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Wellness tips to maintain a healthy weight

Has it been a long time since you’ve stepped on a scale and got excited to see how many pounds you weigh? If you answered “yes,” then you struggle with your weight, so the scale is not likely your friend. With millions of Americans struggling with their weight, the nation’s obesity epidemic is a public health crisis.

And it’s a problem that continues to increase in spite of all the physical fitness messages that we are inundated with in our society. We have so many opportunities to lose weight from dietary regimens to planned meals to workout classes. So why aren’t we, as a nation, healthier?

While many people are able to lose weight, keeping the weight off is another matter entirely. If you’re relying on a test of wills to help you lose weight, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Willpower, as it turns out, isn’t the best approach to facilitate weight loss. Because in our junk food packed society, temptations are everywhere.

And data show that relying on willpower as a strategy to attain a healthy weight will undoubtedly set people up to fail. Why? Willpower is reduced over time. Think of it this way, you spend your day making all kinds of decisions: Easy decisions like what to wear to work to more difficult ones that affect our health and finances. With each decision, researchers theorize that we deplete the limited amount of willpower we have as our day moves along. So when we’ve tapped out our willpower reserve, we tend to make poor decisions like snacking on chips, donuts, and candy bars or trading in our workout to lounge on the couch in front of the television.

So if willpower isn’t a reliable strategy for a healthy diet and weight, what is? It’s essential to find what physical activity means to you. Tailor strategies for a healthy lifestyle around things you enjoy. Also, be flexible in the process of achieving a healthy weight because wellness is a lifelong endeavor and what may have worked at one stage in your life may not be cutting in anymore. Here are some healthful tips that you can use to trim down your bulging waistline and achieve a healthier life.

What’s it Worth to You?

When it comes to achieving a healthy weight, shift your focus away from a desired dress or pants size and place your attention on life-improving strategies. Use meaningful goals to fuel your passion for health and fitness to help you achieve a healthy weight. For instance, perhaps you want to feel energized throughout your day or you want to keep up with your children when it’s playtime.

Let’s Get Physical!

Physical activity isn’t the same for everyone. So while your spouse may love running, maybe you enjoy swimming or walking. Take the time to figure out what you like and don’t like. Think long and hard before you invest in a gym membership. Have you signed up for a gym membership only to pay a monthly fee and you rarely make an appearance? If this sounds like you, don’t repeat history. Try something new.

Find Walking Buddies.

While hitting the gym is a time-restricted activity, there are many opportunities to walk throughout your day. Try to identify those times in your day when you can walk. It may be during the lunch hour at work. Ask someone at work if they want to walk with for a couple of minutes during your lunch hour.

Be “Step Wise.”

I know you’d rather take the elevator. It’s faster. If your office or apartment is in a reasonable distance from the ground floor, take the stairs — it’s good cardio!

There are many benefits to engaging in regular physical activity. Shedding those extra pounds helps to keep a healthy weight; lowers the risk of high blood pressure; reduces the risk for chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke, and cancer; and improves symptoms of anxiety and depression. And while physical activity helps to curb weight gain, eating a healthful diet is an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle. Watch my healthy weight video for tips on foods that prevent weight gain.

Photo credit: Sergey Nivens/

Baumeister RF and Tierny J. Willpower – Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. New York: The Penguin Press, 2011.

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