Have a Healthy New Year
Now that the holidays are over and 2007 is upon us, resolutions are being made right and left. And what is the most popular New Year’s resolution of all time? Weight loss. Most people have made this one at least once, and scores will be making it again this year. This time will you meet your goals? Here’s help to you get started.
Focus on Health
Many people enter into diet and exercise programs with only one thing in mind: how many pounds can I take off? While it’s natural to want to lose weight and look your best, it’s important to accept that healthy, permanent lifestyle adjustments will help you to live a longer, better life. Weight loss is only beneficial if it’s safe weight loss—the kind that enables you to lose weight at a reasonable rate, reducing fat and not muscle. Many diet plans enable you to take off pounds, but unless there is a healthy balance of food groups and adequate protein levels, you may be burning muscle instead of fat.
The best way to achieve your goal is to focus on something more manageable than trying to attack the big picture all at once. For example, a popular strategy for weight loss is to set an initial goal of no more than 10% of your total weight. Once you reach that point, you will be motivated to go further. Another commonly used method is to cut out or cut back on one or two particular unhealthy eating or drinking habits such as consuming sodas, second helpings, or frequent desserts. Such simple, unstructured changes can be excellent places to start, and you will be healthier for making them.
Exercise is key to adopting a more healthful lifestyle, achieving healthy weight loss, and essential for reducing fat and building muscle. Consider joining a fitness class or learning a new sport. Many gyms offer specials for new clients at this time of year.
If joining a gym isn’t for you, find an activity you enjoy doing and have fun with it, whether it’s walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing with your kids. Make time for movement every day, and you will find your energy levels improving while weight loss accelerates.
Most people find it easier to do something new as part of a group, and building a support system may be paramount to achieving success. You may find benefit in joining a program such as Weight Watchers, though it is as important to keep track of your total body composition and fat ratios as it is the pounds on the scale. It is always helpful to consult a physician for suggestions.
Dr. Cary Lacefield, a family practitioner in Harrah, has recently undergone certification training for FirstLine Therapy, a therapeutic lifestyle program geared toward supporting healthy lifestyle choices. The 12-week program includes meal planning, exercise, stress management, sleep management, and appropriate nutritional supplements. Participants have their body composition checked at each appointment with a bio-impedance analysis, and the physician, lifestyle educator, and patient develop an individualized program to meet his or her needs. According to Dr. Lacefield, “The candidates for FirstLine Therapy are those who would like to combat and prevent disease and experience the best possible health while minimizing the risks that come with prescription medications.”
The beginning of a new year is a great time to exercise a little change for the better, including your weight and your overall health. Good luck to you in your fitness endeavors, and remember to be sensible and realistic in your goals, and always put your health before your vanity!
Shannon Fields is a freelance writer and a Certified Pharmacy Technician at Innovative Pharmacy Solutions. She holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Shannon lives in Edmond with her husband and two daughters.