It’s officially Spring and it’s a time of change, self-examination, and renewal. We’re all yearning to ditch the long jackets and bulky sweaters in exchange for lighter, fewer clothes. Many of us are thinking about how we’ll look when we change our look and may be dismayed at the extra weight we’ve put on over the winter.
Here are five tips for healthy approach to weight loss:
1. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO EXERCISE
Literally put an exercise class on your calendar. You’re sure to have many things vying for your attention: your work, your home, your family and pets. Exercise can help give you the boost of energy you need to power through your to-do list. The best way to get into the habit of exercise is to make it a part of your regular routine.
2. STRENGTH TRAIN
Strength training increases your metabolism and burns more body fat than aerobic exercise alone. You will not “bulk up” by strength training. Excessive body fat makes the body bulky, not muscle. Visualize this: which weighs more, five pounds of feathers or five pounds of lead? Neither -- they both weigh five pounds -- but you're going to be looking at a whole lot of feathers. The same holds true for fat and muscle.
3. SET YOURSELF UP TO SUCCEED
Set smart, attainable goals that give you something to strive for during your workouts. Goals can be anything from doing one pullup, to doing 10 pushups from your toes, to being able to run after your children or grandchildren, or to sleeping better at night. Once you have met your goal, be sure you take to celebrate your success. Then make a new one!
4. BE CONSISTENT
It can be tempting to jump right in to an exercise class and give it 110%, then feel totally worn out the rest of the week. We encourage you to make small, gradual changes. Remember, it took months to put on a few extra pounds. It will take time for it to melt away too. Go at your own pace and pay attention to your body’s cues. It’ll help prevent injuries and even make you look forward to coming back another time.
5. REMEMBER THE SCALE DOESN’T TELL THE WHOLE PICTURE.
The scale measures weight -- not overall fitness-- and it doesn't differentiate between fat and muscle. Muscle is denser than fat and tends to weigh more. There isn’t a magic bullet. It does take time to achieve fitness goals in a healthy way.
The bottom line is if you start exercising consistently, you will see results – in how your clothes fit, in how you feel, in your energy level. It does take time, but we’re in it for the end-game.