By Tiffany Ma, Keene State College Dietetic Intern
The health club industry revenue has increased from $11.6 billion dollars in 2011 to $24.2 billion dollars in 2014. It is more common now than ever to see pop-up juice shops and Crossfit gyms suddenly emerge in your local neighborhood. Nutrition and fitness have been the fastest growing revenue generators in the nation in the past couple of years and show no signs of slowing down.
Particularly in January, we are bombarded with expensive programs and offers to improve our health by achieving a healthier weight as a means to look better, feel better, and/or be better. But what is a “healthy weight”? Does your idea of a healthy weight make you look better, feel better or be better? The following tips can empower you to define healthy weight positively and take control of your health.
You can sign up for the gym and make a commitment to run 10 miles a day, until you’re blue in the face, but none of that will matter if these are not changes you can adopt into your lifestyle. If you can maintain a routine of physical activity and eating habits for a consistent period of time, it will be easier for you to adopt these habits. Fad diets and unrealistic exercise routines are typically unsustainable and difficult to maintain consistently and healthily. Try thinking long-term, and ask yourself, “If I make the commitment to go to the gym every day, for 2.5 hours each day, will I be able to keep it up for the long haul?”
TIP – Start out slow and gradual with your lifestyle changes.
Rash and sudden changes are a slippery slope. If you are thinking of joining the gym for the first time, think of a game plan. In other words, try setting your goals by following the S.M.A.R.T guidelines. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym for making sure your goals are: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Following these guidelines will allow for more structure and track-ability in attaining your objectives.
Be Open to New Foods
You probably did not want to open up another blog post about healthy eating and immediately find yourself “yucking” and “ew-ing” at foods you know you would never even attempt to eat, even if it means maintaining a healthy weight … so let’s not do that here. But before shunning unfamiliar foods, try brainstorming a fun recipe that includes that same food but other (more agreeable to you) surrounding ingredients. The options are endless. (Lentils, anyone?)
TIP: There may be a way to incorporate nutrient dense foods that support weight loss in other ways in your diet with just a little bit of research and creativity!
The most important take away message here is, allow yourself to be open to trying new things.
Embrace Your Individuality
With so much conflicting nutrition information available today, how do we decide what recommendations to follow? It can be challenging to find a clear cut answer and the reason for this is simple: we are all different. Physiologically, our bodies are different. Our taste buds are different. We grew up with certain eating habits. We all come from different backgrounds. The notion that one diet plan or one workout plan is going to work for each and every person is unrealistic. Maybe you aren’t someone who enjoys eating salad over a sandwich everyday … and that is perfectly okay. What works for others, may not work for you, and vice versa. Look at it this way, embracing your dislikes/likes, allows for you to really pick and choose what works for you.
TIP: Continue exploring new ways to incorporate healthy eating habits into your lifestyle.
It doesn’t exactly mean eating a monotonous salad every day for lunch but it could mean eating a small green salad on the side, along with a good source of protein and a handful of nuts. Really take the time to allow yourself to enjoy the things that you like, and the things that work for you.
Even though you may have heard these three strategies, in one way or form, remember you are an individual. If you want to reach your goals, you don’t have to put your differences aside. Your experience and knowledge has gotten you to this point, so capitalize on this! At the end of the day, it is you who is defining healthy weight on your own terms.