Here is a simple program of proper eating and physical activity for the purpose of losing weight and being healthy and fit. The foundation of this program is the first step which deals with growing one's desire to be fit. You may think of the first step as “the right thinking” and “the right feeling.” Next, you will learn about setting goals for proper eating and physical activity. Finally, you will learn about the importance of socialization and celebrating one's achievements. If you follow the simple steps outlined in this article, you will be able to shed the unwanted pounds and find a way into a happier, healthier, and more useful living.
Step One – Grow Your Desire to Be Fit
This is the most important step as all great human endeavors start with a passion or a desire. The desire can be very small at first but with some care it will grow and flourish. How strong is your desire to be fit? Notice, that I changed the wording from “how to lose weight” to “how to grow your desire to be fit”? The purpose of this change is to word the goal of weight loss in positive terms. Often, we feel miserable if we think of the things we don't want and we feel good when we think of the things we want. It is important to state your goals and desires using only positive words, the words that make you feel good and get you excited. In fact, if you grow your desire successfully, the rest of the steps will be very easy because they will only fulfill your desire. Your desire or goal could be stated in other words as well like “to be slender”, “to be healthy” or “to have a great physique”. Once you know the right wording, write it down on several pieces of paper, perhaps index cards, and put them up all around your house: on you work desk, on the inside of your door, on your bathroom mirror, on your bed stand, in your car etc. The idea is to surround yourself with your goal and be constantly reminded of it.
Here are some other suggestions on how to grow your desire to loose weight: make a list of things you would do if you lost weight, make a poster representing the things you would do if you lost weight, watch movies and/or read books about loosing weight. You must understand that a desire is not just a thought but also a feeling—that's why it is so special. Human beings are driven by feelings more than they would like to admit so it only wise to harness the power of feelings in order to lose weight. How are you going to feel when you are fit? Grow your desire to be fit into a burning desire. A burning desire can do miracles... Stop identifying yourself as an overweight or an unfit person. Instead think yourself as a slim person who picked up some weight and a fit person who let up on being fit. There is a fit and healthy person inside of you!
Step Two – Set Healthy Eating Goals
An important aspect of being fit is eating healthy. If you have done your step one properly, you probably have imagined yourself eating healthy. You probably imagined yourself eating healthy foods like leafy greens, colorful vegetables, tasty nuts, and potasium-rich bananas. Consider how various foods make you feel. Most of us probably can relate to being sluggish and sleepy after a burger with fries. You probably will feel light and fit after eating leafy greens with lean proteins like chicken or turkey. I hope feeling good excites you and motivates you to learn more about healthy foods. Don't forget to consider the portion size. Can you imagine yourself feeling good and fit if you eat a huge amount of food in one sitting? Most likely you will feel good and on track to being fit if you eat small meals. Look out for over-sized restaurant food portions. You will always have more control and be more aware of what you put in your body if you prepare your food at home.
How are you going to learn about healthy foods? Here are some ideas: join a local healthy eaters Meet-up, talk to a nutritionist, seek counsel of a health-conscious friend, read books and online articles, make friends with people who eat healthy. There is a lot to be learned about nutrition and you will be eager to learn about it if you nurture your burning desire to be fit and healthy. From the first day you should set your healthy eating goals being sure not to overwhelm yourself. Just focus on one or two changes and keep the rest of your diet as it is. For example, if you don't eat breakfast, your goal could be to start eating breakfast. If you're in a habit of visiting a fast food drive-through, think about a way to feed yourself in such a way as to avoid the guilty pleasure of a drive-through.
Top 10 Best Foods - Nutrition by Natalie
Opinions vary on what healthy foods are so you will have to decide for yourself. Here is a video by Natalie on Top 10 Best Foods.
Top 10 Worst Foods - Nutrition by Natalie
Here is a video by Natalie on Top 10 Worst Foods.
Step Three – Set Physical Activity Goals
If you have been cultivating your desire to be fit and healthy, you probably have imagined yourself engaging in some kind of physical activity. Notice that I did not use the word exercise but rather physical activity because it is a broader and more welcoming term. It is hardly possible to be fit and healthy without a certain amount of physical activity. Being active not only strengthens your muscles, improves posture, increases your lung capacity but also releases endorphins that make you feel good. Therefore, physical activity should be a non-negotiable part of your day and it is up to you how to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Think about what physical activities you enjoyed as a child and maybe still enjoy. Do you like running, swimming, cycling, walking, hiking, yoga, baseball, basketball, roller-blading, bowling, dancing, weight lifting, aerobics, gymnastics, working in the garden or other physical labor, tennis, racquetball, soccer, volleyball, golf? Whatever it may be, make it a part of your daily routine. Give it a priority in your schedule e.g. going for a run first thing in the morning. Invite friends or family members to engage in that activity with you but don't let them derail you. Seek out a trainer, join a walking group, or get a gym membership—whatever works best for you. Make sure to pause for a moment after each physical activity session and become aware how good you feel about keeping yourself active.
Step Four – Set Weight-Loss Goals and Track Your Progress
Define your nutrition and physical activity goals in two-week increments and track your progress towards them. Let's say your healthy eating goal for the next two weeks is to eat breakfast and your physical activity goal is to walk vigorously 20 minutes each day. By doing so, you hope to lose 2 pounds in two weeks. If you lose 2 pounds in 2 weeks, that translates to 4 pounds in a month, 12 pounds in 3 months, and 24 lbs in 6 months. That is a moderate and reasonable plan for losing weight. Every morning weight yourself and record your weight on your calendar. That way you can see day by day how your body reacts to your nutrition adjustments and the new regiment of physical activity. Likewise, record your physical activity on your calendar so you have a visual progress indicator. You can give yourself permission to "cheat" once a week if you're craving a particular food but don't make it a habit. Likewise, you can give yourself a day of rest once a week if you feel like you need it. You don't want to develop a sense of deprivation which may derail your health and fitness quest.
Your results may vary for a number of reasons so be patient and keep on course. For example, at the end of two weeks you may notice that you only lost 1 pound or maybe even gained weight. You can't get discouraged because you're on the right path—healthier diet and a program of exercise are bound to produce measurable results. Pursue your desire to be fit even more passionately by setting new nutrition and physical activity goals but be sure to not overwhelm yourself. For example, over the next two weeks, you may resolve to be active 30 minutes each day and replace fast food meals with a healthier alternative. It may be enough to have healthy snacks in your car or at work in order to avoid a fast food drive-through. If everything goes well, you will see your body weight gradually drop in your daily weight-in. You are on your way to a healthier self and make sure to savor and appreciate every little improvement. The little successes will help to grow your desire to be fit and will drive you to set even more ambitious proper nutrition and physical activity goals.
Step Five – Socialize and Celebrate Your Achievements
Make sure to pat yourself on the back literally and figuratively for every pound you lose and celebrate your achievements with friends or like-minded people. For example, you may celebrate every 10 pounds you lose by going out for a healthy meal or gathering your friends for a barbecue. That way you will build your “fan club” and get a lot of positive social support. Soon you may find that friends are asking to join you on your walks or runs and want to imitate the positive changes you're making in your life. Jump at every opportunity to help somebody else to lead an active and healthy lifestyle as it will be a great motivator to continue your own course towards health and fitness.
Before long, the weight might not be the main objective of your active life style. Instead you may set goals like running 5 miles or 10 miles or swimming 50 laps or riding a Century (100 miles) on your bicycle. Furthermore, the success you experience in keeping yourself healthy and fit is bound to spill over into other areas of your personal and professional life.
Cultivate and grow your desire to be fit and healthy. Use anything and everything to fuel this desire because that is the foundation of your healthy and active life style. Visualize yourself being fit and healthy and imagine how you will feel when you're fit and healthy. Come up with a simple plan to improve your diet and make physical activity a part of your every day. Set goals and track your weight and physical activity on a calendar as visual progress indicators. Set new goals every two weeks and celebrate your achievements. Grow and/or strengthen friendships with like-minded people and jump at every opportunity to help others to be fit and healthy. Before long you will experience success in shedding the unwanted pounds and you will find a path into a happier/healthier and more fulfilling life style.