You knew it was coming. You had a year to plan for the reunion, wedding or maybe a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, and now it's three months away. Use the motivation from the special event to propel yourself to a healthier lifestyle even after the event is over.
First Step: Make a Plan
Whatever your motivation, take time to make a plan. Set reasonable, practical goals that you can achieve. You are more likely to succeed in reaching realistic goals when you make changes step-by-step. Start with one or two specific changes and track your progress by keeping a food and activity log.
Next, Get Your Plate in Shape
To reach your goal, start with a healthy eating plan that follows the USDA MyPlate guidelines. Each meal should contain lean protein, whole grains and half the plate filled with fruits and vegetables. Tip: Use a small plate to eat less.
Foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein foods contain the nutrients you need without too many calories. During the day, try to include foods from all the food groups. If you need help with your eating plan or have special dietary needs, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist for a customized eating plan.
Include Physical Activity Goals in Your Plan
Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness — plus it helps control body weight and promotes a feeling of well-being. Choose activities that you enjoy and do each activity for at least 10 minutes at a time. Aim for a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes or more each week of moderate activity such as brisk walking. Be sure to include strengthening activities such as push-ups and squats at least twice a week.
90 Days and Counting
Think about where you can cut out 500 calories a day to lose about one pound a week. The easiest way to cut calories is by reducing excess calories from added fats, sugars and sweetened beverages. Fill up on these low-calorie foods instead:
- Raw vegetables for snacks instead of chips
- Orange slices, berries or pineapple instead of desserts
- Flavored sparkling water instead of beer, wine or distilled spirits
- Fat-free chocolate milk instead of candy bars
To reach your goal, tracking your progress is critical. Record your food and activity in a log. Keep notes of inches lost around your waist by using a tape measure. Weigh yourself once a week and plot your progress on a calendar. Think positive and write down your goal weight on the day of the event.
Look Toward the Future
Use this event as an opportunity to jump-start your quest for a healthy lifestyle. Remember, if you didn't accomplish your weight loss goal, it's not the end of the world. You can still turn heads by feeling confident and having fun.