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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weight Loss Tips Customized to Your Needs

One of the problems many people have with losing weight is that they have trouble deciding which diet, exercise program or theory of nutrition to follow. The real secret is to find the ideas that work for you, based on your needs, goals, preferences and personality.

It's really best to approach losing weight with a combination of common sense, knowledge of universal facts that apply to everyone (e.g. certain foods such as sweets and trans fats are gong to work against your health and weight loss goals), and a recognition of your particular needs and preferences.

Keep in mind that if you are extremely obese or have a serious health condition, you can still benefit from these principles, but in such cases you also need professional medical advice.

Should I Go on a Diet?

This is a question that everyone who wants to lose weight asks themselves. You may have tried diets with little or limited success, and you may be tempted by a new diet you've heard about. This is one of those issues that requires you to be honest with yourself in order to answer it the right way.

There are essentially three approaches when it comes to diet vs. no diet.

1) A very structured diet, with rigid meal plans or pre-packaged meals

2) A more loosely structured diet with general recommendations

3) No formal diet, where you monitor yourself

Diets such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, the Cambridge Diet and many others fit the first model. Many people have found success with these, while others find them too constricting. If you're someone who feels more comfortable with structure, this may be the answer for you. Such diets provide you with many resources, such as meetings (either online or in person), strict guidelines on what to eat or sometimes actual meal packets, which leaves no room for doubt or ambiguity.

The second option is for people who want some good general guidelines on what to eat, but don't want to belong to a group or be handed their meals in packets or drink them as shakes. There are many good diets, from the South Beach Diet to the Mediterranean Diet to the Atkins Diet that many people have lost weight with. If you're going to try one of these diets, it's advisable to stick to it for at least six months to give it a good chance to work for you.

If you really don't like the idea of diets, or are burned out trying and failing with them, you can still lose weight -but you need a certain amount of self-discipline. You should also study as much as you can about nutrition, and subjects such as the glycemic index, the difference between healthy and unhealthy carbs and fats and other relevant issues.

How Much Exercise Do I Need?

This is another area where you can find many different ideas. Lately, for example, there's quite a bit of debate over whether aerobic/cardio type exercise or weight lifting/resistance training is best for losing weight. In general, it's best to do both, of course, but you also have to take your preferences into consideration. The best type of exercise to do is the kind you'll actually continue with over the long run. No exercise program is going to work if you force yourself to do it for a few weeks and then quit.

So your first priority is to identify a type of exercise that you either enjoy or can at least tolerate. If you can get yourself to the gym a few times a week, jog, or use an exercise machine at home, that's great. Weight loss is one area where you don't get extra points for being original. Tried and true exercise routines do work -if you make them routines!

Some people, however, do need to be more creative about exercise because they can't make themselves go to the gym or jog. There are many, many other options.

* Workout videos

* Jump Rope -simple but a great cardio workout

* Mini-Trampoline -highly recommended for a total body workout

* Exercise Balls

* Kettle Bells

* Racket Sports -tennis, racquetball, squash, etc.

* Mountain Biking

* Martial Arts

* Swimming

* Dance

* Power Yoga

These are just some of your options when it comes to getting physically active. Find something you can stick with, at least for a while, and then, if necessary, switch to something else in a few months. There's no law saying you have to do the exact same exercise routine year after year -in fact, your body often responds better to variety. What you do have to be consistent about, though, is doing some kind of exercise regularly!

Eating Habits and Emotions

One last area I want to touch upon is the subject of emotional eating. This lies behind many issues people have of overeating and eating the wrong foods. In some cases, eating habits are just that -habits. You may eat at certain times, eat a certain amount or certain foods just because you're accustomed to it. Try to be more aware in the future, on issues such as these:

* Do you eat to feel better emotionally?

* Do you eat quickly? (studies show you tend to eat more this way and it doesn't metabolize as efficiently as if you eat slower)

* Do you habitually take seconds or thirds of dishes?

* Do you frequently snack even if you're not hungry?

* Do you eat simply because there's food around -such as at parties, social gatherings, etc.?

The first step in changing such behavior is to be aware of it. In some cases, it's a good idea to get help, such as counseling or from a support group if emotional eating is a serious issue for you. There's no reason to feel bad or guilty about this, as it's a very common issue in our society. But that doesn't mean you can't change if you really want to!

We've looked at a few of the questions you should ask yourself as you attempt to find the best weight loss program or diet for you. When you find the best approach for your own personality and lifestyle, you have a much better chance of seeing the results you want. It's not always easy to lose weight, but people do it every day, and so can you!

Weight loss doesn't have to be hard. Get Free Weight Loss Tips to keep you informed and motivated!

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