Important Lifestyle Changes In Weight Loss Programs

Posted by Aarti Shah on March 22nd, 2019

How to lose weight? Often searched phrase on google today. Getting into shape with quick fix solutions seems the easiest way to shed the excess pounds. However, to have success in weight loss programs, a permanent change in lifestyle is mandatory. Losing weight can be easy with quick fix solutions but, maintaining the lost weight is a difficult task unless lifestyle changes become a part of your routine. Today, easy availability of foods, high in calories and parallel changes in the lifestyle has led to an increase in obesity in general. This obesity has increased the risk of health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, weakened joints, heart disease, etc. in individuals at an early age. Added to this is a sedentary life wherein the amount of time invested in physical activity is negligible. Hence, to avoid any relapse of weight gain after successful weight loss there should be a heightened emphasis on lifestyle modifications.
What are these lifestyle modifications? Lifestyle modifications stress on reducing the intake of total calories along with physical activity and behaviour modifications.

We have a few lifestyle modifications that help bring permanent changes in health and lifestyle habits

1. Get Enough Sleep / Rest

Sleep of 7 to 8 hours is necessary for a healthy body and mind. Adequate rest will work towards normal hormone levels and neurotransmitter responses. Inadequate sleep can lead to poor work performance, irritability and mood swings. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that people who were sleep deprived most likely choose high carbohydrate snacks while another study showed that people who were sleep deprived choose snacks with twice as much fat as against those who slept for a minimum of 8 hours. If falling asleep is difficult, try keeping away all the distractions like mobile phones, television, and other gadgets one hour before sleeping. Do not do heavy exercise, drink caffeine, or smoke close to bedtime as it can affect sleep.

2. Have Regular Physical Activity

Physical activity is as important as a diet chart for weight loss. So, is it possible to lose weight fast with exercise alone? To achieve weight loss from exercise alone one has to be involved in very high intensity of physical activity which can be practically not possible. It is always wise to have a gradual build-up of exercise under the supervision of a doctor if one has a medical ailment requiring some monitoring. Starting with simple exercises like a brisk walk or a light jog or swimming or playing a sport would be a good way to kick start any exercise program. Always remember that exercise offers very many benefits besides weight loss. It can help boost energy levels, improve sleep, sharpen the mind and also help in increasing immunity to help fight against illnesses. It increases the energy expenditure and exercise coupled with a healthy and low caloric intake can lead to successful weight loss.

3. Cut down on the processed and packaged foods

Eating processed and packaged foods with added preservatives and additives has the potential to cause damage to the body and also affect the body’s metabolism. Food manufacturers make such foods “rewarding” for the brain, which leads to their over consumption. These foods are devoid of nutrients and just add unhealthy calories through fats and sugar (in any form) to the body which is a major deterrent in weight loss. Replace the processed and packaged food with whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meat, eggs, etc. to remain healthy at an appropriate weight.

4. Meditation

There is not much research linking meditation to weight loss. However, meditation helps in becoming aware of one’s thoughts and actions, including those related to food. This is especially true for those resorting to eating under stress. Emotional eating is a major cause for weight gain in many and meditation can play an important role in it. Meditating daily will do wonders for one’s physical and mental well-being.

5. Limit the intake of salt and sugar in diet

A weight loss diet will always focus on curbing the intake of sugar and restricting the intake of salt. The intake of sugar has increased in recent times with an increased intake of culprits like sugary aerated drinks, candies, chocolates, desserts, bakery products and packaged foods containing sugar in different forms. Sugar laden foods are a contributor to weight gain with no nourishment to the body.
Salt on its own does not contribute to weight gain but people who tend to eat more salt are usually the ones that eat a lot of processed and packaged foods. These foods many a times are high in calories and saturated fat that contribute to weight gain. Reducing the intake of these foods will also help in cutting back on salt which has cardiovascular benefits.

6. Eat home cooked meals

Restaurant food has its own taste and flavour. However, restaurant foods could have artificial flavours, enhancers, trans fat and sugar along with being high in calories. Food cooked at home is lighter with lesser masalas added which brings out the natural flavour of foods. The amount of fat and the type of fat used can also be controlled in home cooked meals. Restaurant foods offer larger portions which could force a person to eat more to avoid wastage. In the case of home cooked meals, the eating portions can be controlled thus avoiding the intake of excess calories.

7. Control the intake of alcohol

There are some studies that point out the health benefits of alcohol. However, a few studies also indicate that the best option for overall health was no drinking at all. From the point of view of weight loss, it is better to consider skipping alcohol completely. This is because alcohol has nothing to offer but empty calories. So, a single night out with several drinks can add an extra few hundred calories to your existing eating pattern. Addition of any fruit juice or sodas to the alcohol will add up to the calories further. To avoid all the extra intake of calories which in turn are converted to fat when not utilized, keep a tight control on alcohol intake.

So, is there a magic weight loss pill that brings in instant weight loss? If that existed obesity rates would not be rising. It is not enough to just eat healthy foods, exercise and follow the other suggested changes for a few days or months and then fall into the old routine again. These changes have to be a part of life. Setbacks are always a part of any weight loss program, but remember that making changes is never easy. It won’t happen all at once. It is a slow and steady process and the results are worth the wait.

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Aarti Shah

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Aarti Shah
Joined: December 26th, 2018
Articles Posted: 28

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