Baby, it’s cold outside. For most of us, that’s excuse enough to snuggle up with a blanket and a snack and watch TV. Working out and that diet you swore you were going to kick off with the new year, that can wait until Spring.
There are few hurdles to health more effective than a good excuse. And while the cold weather makes us all long to hibernate, that’s no way to get to a healthy weight.
Each of us has a healthy weight, a range we should strive for to be our healthy best. That doesn’t mean skinny and it has little to do with having six-pack abs. It is, as the name implies, about health.
For most of us, attaining and maintaining that healthy weight takes work. And while you put that work off to binge watch “Downton Abbey,” your body and your health is in decline. Right now, the great majority of adults in Allen County are above their healthy weight. That means they are considered wither overweight or obese. It also means they are at higher risk for a variety of problems, including heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and stroke.
So how do you get started? First off, consider a visit to the doctor. People with chronic diseases, such as a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure, should talk to their doctor about what types and amounts of physical activity are appropriate. And even if you don’t fall into that category, a medical professional can help you figure out what your healthy weight should be and offer some strategies for getting there.
If you want to calculate your healthy weight yourself, consider your BMI or Body Mass Index. That’s the figure experts use to gauge what you should weigh. There are BMI calculators online at www.activateallencounty.com.
Once you set your goals, consider how to get to it. Weight loss should be one or two pounds a week. This is considered healthy weight loss and is easier to maintain and keep off then crash dieting and trying to achieve your goal weight too quickly.
Consider some simple steps. The best way to jump start weight loss and your metabolism is simply eating a healthy breakfast daily. Focus should be still enjoying your food, but making small changes to your plate to improve your waistline. Achieving a healthy weight does not mean not eating! Healthy meals start with more fruits and vegetables with a goal of half your plate being composed of fruits and veggies. Round out your meal with small amounts of protein and grains- portion control is the key. Include low fat or fat free dairy to round out your meal and between meals, drink plenty of water.
And don’t forget to include exercise in your plan. Look for easy opportunities to reduce sedentary time and to increase active time. For example, instead of watching TV, try taking a walk after dinner. Set aside specific times for physical activity in your schedule to make it part of your daily or weekly routine. Start with activities, locations, and times you enjoy. For example, some people might like walking in their neighborhood in the mornings, others might prefer an exercise class at a health club after work.
Most important of all, find the support and motivation you need. Take the time to talk to family and friends about your goals and remind yourself often that the outcome is well worth the effort. The exchange for getting off the sofa and putting down the snacks is not just looking and feeling better, it’s living a longer, healthier life.