When it comes to weight loss, the usual buzzwords you might hear often include the words 'lifestyle' and 'change'...as in, you need to make one to be successful at losing weight. It may seem like losing weight is a simple goal--do some exercise, go on a diet and voila! But, if it were that simple, I'd be out of a job and you'd be too busy working out to read this.
While magazines and infomercials make it seem effortless, losing weight takes hard work and that often means changing different aspects of your life like, how you spend your time, how you schedule your day, and how/what you eat. If the way you live doesn't allow for these changes, how far will you get?
What's Your Lifestyle Like?
The reason lifestyle is so important is because how you live determines your choices and these choices decide how healthy you are and whether you're on the road to weight loss. So what is a healthy lifestyle? The typical components include not smoking, eating healthy foods, exercising and keeping the body at a healthy weight. Where do you fall on the healthy lifestyle continuum? First, figure out how much time you spend doing the following:
- Sitting at a desk
- Sitting in a car
- Sitting in front of a TV
- Sitting in front of a computer
- Eating out at restaurants
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating fast food or junk foods
- Staying up late/not getting enough sleep
Now, how much time do you spend:
- Being active in general (taking the stairs, walking instead of driving, gardening, cleaning, etc.)
- Doing cardio exercise
- Strength training for all muscle groups with challenging weights
- Preparing your own meals and snacks and eating fruits, veggies and whole grains
- Reading food labels
- Tracking your calories
- Dealing with stress in a healthy way
If you spend more time doing the things in the first list than the second, it's time to reevaluate your priorities and decide what you really want for yourself. Living healthy means spending time and energy on your body--moving it around and paying attention to what you put into it. Staying in an unhealthy lifestyle means you can avoid expending energy, time and effort...but at what cost?
As humans, we like habits and routines, so much that we often keep doing the same things even when we know they aren't good for us. Changing bad habits takes time and effort and, for a healthy lifestyle, you may be changing a variety of things like:
- What time you get up each morning
- What time you go to bed each night
- How you spend your free time
- How you spend your money
- How you shop, cook and eat
- How much TV you watch
- What you do with your family and friends
The rewards for making these changes are endless, but it's beginning that's so difficult. What does it take to change your lifestyle and how do you know if you're ready? Start with this quiz, Are You Ready to Make a Lifestyle Change to find out.