Tips to Make Fitness a Way of Life

By: Robert Thomson

As the years add up, so do the pounds, making it extremely difficult to keep the weight down. Five pounds this year, ten pounds before that, until you realize that you need to find a working solution to help alleviate your weight issues. It doesn't help that restaurant portions are often big enough for three, and that one fast food burger is enough to throw your whole week. But there are some simple and effective ways to start slimming down, and here are just a few.

Make a plan.

Preparation is one of the best strategies for weight-loss success. When you find yourself hungry and without appropriate food choices available you may very well choose unwisely. One of the best ways to avoid that potential pitfall is to look at your upcoming week and then shop and cook, accordingly. Whenever possible make more than you need and then freeze meals to have ready when you're too tired to cook. The key is to make tasty and nutritious meals easily available to you.

Also be sure to keep numerous low and no-calorie snacks on hand. Unbuttered popcorn is a great choice, as are fresh fruits and vegetables to munch on. And don't forget the water! Often when a person feels hungry they're really just dehydrated, so drink a big glass of water and then see if you're still hungry; even if you are the water will help give you a sense of fullness. Note: most low-calorie beverages are good to help curb hunger but some low calorie sweeteners actually trigger hunger pangs; nothing beats pure clean water, so don't forget to make it a part of your day.

Get up and move

Who isn't tired of hearing this one? But it's true that one of the biggest culprits for weight gain stems from leading a sedentary life. And it's an age-old Catch-22 because we're too tired to exercise, even though exercise is one of the proven things that helps give us energy.

There are numerous ways to get moving and even the little stuff adds up. When you go grocery shopping consider parking at the end of the lot and walking to the store, and then upon return to your car, why not walk the empty shopping cart back? Is the weather lousy but you want to get your walk in? Find an indoor mall or track and have at it!

One of the best ways to get fit is to find an activity that you're truly passionate about. For some it's running, or possibly swimming or paddle boarding; what physical activities sing to you? If you're just starting out try unique forms of exercise like a belly dancing or Zumba class, and don't forget to add good old-fashioned stretching to your cardio workouts; any kind of yoga class will be good for both your body and peace of mind.

Some do best if they have an ultimate goal in mind, such as training for a marathon or competition; whatever it takes to get you moving just do it, but first be sure to consult with your physician to know what's right for you.

The key elements for fitness are commitment and variety. It's all too easy to find excuses not to get up and out but if you can get past that initial hurdle you'll feel so much better once you're at it. Plus studies show that exercise is good for your emotional well-being, as well; that combined with looking fit will doubtless do wonders for your self-esteem.

Be strong when dining out

This one is tricky because portion sizes have become so out of control. Plus, you have very little knowledge of how items are being prepared. Thankfully, more and more restaurants are getting on board, and many will provide you nutritional details, upon request. Some restaurants even work with weight-loss organizations to provide you with a mini-menu of health-conscious choices.

More times than not you can easily divide your portion into thirds and put the remaining two portions in a to-go box. Also be careful to avoid "vacant" calories such as breads and sugars, and also try to look for items that will give you nutritional bang for your buck; a grilled chicken salad with a non-creamy dressing on the side is a good bet, but skip the cheese and croutons, if possible.

Recognize your "trouble" times.

Do you eat when you're sad or stressed? Or maybe you get the munchies while watching television late at night? Look at your eating patterns and acknowledge when your danger zones occur and what triggers them. Keep sensible snacks on hand like sorbet instead of ice cream, popcorn instead of chips, so that you can feel satisfied but stay on track.

Finally, don't forget to celebrate your victories. Think of the way you mentally review weight loss and gain; how often do you stress over gaining five pounds but then diminish successes by saying "I only lost five pounds?" Words have power. Thoughts have power. So when you lose weight and become stronger don't forget to celebrate! Skip "rewarding" yourself with a burger and fries and instead treat yourself to a new outfit, a massage or some other treat that makes you feel good about yourself and your progress.

When you find fun ways to be active and start treating weight-management as a lifestyle instead of a diet you will begin to see success, and you'll soon see that feeling good and looking good is well worth the effort.

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Heidi Burns is a freelance writer who writes on health-related topics for Visit this site today for more information and fast weight loss!

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