Staying Healthy and Fit Isn’t a Seasonal Job
Staying healthy and fit isn’t just a summer, beach body type job! To reap the benefits of a truly healthy lifestyle you need the mentality that being healthy is a year-round job! So ditch the seasonal plan or the post New Years plans and start staying healthy year round! It’s time to get back on track!
Staying healthy 24/7
Most people only really think about their health and well-being a couple of times each year:
- After the Christmas and New Year’s binge, there is the inevitable detox period where you resolve to be better and get in shape.
- When the sun comes out and you start to think about how you’ll look in swimming costume.
Outside of that there are of course the odd life events, such as weddings, or big birthdays when you want to look your best.
The problem with only looking at your weight during these times, is that often the damage is already done, you’ve probably put on too much weight, and you resort to shock tactics to get closer to the weight you are comfortable with.
Further to that, most people inevitably leave it too late to reach their desired weight in a safe way, and resort to drastic measures such as prolonged periods of fasting.
This approach is both incredibly ineffective and actually pretty bad for your health.
Side Effects of Yo-To Dieting
Research has shown so called yo-yo dieting to have several negative consequences including:
- Psychological damage – The constant cycle of gaining and losing weight, and the pressure of not being able to keep it off can lead to depression and low self-esteem
- Weak muscles – Lack of exercise coupled with poor nutrition leaves your muscles weak
- Heart disease – Constant weight cycling has been shown to increase cholesterol and raise blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease
- Immune system – Very low calorie “crash” diets, particularly when used over extended periods of time, can weaken your immune system leaving you exposed to infection
Your Year Round Solution
The solution to this is to stay in at least reasonable shape all year round, making only minor corrections at those times when you need to.
Following the standard health advice on diet and exercise will help you to achieve this, and the steps outlined below will help you make a concerted effort to smooth out the peaks and troughs in your weight.
1. Track your weight regularly
Some people do this every day, but you might be comfortable doing this less frequently. The benefit is that weight gain can’t creep up on you, you’ll see the numbers as they increase on the scale everyday. This means you can avoid the awkward moment when you go to try on your favorite suit / dress and realize that it doesn’t fit.
2. Identify your “warning” weight
This is the weight that you don’t want to go over, or stay over for long periods of time. While you should keep an eye on your weight all year round, that doesn’t mean that you are in constant weight loss mode. You can afford to relax a little, so long as you make the necessary sacrifices when you get close to your danger weight.
3. Have a go-to diet plan
As above, you don’t need to be on a constant diet, but as you start to approach your danger weight you should have a few tried and tested changes that you can make to your diet to bring you back on target. You don’t need to maintain this for long periods of time; it might be as simple as swapping out your usual lunch for soup for a few days.
4. Small and regular exercise
Get into a routine that you can do regularly. You’re far better off covering a few extra steps each day, and making sure you stick to it, than making grand exercise plans that you can’t commit to. Regular exercise helps to counterbalance periods where your diet is poor, such as over the holiday season.
5. Weight workout
Many people ignore weighted exercises altogether, focusing instead on cardio. Gaining muscle mass through simple exercises such as press ups or squats, can increase your BMR, which means that you naturally burn more calories each day. This increased muscle will not only make you look and feel in better shape, it will also help you to keep weight off for longer when your motivation wanes.
The benefit of this is clear, by adopting this approach you’ll always be within a realistic distance of your ideal healthy weight, and you should never have to do anything that puts your health at risk in order to lose a few extra pounds.
Sadly, the other occasion when people think about their weight is under the advice of a doctor.
Don’t let this be you. Be proactive, keep an eye on what you’re eating and how much exercise you’re really doing, and make sustainable changes that will improve your situation for the long run.
Start reaping the benefits of staying healthy year round!