If you’re like most people, you’ve probably made a promise to yourself that once the holidays are over, it’s time for a fresh start. And, for approximately 100 million Americans that promise is to lose weight.
For those wishing to drop a few pounds in the coming year, the best way to start and stick with that journey is by establishing a healthy lifestyle.
“Establishing a lifestyle including exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can help you reach your weight loss goals,” said Raynelle Shelley, Registered Dietitian at Scott & White Clinic – Round Rock.
Shelley suggests eating a balanced diet of whole, natural foods to help you reach your goals for a healthier lifestyle. Foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, contain vitamins and minerals as well as other compounds, such as antioxidants, that can be beneficial to your health.
“For those who don’t get enough vitamins and minerals through whole foods, particularly fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, taking a vitamin and mineral supplement or eating fortified foods may be useful in reaching your daily requirement,” said Shelley. “But always talk to your doctor or registered dietician before taking any supplements.”
If you’re trying to lose weight with diet and exercise, be sure to get a good night’s rest on a regular basis. Individual needs vary, but most people require seven to eight hours of sleep each night to maintain maximum energy levels, to allow your body to replenish carbohydrate stores, and allow your muscles to heal the small injuries that may occur during intense workouts. Research has demonstrated individuals who get less than 4 hours of sleep per night are 50% more likely to become overweight or obese than those who achieve adequate rest. People who rest/sleep adequately have better health, lower divorce rates, higher job satisfaction, fewer doctor visits and generally feel better.
“Water is one of the most essential nutrients in our bodies, and many people don’t know how much is enough,” said Shelley.
Many misconceptions exist about how much water to consume each day. Aim for at least half of your body weight in ounces of water and other non-caffeinated fluids daily to keep you hydrated and replenish the water you lose throughout the day.
Many of us forget to replace the water we sweat out during exercise, so to make sure you’re getting enough. One way to determine if you’re hydrated is by evaluating the color of your urine. Clear urine is a positive indicator for hydration where dark yellow colored urine indicates dehydration.
Start your day full of energy by taking a few minutes to eat a hearty breakfast. A good breakfast, oatmeal, whole grain cereal with low-fat milk, egg whites with 1 egg yolk, 15-25 grams of whey protein, fresh fruit with a carton of low-fat yogurt (any around 60-80 calories), will help keep your energy steady throughout the day, and decrease the potential for you to backload calories later at night.