By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
When it comes to creating a healthier you, there are many things you can do to improve your lifestyle–and as a result your health—and weight loss is at the top of the list. Even a modest reduction in weight for many of the approximately 75% of Americans who are overweight or obese will reduce risk factors for serious illnesses.
As a member of The La Jolla Sports Club, you already have taken important steps in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Reducing calories and exercising for a minimum of 150 minutes each week is the simplest approach to weight control.
Exercising for at least an hour a day, eating a low-fat/low-calorie diet, having breakfast every day, weighing yourself regularly and eating the same diet on weekends as you do during the week are essential steps for anyone who has lost significant weight and wants to keep it off.
Lifestyle change encompasses more than just diet and exercise though. The major categories you can control, according to the LEARN Program for Weight Control, include:
- Develop smart weight loss goals that you can accomplish
- Get rid of any “it’s all or nothing” type of thinking, otherwise a lapse will become a relapse
- Don’t equate your weight with your self-esteem
- Find support in others and be clear about the kind of help you’d like from those close to you
- Forget pop diets—they are short-lived
- Portion control, count calories, and eat with moderation in your approach to food
- Stay with an individualized, systematic plan (WeightWatchers is rated # 1 by US News and World Report)
- Set achievable, realistic exercise goals
- Deal with emotional barriers to exercise
- Be sure you continue adding increased activity levels to your daily lifestyle
Of course self-care for health involves proper diet and exercise. But what are you doing to increase your mastery of stress, to improve your overall relationships, to provide for yourself financially? These are also important to overall health.
Your work-life balance, the amount and type of play in which you engage, and key environmental factors you can control are also essential elements of overall self-care. Let’s not forget about having a clear purpose in life, healthy doses of self-esteem and a spiritual foundation as well.
Exercise has been demonstrated over and over again to serve as a foundation for overall life wellness. Think of wellness as the integration of each of the areas above—mental, social, emotional, spiritual and physical. These are the areas that will expand your life’s potential and impact how you feel about your life and your ability to function effectively and cope positively, optimistically and constructively, day to day.