It’s the New Year and time to recommit to getting fit for 2012. Here are the Top 12 Ways to Lose Weight and Get Fit for the New Year.
- Make fitness and health a priority in your schedule. Look at your calendar now and set aside time dedicated to exercise 3-6 days a week. While every day activity is best, the minimum amount of exercise needs to be at least 2 hours for the week. This can be a combination of cardio, stretching and resistance training. Consistency is the key here. Working with a fitness professional or sports doctor is excellent to setting up a program that is consistent with your goals and will help you progress to more advanced activities as you become more fit and your goals change.
- Establish reasonable short and long term goals. Begin with determining your body fat percentage by your doctor of personal trainer. Remember your percentage of muscle to fat is more important than your total weight, so be sure you lose fat and gain muscle in 2012. For men your body fat percentage needs to be in no more than 20% and preferably under 18% and for women keep it under 27%. This way you can make sure you are losing fat, not muscle. In the office it is common for people who have lost weight to end up with injuries because they also lost muscle and therefore got injured.
- Incorporate resistance training into your workouts. Build one pound of muscle you will burn 30-50 calories a day with everyday activities. This is the only way to change your body shape, too. Meet with a personal trainer or fitness professional to set up a workout that will get to your goals, including changing your body shape. Once you have a workout established you can meet with your fitness professional as often as you would like, but we’ve found changing the workouts every 6-8 weeks is best to sustain progress. Before you meet with a personal trainer be prepared to answer some simple questions such as: What are your goals, how much time will you dedicate to exercise daily and/ or weekly, and what types of exercise do you enjoy. Then they can get you started immediately with a personalized fitness and weight reduction plan.
- Maintain an exercise log to track your progress. Overtime your fitness level will improve and certain exercises will need to increased in intensity, duration or frequency and others may be dropped completely. Maintaining a workout log enables you to keep track of your progress and set new goals as you succeed.
- Get a workout partner. This will help you to stay on track, push it a little harder and get you going on the days where you are tempted to slack off. Even better, is to have a friendly competition for weight loss with a colleague, friend or co-worker. This simple step keeps us all accountable even if you may not be concerned about bragging rights at the water cooler! For those of you who are more altruistic, pledge to donate money to a local charity for every pound of weight lost. Get beyond yourself and you will find losing weight can have a purpose beyond your health. This is a real win-win.
- Remember weight management is basic math. Calories in vs. calories out. Eat foods high in nutrients and low in calories such as vegetables, lean meat, and fruit and avoid foods high in calories and low in nutrients such as fried, processed, sugary and fat laden foods. Avoid all soda, alcohol, high fructose corn syrup and junk foods. These are empty calories and cause spikes in blood sugar leading to inflammation and weight gain. A recent study found that even zero calorie drinks still increase the risk for developing obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Eat the amount of food for your goal weight. Get used to this level of caloric intake and keep your food choices simple. Do not get distracted by the foods that taste great but are full of empty calories. Begin your new dietary lifestyle today by planning your meals everyday and even for the week. Many meals can even be prepared ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated. To help reduce your serving size, use smaller plates and do not over fill them.
- Food is fuel to enable you to function and reach your health and fitness goals. If you eat emotionally, intercede with prayer and meditation to release those emotional triggers. If the body is the temple of God, then we need to treat it with the respect it deserves. Furthermore, research from Cornell University found that Christian men were more active and physically fit.
- Eat breakfast, and several small meals throughout the day that contain protein. Smaller more frequent meals keep your blood sugar consistent, increases your metabolism, fends off hunger and keeps you from binging when you are hungry. Be sure to sit down and eat slowly, too. Snack on raw nuts, trail mix or protein based foods during the day as opposed to sugary snacks. A simple way to watch this is by eating foods with a low glycemic index. For a list of foods and their glycemic index, which is how fast they turn into sugar and drive fat production – email me and ask for the Glycemic Index Chart and I’ll send it back.
- Begin with an anti-inflammatory diet. While this is not a weight loss diet specifically, an inflammatory state causes fat production and weight gain. It will also reduce any joint and muscle pains which will make keeping and active lifestyle and exercising easier. In fact, here is a comment from a patient who was given the anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis.
“Within 3 weeks I was pain free and 10 lbs lighter. Now, 2 months later, I am off Aleve, which I've taken for years to combat the arthritis in my knees AND I've dropped 21 lbs (with nothing but a change in diet). My cousin joined me in my new eating plan and no longer has leg/ankle swelling, no longer takes a diuretic and has lost 15 lbs. As someone who has needed to lose weight (for YEARS!) this is an eating plan I can follow, even when I travel the country giving workshops and eating in restaurants.”
To learn more about the anti-inflammatory diet watch this video: http://www.defabiochiropractic.com/doctor/chiropractor/1001L/berkeley-heights-chiropractor/video.htm
- Sleep. Research has shown that sleep deprivation is a factor in weight gain so be sure to get enough sleep, 6-8 hours a day. Sleep also reduces inflammation and strengthens your immune system.
- Remember consistency is the key in exercise, diet, sleep and in maintaining your new lifestyle of health and fitness. Focus on your everyday success and don’t worry about missing a workout here or there. Rebound from setbacks and be sure to get right back on track. Setbacks are inevitable, and the secret is to stay consistent over time and not let a weekend barbeque lead into three weeks of overeating and not exercising.
Fit is the New Thin is a comprehensive lifestyle program designed to promote fitness through physical, emotional and spiritual health. Developed by Dr. Donald DeFabio, a doctor of chiropractic in private practice in Berkeley Heights, NJ, the goal of Fit is the New Thin is to empower you to become healthy and look great with proper nutrition, positive imaging and targeted exercise rather than watching the scale.
Dr. DeFabio is dual board certified in chiropractic orthopedics and sports injury management as well as a certified personal trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He may be reached at DeFabioChiropractic@gmail.com or via his website at www.DeFabioChiropractic.com.