During this time of year, many people are working on health commitments that they made for the new year. For many people, this involves losing weight or getting in shape. While these can be worthwhile goals, sometimes the way we try to reach them involves complicated diets and workout routines that can be difficult to stick with. If you are trying to lose weight or simply manage a healthy weight, there are plenty of simple strategies that can help. Today we will look at some easy lifestyle approaches for managing a healthy weight.
This strategy may surprise you. We wanted to start off with something a bit easy—well, at least something that sounds easy. Many studies prove that better sleep means better health in many different categories.
Here’s one reason why getting enough sleep can help you maintain a healthy weight: The better sleep you get, the more energy you have stored up for the day; the more energy you have, the less your body will seek from food sources. Food is energy, and your body will crave more food—specifically more quick-energy foods like high-sugar carbohydrates—if you are running low on energy. So, the better rest you get, the less likely you are to overconsume.
Another reason why sleep has such a big impact on maintaining a healthy weight is that lack of sleep puts your body in a state of stress. When your body is in a state of stress, your cortisol levels rise. This can cause you to hold on to whatever fat stores you have because your body is trying to make sure you have plenty of them to survive whatever is stressing you out. Lack of sleep can send your body into this survival mode that can prevent your other weight-management strategies from being effective.
It is no surprise that staying active is on pretty much every list of how to manage a healthy weight. Staying active and exercising regularly can help boost metabolism, regulate hormones, and reduce overconsumption from boredom, among other benefits. Additionally, exercising can help shed off some of those calories we consume and some of those old calories we consumed that got glued to our love handles.
When we are more active, we tend to have a more positive outlook on our other health habits. The more active we are, the more we may want to make healthier choices that support our active lifestyle. For example, being more active may encourage you to drink more water and less sugary drinks. Also, staying active is a proven way to help you get better sleep.
What’s more, the CDC points out that while a calorie deficit will lead to weight loss, “the only way to maintain weight loss is to be engaged in regular physical activity.” The CDC also offers a handy chart to help you figure out what kinds of physical activities and how much of them you should engage in to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Check it out here.
Sometimes, we may eat out of boredom, as a part of a routine, or just because other people are eating. Additionally, when we do eat, it may be on the go, in the car, standing up, or while engaged in another activity like working or gaming. Those kinds of consumption habits can have a big impact on how much we actually consume and can train us to be less aware of our body’s hunger signals. We may end up overconsuming or just not feeling satisfied after our meals.
A strategy that has become more and more popular is taking a mindful approach to how, what, and when you eat. Mindful eating means establishing awareness of your hunger cues. Before you eat, you can ask yourself, “Am I really hungry? Am I eating just because someone else is eating? Is this food what I really want to eat right now?”
Taking the time to be more thoughtful about what and when you consume can lead to greater satisfaction from fewer calories. You may end up eating less of foods that don’t support your body and more of the foods that make you feel great because you’re taking the time to reflect on how your food makes your body feel.
Here is a great source for getting started with mindful eating habits from Harvard Health Publishing.
Hydrating is critical for so many aspects of your health. Staying hydrated allows your body to function at its best. Not only is water calorie-free is also boosts your metabolism and helps your body process waste. If you are trying to get rid of some excess fat, staying hydrated can help your body do that more efficiently.
Additionally, water may help with more mindful eating. Sometimes we can confuse thirst signals for hunger, so staying hydrated can help you make sure that you are picking up on your body’s hunger signals.
Water is also key if you are working on being more active since you also may be losing more water than your body is used to. You’ll want to add extra ounces of water to balance your increased activity and drink before, during, and after exercise.
If you don’t think you’re getting enough hydration, you can try weighing yourself before and after physical activity; the scale will reflect how much weight you lost from sweat. Try to drink 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound you lose during the workout.
Strive for Balance
Overall, maintaining a healthy weight is a balancing act. You expend energy all day long doing things like running around after your kids or even just breathing. You take energy in when you consume your food. If you are looking to maintain your weight, you want those two sides of the equation to balance out.
If you are looking to shed some pounds, you’ll need to take in less energy than you expend, which sounds way easier than it is. Most health experts agree that reducing your daily calories by around 500 is the sweet spot for weight loss—and you should never try to cut out more than 1,000 calories in a day. That adds up to an average of one to two pounds of weight loss per week (depending on your daily calorie deficit).
If you are trying to shed some weight, one to two pounds per week may sound painfully slow, but again balance is key to success. Many dieters find themselves in a cycle of dieting and overconsuming due to unsustainable weight loss attempts. Taking the slow-and-steady approach will allow you to build new healthy habits into your lifestyle without adding too much mental or physical strain to your already busy life!
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to unlock a wealth of knowledge and guidance on your wellness journey. Follow Zion HealthShare on social media today and embark on a path towards a healthier, happier you. Together, let’s embrace the power of healthy living and make a positive impact in our lives and the lives of those around us.