Fight Obesity, Not Yourself! Wellness-Focused Actions for Weight Loss
Have you tried every diet, cleanse, and fitness challenge under the sun, only to end up in the same place over and over again? It’s not because you’re failing at weight loss, it’s because quick-fix plans don’t work in the first place. If you truly want to transform your health, you need to transform your habits—not for six weeks or six months, but for life.
Sound tough? That’s because it is. Fixing bad habits is hard, but unlike those fad diets, it gets easier as time goes on. If you want to start building a healthier body, these five habit changes will get you started on the right track.
1. Schedule Exercise Breaks
When you’re carrying extra weight, long workouts feel all but impossible. But you don’t have to grind out hours at the gym to improve your physical fitness. You can start an exercise habit by scheduling mini-workouts throughout the day. By squeezing in 10-minute workouts before work, while dinner is simmering, and during your favorite TV show, you can meet the physical activity guidelines set by the NHS.
Working out at home requires a basic home gym, but it needn’t be cost-prohibitive. You can accomplish a wide range of aerobic and strengthening exercises with just a few pieces of equipment, such as a kettlebell, a Swiss ball or balance trainer, resistance bands, and a yoga mat for a comfortable workout surface. This equipment is adaptable to a wide range of exercises, so you don’t need to replace your gym as your fitness level increases.
2. Question Cravings
Often it’s not meals that pack on the pounds, but the mindless munching in between. Aim to become a more intuitive eater by being mindful of why you feel hungry. Women’s Health calls this doing a “body-mind-heart scan.” When you feel hungry, pause and check your physical and mental state. Are you thirsty? Bored? Tired? Anxious? Any of these feelings can trick you into thinking you’re hungry when really there’s another need at play. If you’re not sure, try fulfilling non-food needs before turning to snacks. Drink a glass of water, go on a quick walk to boost your energy and focus, or do breathing exercises to center yourself. If your hunger remains, it’s probably genuine.
3. Sleep More
Did you know that people who get insufficient sleep tend to weigh more than people who get a solid eight hours per night? According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, sleep deprivation not only leads to more eating and less exercise, it also disrupts the hormones that keep your appetite in check. Schedule plenty of sleep each night and practice good sleep hygiene so your body and mind get the rest they need.
4. Find an Active Hobby
Workout sessions aren’t the only way to up your physical activity. Adopting an active hobby is a wonderful way to incorporate healthy habits into your life while also helping you meet friends and improve your mental health. Plus, when you’re getting lost in an activity you love, you’ll barely notice you’re exercising. For fun ideas, try hiking, gardening, bowling, or dancing as an active hobby.
5. Practice Psychological Self-Care
It’s easy comfort to pop open a bag of chips when you’re feeling down, but it’s a poor strategy for self-care. After all, you’ll only feel worse after downing a few hundred empty calories. Instead of letting your emotions control you, take control of your mental wellness by practicing psychological self-care.
What does that look like? For one, it means getting professional treatment if you’re struggling with a mental illness like depression or anxiety. But it also means becoming mindful of your emotions. Instead of self-medicating with food, learn to acknowledge difficult emotions and identify solutions, not distractions. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may need to cancel some obligations. If you’re coping with relationship problems, a conversation with your loved one will serve you better than a sugary snack. It’s okay to feel negative emotions; it’s what you do with them that matters.
Losing weight isn’t easy, and it isn’t fast. Rather, lasting weight loss happens through a series of small habit changes like these. The good news? When you follow these tips, you’ll not only trim your waistline, you’ll also improve your overall wellness.
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