By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
A healthy weight puts less stress on the muscles, joints and biological systems of the body. It also provides an individual with increased self-esteem, confidence, energy, and everyday productivity. This article helps identify key components that can be implemented for safe and effective weight loss.
1. Exercise helps keep you lean: Regular physical exercise such as strength and aerobic training plays an important role in weight management. Strength training burns calories, improves body composition by building lean muscle tissue, and thereby reduces fat stores in the body. Aerobic training also burns calories and helps control blood sugar levels. Current guidelines recommend 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, 3 to 5 times per week. Be sure to incorporate components of strength and aerobic training to ensure you are getting the full benefits of exercise.
2. When it comes to diet, many things count: The average individual should consume 1,400 to 2,000 calories per day to meet the body’s total energy needs for daily functioning. Simply put, any extra calories consumed above what is required for daily functioning will contribute to an increase in weight gain. Sensible eating should consist of nutritional balance with the correct proportion of quality carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Individuals should avoid refined sugars and starches, along with trans-fats. Refined sugars and starches adversely disrupt blood sugar and put your body into fat storage mode, while trans-fats pack many unnecessary calories. Successful weight loss can be attained by planning your meals, cutting down serving sizes, eliminating unhealthy snacking, and minimizing foods that can be detrimental to your health.
3. Increase water intake: Water contains zero calories and is a great fluid replacement for other high calorie drinks such as alcohol and sodas/carbonated drinks. Drinking water before meals can help kick-start metabolism and act as an appetite suppressant. Water also regulates metabolism by assisting with lubrication, digestion, and transportation of nutrients.
4. Get enough sleep and rest: Research suggests that people who do not sleep for six to eight hours per night are more prone to weight gain. Regular restful sleep allows for important biological systems to recover and recharge. Without this rest, the additional stress on the body will activate the release of cortisol, a hormone that is linked to weight gain. In addition, sleep deprivation is believed to affect appetite hormones which can contribute to food cravings and overeating.
5. Ask for help: Achieving weight loss is not always simple. Whether you are dealing with a medical condition, require help rehabilitating from a physical injury, or need advice on exercise, diet or nutrition, surround yourself with healthcare professionals who can help you reach your weight loss goal.
For additional information on diet, exercise, managing weight loss, and improving your physical health, visit www.nhwc.ca.
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only. It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.