Unfortunately I haven’t exercised in a long time nor eaten very well over the past few years and my scale has told me all about it. I can’t stand the way I look in the mirror without clothes on and it’s really started to affect my confidence too. I need to change my habits around I just don’t know where or how to start doing this. What do you recommend for someone who is just about to start off on a weight loss path?
Thanks for your time and advice!
Healthy Question of the Week 8
Thanks for taking the time and having the courage to send in your question. You are actually in a similar situation I was in just a couple of years ago so I know exactly what you’re feeling right now. However, by simply deciding that you want to change is one of the most important steps you need to initially take so kudos to that! Reason being, if you never come to terms with the fact that habits must change in order to lose weight and get fit, then nothing will ever change and the situation will likely worsen.
Since you’ve decided you want to lose weight, one of the most important items of business you need to take care first is fixing your daily nutrition. That’s not to mean you have to only eat salads, but you should get rid of all the junk food from your diet such as potato chips, crackers, and especially soda and those sugary energy/juice drinks.
One of the first habits I developed was to drink lots of water each and every day – I mean alot! For every meal and throughout the day. Not only does water add absolutely 0 calories to your overall daily total, but it really helps fill you up so you don’t have to deal with extreme hunger cravings and binge eating the next time you’re confronted with something to eat.
Next are the choices of food for your meals. If you’ve been a regularly attendee of fast food establishments or restaurants, it’s time to start changing that around. Not only will cooking your own food at home allow you to have complete control over everything that is prepared, but you will have better control over the portion size instead of having to deal with a 1,500+ meal from the fast food drive thru window or at a restaurant table.
Better yet, when you cook at home, it’s easy to double the recipe to help ensure there will be leftovers afterwards. With these leftovers you can now pack an appropriate portion into small plastic travel containers to take with you to work. Healthy eating throughout the day will help ensure you stick with an appropriate calorie count for the day which will prevent you from gaining more weight.
Controlling portion size and your overall calorie total for the day will mean you won’t be overfilling your tank (body) with too much sustenance. If you’d like to find out what an appropriate calorie total is for you, take a look at this page. Also an easy and free way to keep track of the calories you eat is with this website or app for a smartphone called MyFitnessPal.
Once you have a strong hold on your daily nutrition, it’s also important to start getting a regular form of cardio exercise. This is a great way to not only burn calories/fat from the body, but to get your muscles and body into better shape. Just make sure you get your doctor’s clearance before starting any regular exercise routine.
Take it very slow at first especially if you have not exercised in a long time. When I first started out, since I hadn’t worked out in about a decade, I started with plain old walking. 30 minutes a day at first, and slowly over the following few months increased the duration to about an hour and a half. Once I had improved my endurance, I started both hiking in some nearby hills close to my house, and also jogging a bit around my neighborhood.
The point to drill into your head is consistency. Change is not going to happen overnight. Only after a consistent healthy routine is adhered to on a regular basis will your weight loss goal be achieved. Even though it may be extremely tough to initially change your habits and get used to moving regularly, your entire outlook on this process will change.
Best wishes on your healthy life-changing journey and keep me posted on how things go.
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