARVATION DIETS.
If you go on a crash or starvation diet, you may have a speedy but transient weight loss. You will lose predominantly lean muscle and that’s what you don’t want!
Your body senses famine and goes into starvation mode. It slows down the fat burning or metabolic rate and begins to store fat.
This is the opposite to what you want to achieve.
Your body was designed to be active and a sedentary lifestyle slows down its metabolism. You don’t have to take part in high intensity exercises. Simple fitness activities such as gardening, walking and climbing stairs are beneficial. Weight bearing or resistance exercises are particularly beneficial as they build lean muscle mass and help burn fat.
These exercises are an important part of any weight loss program.
EAT BALANCED MEALS.
Try to include a balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in your diet. Your best carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, high fiber bread, fruit and vegetables. These have a low glycemic index and are released to the body slowly with increased feelings of fullness.
They are also high in fiber, an essential part of any weight loss diet. Psillium husks and ground flaxseed are excellent sources of fiber.
HAVE A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP.
In a study reported in a recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine,researchers found that overweight and obese subjects slept less than those with a normal body mass index.
The message is clear. Try to get at least 7 hours sleep each night and if possible avoid late night meals.
Stress is a major factor in sleep loss and supplementing your diet with B group vitamins, valerian root extract or valerian tea may help.
A magnesium supplement prior to going to bed may also help.
Generally they work just as well as prescription, or over the counter drugs without the side effects. You should first consult your doctor if you are having sleeping problems.
EAT REGULAR SMALL MEALS.
Most people in their healthy weight range tend to stop eating once they feel the edge has been taken off their hunger. They know they can always have more later, when they’re hungry. Try eating when you’re hungry and stop when the edge has been taken off your hunger. Binge eating places strains on your digestive system and won’t help your weight loss and fitness program.
The important message is to eat smaller portions and enjoy a variety of low GI foods to meet your daily nutritional requirements.
FINALLY, FOOD AND YOUR EMOTIONS.
It’s not normal to think about food morning, noon and night. Yet this what most people with a weight loss problem do.
You need to become comfortable with food again. Try only to think about your next meal when you get hungry,eat it,then forget it.
Food is often used by those with weight loss and fitness problems to help them deal with emotional issues. If you think you might be an emotional overeater,you need to uncover the emotions that are the cause. Are you angry, stressed or frustrated?
Once you know why you overeat, you can then focus on constructive ways to resolve it. You may need to discuss this in greater detail with your family doctor.