However, in most cases, failure does not occur because people don’t have the required strength and discipline to succeed. Against widespread opinion, it is not a simple matter of will-power. What’s often missing is an overall strategy that also allows for inevitable temporary setbacks, which, in turn, may sabotage the entire process. A lot of folks begin to make positive lifestyle changes, but then fall off the proverbial “wagon.” Consequently, a large percentage tend to give up altogether. My advice is not to keep an all-or-nothing attitude. Of course, setbacks do happen. But failures also offer a chance to start over.
Back to basics
In my book, The Healthy Diner – How to Eat Right and Still Have Fun®, I talk a lot about individual personality types and personal tendencies. I believe that our successes as well as our failures have a great deal to do with who we are. Knowing and accepting ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, is important when we are trying to beat the odds.
Learning to deal with temporary missteps – that regretfully delicious dessert or that missed workout session – and getting back on track as soon as possible is key. Sometimes it is just a question of getting back to basics and starting over. What matters most is not to give up altogether, even when our best efforts seem to falter.
And, last but not least, let’s take it all with a sense of humor. Even dieting should be fun! Well, perhaps I’m getting a bit carried away.
Where do I start?
Whether you have weight issues, recover from an illness or just don’t feel on top of your game, a thorough evaluation is always a good start. You have to determine where you are in your quest for perfect health. Your needs may be quite different from those of other people. There is no one-fits-all standard for your health.
The “Body Mass Index” (BMI) is a commonly used formula by health care professionals to assess weight-related risks, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and certain types of cancer. It is, however, only one guideline and does not apply to everyone, like women during pregnancy and lactation or athletes whose BMI is elevated due to their increased muscle mass. Your ideal BMI value is in the lowest risk category or close to it, which is between 19 and 25. You can click here to determine your current BMI.
No, we are not all created equal!
Human bodies come in lots of shapes and sizes. Often “apple” and “pear” shapes are used to describe certain body types. Carrying extra weight around the stomach is more likely to create health problems than a concentration of fat cells in the hips and thighs, due to the closer proximity to the inner organs. Measuring your “body fat distribution” can serve as an indicator. Measure your waist line at its slimmest point, without holding your stomach in. Women whose waist measurement is larger than 35 inches and men whose waist measures more than 40 inches are at increased health risk due to their fat distribution. Click here to find out whether you are in good shape or beyond…
Getting your needs met
Most people know that limiting their calorie intake matters greatly for successful weight management. Before going on a diet (any diet), however, it is most important not to lose sight of your nutritional needs. Don’t just deny yourself food and hope you’ll lose weight in the process. Your body needs food to function properly, and the more wholesome and nutrient-dense it is the better. Click here for some guidelines to determine your average calorie needs…
Know your target weight range
The average weight of men and women is generally higher today than it was two or three decades ago. In terms of potential health risks in connection with weight gain, however, it is important to have some guidance for what can be considered an acceptable range. Click here to determine your healthy weight range for your gender, height and frame size…
One last word of advice before you take off…
Please consult with your doctor before beginning this or any other program involving any dietary changes. You may be surprised to learn that as little as 10 pounds of weight loss can have a considerable impact on your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which in some cases may make it necessary for your doctor to lower your medication.
And here is something else you may want to remember, especially when the going gets tough: Don’t be overconfident when you start out, hoping that extra efforts on your part will bring overnight success. That rarely happens. For a more realistic approach, I recommend a slow but steady pace, no matter from where you start.
Remember that a healthy lifestyle does not require clear-cut distinctions between dos and don’ts. Nothing is forbidden, but everything counts. The importance lies in variety, balance and moderation. If your typical meals contain high amounts of animal protein, you can add fiber and vitamins from whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. Think of a mobile: Everything flows beautifully when all elements balance each other. Continue to Week Two »