Several of our patients have been coming forward with the same questions and concerns, primarily with regards to how to get healthy before the summer hits. This is common around this time of year. People wonder why they have gained weight over the winter months and are urgent to get in shape before their diet spirals out of control.
In general, these concerns stem from vanity – people want to look good in their summer wear and come seeking help because they want to improve their physical appearance. While there is nothing wrong with that, the real problem is in how excessive weight gain, particularly around the stomach area, can cause enormous health problems if the situation isn’t reversed or fixed. Weight gain over the winter and fall months are normal for most people. As summer fades, we change to bulkier and heavier clothing and if we start to get plump around the mid-section, it’s less noticeable in a sweater and jeans than in a tank top and shorts. But having excess fat around the waist can lead to clogged arteries, spikes in cortisol levels and lead to problems with the thyroid and even increase mental health issues such as stress or depression.
Studies suggest that starting a new lifestyle can be achieved by slowly changing habits. And it can take up to three weeks for habits to stick. Losing weight can begin by starting the 21 day diet plan, a system that allows for detox by decreasing sugar and carb intake and increasing protein and vegetables. It’s also the best way to slowly integrate new lifestyle changes and see dramatic increase in energy and an improved mood. If you start dramatic lifestyle changes without a slow integration process, you’re at risk for quitting before you even get started. The best way is to gradually decrease sugar and carb consumption and try to eat proteins from lean sources such as beans, fish, chicken and low-fat dairy sources. By consuming healthy fats such as low quantities of raw nuts (almonds, peanuts or pistachios) and olive oil, you’ll decrease your hunger and these mono-saturated fats help to trim the waist line.
In addition to eating healthier, you must keep your body fully hydrated by drinking plenty of water and sugar-free fluids like green tea which also boosts the metabolism and keeps you feeling full and satisfied after each meal. It’s important to add exercise into your diet as well. By exercising regularly, you’ll not only burn calories and increase your caloric deficit each week and lose weight, but you’ll grow lean muscle which helps burn fat faster than simply restricting calories alone. If you can start exercising a minimum of 30 minutes a day for three days a week to start, you will develop a habit and the exercise becomes easier and even enjoyable. Increase this to four or five times a week after a month and then increase your exercise amount to 45 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise. You will be amazed at how much fat you will shed and how enjoyable the workouts will become. Only by combining both a healthy diet with regular exercise will you be able to get the body you desire and the health level you need in a short amount of time. Remember that starting now is the only way to get the results you want as soon as possible. Let us know how you do and which exercises you enjoy most.