Obesity is connected to preventable health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Unfortunately, more than 70 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese.
But all is not lost. While some health conditions can make it difficult to manage your weight, incorporating some small lifestyle changes into your daily routine can make a big impact.
“Creating a healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination,” says Ascension Via Christi Weight Management educator Leann Moore, who recommends that you consider these tips as you’re charting your path to a healthier weight:
- Set realistic goals and measure your progress beyond the scale. Healthy weight loss is often the byproduct of a lifestyle built on healthy habits. Instead of focusing solely on the scale, which can be discouraging, consider setting realistic goals and measuring your progress with a calendar, journal or app tracking the number of times you enjoyed a healthy meal or engaged in physical activity. Recognizing your accomplishments along the way, says Moore, can help you build and sustain your momentum.
- Drink plenty of water, especially before meals. Water aids digestion, boosts your metabolism and promotes a healthy body-mass index (BMI). “It’s a good idea to start your day with an eight-ounce glass of water before having your morning coffee,” says Moore. “If you struggle with drinking water because it seems bland, try fruit-infused water or the flavored waters.”
- Cut back on added sugar. Natural sugars from fruits are easier for your body to break down. But, added sugars, like those found in sugary beverages, get trapped in the body and turn into fat. Moore recommends having fruits readily available so that you’re prepared when experiencing a craving for something sugary.
- Eat more fiber. Fiber is best for your body in its natural state. The American Diabetes Association recommends adding whole grains, fruits and veggies with high fiber content to your diet. “Eat at least three cups of vegetables daily,” says Moore. A good way to make sure that happens? Designate an evening as “prep night” for your meals that week.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Studies show that inconsistent or interrupted sleep is a major risk factor for weight gain that can slow progress and sabotage your appetite, hormones and metabolism. “Set yourself up for success by setting a routine for bedtime, including turning off all screens at least an hour you hit the sack,” says Moore.
- Stick to an exercise plan. Staying active for 60 to 90 minutes most days of the week is vital for a healthy weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But don’t overwhelm yourself. Start small with activities you enjoy. If gyms aren’t your thing, try taking a scenic walk or playing a game outside. Finding a workout buddy and making your goal public can be helpful in sticking to an exercise plan, Moore says, so invite and tell a friend or two.
For more about Ascension Via Christi Weight Management in Wichita, go to viachristi.org/weightloss or call 316-689-5232.
For weight management experts in Manhattan, visit viachristi.org/light.