It’s that happy time of year again when many of us throw caution to the wind and enjoy feasting on festive delicacies. Fast forward a few weeks, and the majority of people will be trying desperately to stick to New Year’s resolutions that involve living in the gym and eating leaves. If this scenario sounds familiar to you, it’s beneficial to take a closer look at why weight loss is important and explore effective ways to enjoy long-term success.
Reasons to lose weight
Weight loss seems to be a subject in which the majority of us take an interest. A survey published in Time magazine suggests that around half of the US adult population is trying to lose weight, but why is weight loss important and do we really need to be thinking about it all the time? There are several reasons why people want to lose weight, but the most significant is improving health. It’s no secret that obesity rates in the Western World are increasing, and carrying too much weight is linked to a host of health problems. If you’re overweight or obese, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer rises. People who are overweight are also more vulnerable to depression. If you have a high BMI (body mass index), losing weight to reach the healthy range can help to lower the risk of health issues and complications.
Another common reason people give for losing weight is boosting confidence. If you’ve put weight on and you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror, this can impact almost every aspect of your life. You might be reluctant to socialize, you may feel uncomfortable when meeting new people, and you might start to question your own worth or value. Confidence is so crucial and once you start to lose it, it can be very difficult to regain. Most of us have a weight range that makes us feel comfortable and content, and sometimes, losing weight can have a really positive impact on self-esteem. The key thing to consider here is your own personal perception and feelings. You should never feel pressured to lose weight by anybody else. It should be a decision you make.
Effective weight loss strategies for long-term success
There is a vast amount of information about weight loss available online, and it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and identify methods that actually work. Fad diets may be popular and trendy, but they contribute to rapid weight loss that isn’t sustainable. Unless you’re advised to cut down your calorie intake or avoid certain foods for medical reasons, for example, to try and reverse type 2 diabetes, it’s wise to adjust your lifestyle and make long-term changes. If you have medical problems, or you’re at risk of developing certain conditions, seek medical advice and make sure you understand how a very low calorie diet works and how it will benefit you. If you want to lose weight and you don’t have any underlying health issues, the best way to achieve continued success is to combine healthy eating with regular exercise. For the majority of people, burning more calories than you take in will lead to gradual weight loss.
The word diet has taken on a new meaning since on-trend plans hit the headlines and flooded our social media feeds, but in its most basic form, a diet simply refers to what you eat. The key lies in following a balanced, healthy eating plan, which doesn’t deprive the body of any nutrients or leave you with hunger pangs half an hour after lunch. Many nutritious foods, for example, vegetables and fruit, are relatively low in calories, so you can eat a lot of food while working towards a weight loss goal. One of the main reasons people gain weight is portion size. Most of us eat too much without even realizing, and taking control of the amount of food you put on your plate can make a difference. It’s also advantageous to vary your meals and to allow yourself the occasional treat to prevent boredom and keep cravings at bay.
Getting to grips with your diet is incredibly beneficial, but it’s also essential to embrace exercise. Exercise can be a brilliant weight loss tool, but it also offers a raft of amazing health benefits. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some types of cancer, and it also makes you feel great. When you exercise, your body releases hormones, known as endorphins, which lift your mood, and levels of dopamine and serotonin increase in your brain. If you’re not used to working out, the prospect of stepping into a gym or going for a run in the local park may be daunting, but just remember that everyone has to start somewhere. You don’t have to join the gym to get fit, and there are all kinds of activities you can try. You can work out at home if you’re self-conscious, or you could take a friend to a dance or spin class, go swimming, go for a bike ride or join a sports team. As long as your body is moving and your heart rate increases, you’ll reap the rewards. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
We talk and read about weight loss all the time, but sometimes, the benefits of dropping excess pounds are forgotten about. Many of us focus on aesthetics, but really, health and well-being should be the main priorities. If you’re overweight, and you’re keen to lose weight to improve your health and boost your confidence, making lifestyle changes can bring long-term benefits. Whether you’re a couple of pounds overweight, or you’ve been advised to try and drop a significant amount of weight for health reasons, getting used to a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise will improve your physical and mental health for years to come.