As the New Year begins, many of us are setting resolutions to better ourselves in 2013. If weight-loss is your goal, there are several healthy ways to give yourself both a head start, and a successful finish.
First, it’s helpful to consider weight loss as an equation of sorts. Healthy Diet + Exercise + Rest = Healthy Body Weight. One component of the equation will not work as well without the others.
Let’s first start with the concept of a healthy diet. For optimal health (and ultimately weight loss), it’s important that your diet consist of fresh, unprocessed foods. Steer clear of chemicals and additives, as well as white pasta, rice and breads; bleaching depletes foods of nutritional value. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables is ideal, as well as a variety of grains, and lean protein if you choose to eat meat. If your diet is vegan or vegetarian, you can get all the protein you need from eating a wide assortment of whole foods.
Daily exercise is necessary to maintain and reach a healthy body weight. What’s the best type of exercise to choose? Something that you’ll actually do! Joining a gym that’s within walking distance from your house, or a yoga studio that’s on the way home from work is a good idea. Of course, My Yoga Online has some great options. Even gaming station personal trainers are a good choice because of their convenience. Perhaps your office has a gym; some workplaces also offer subsidized or complimentary lunch hour fitness classes. Even a brisk walk to and from the grocery store counts as exercise, the key is to work some form of physical activity into your daily routine.
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting a full night’s rest; this is when our bodies heal, recharge and grow. In order for our various systems to function optimally, we need to prioritize sleep. Count backwards from the time you plan to be up in the morning, and set your bedtime accordingly. Quality of sleep is just as important as quantity, so do your best to create a restful environment. Turn off cell phones, TV’s and computers at least a half hour before bed. Read something relaxing (nothing overly stimulating!), take a warm bath, or drink a mug of herbal tea. Parents with young children might not have the luxury of a full nights sleep. In this case try to squeeze in naps whenever possible. Even a 20-minute rest while baby sleeps can have a renewing and calming effect on Mom or Dad.
Resting and keeping calm positively affects our health, and our ability to find a healthy weight. Conversely, too much stress can cause an over production of the hormone cortisol, which slows metabolism, making weight loss challenging. Our bodies also have a tendency to hold on to fat when under stress. To maintain a healthy weight and good overall health, it’s crucial to have tools to productively handle our problems and difficulties. Yoga is a perfect way to remain calm under pressure; it teaches us many positive techniques, most simply to let go of tension by taking deep cleansing breaths. A daily yoga practice will have a tremendous impact on reducing the amount of stress in your life.
If you’re looking to improve your health in 2013, it can be helpful to let go of the idea of weight loss altogether, and focus instead on the concept of leading a balanced and healthy life. Make positive choices your priority, and you’ll be guaranteed to feel and look better.
Charlotte Singmin is a certified yoga instructor, yoga therapist, and writer, with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for health and wellness. She loves to travel and is eagerly collecting yoga certifications. Charlotte recently became a proud new mom is grateful everyday for all the love in her life.
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