Weight Loss Tweaking Your Lifestyle

Weight Loss Tweaking Your Lifestyle

Despite our national propensity to​ overeat,​ under-exercise,​ and grow steadily heavier and more out of​ shape,​ we​ all yearn to​ be slender,​ fit,​ and attractive. Our culture rewards the​ thin and the​ beautiful; look at​ how we​ devour celebrity gossip,​ mesmerized by the​ looks and energy of​ our current favorites.

Why the​ discrepancy between our aspirations and our reality? There are a​ plethora of​ reasons,​ most of​ which can be traced to​ the​ simple fact that life gets in​ the​ way.

“I’d love to​ cut back on​ my food intake,​” we​ think,​ “But I have to​ attend all these work functions and have little control over the​ meals that are served.” “I would really like to​ get in​ shape,​” we​ complain,​ “But there’s no free time and I can’t afford a​ personal trainer like the​ movie stars I see.” “I really want to​ take care of​ my skin and my body,​” we​ wail,​ “But I’m so busy that a​ quick shower and a​ slap of​ moisturizer is​ all I can fit into my schedule.”

It would be so wonderful to​ have loads of​ free time: to​ plan our days; to​ cook low calorie,​ healthy meals; to​ exercise without time constraints; to​ be able to​ pamper ourselves without the​ pressure of​ deadlines. Unfortunately,​ our lives are too hectic for that to​ happen in​ the​ foreseeable future. we​ can throw up our hands in​ frustration and join the​ legions of​ the​ overweight and the​ unfit,​ or​ we​ can work out a​ personal plan that fits within our lifestyle,​ taking us where we​ want to​ go,​ albeit not quite as​ quickly or​ completely as​ we​ would prefer.

Your life,​ your time,​ the​ demands and responsibilities you face,​ vary on​ an​ individual basis. You will need to​ calculate what works for you,​ and what cannot be realistically accommodated. Here are some ideas to​ consider:

1. Diet

Eating on​ the​ run,​ at​ your desk,​ or​ on​ the​ rubber chicken circuit,​ wreaks havoc with even the​ best-laid diet plans. if​ you weigh even a​ pound more than you’d like,​ try to​ identify where you are going astray.

If fast food on​ your way to​ an​ appointment is​ your downfall,​ look at​ what you order. Almost all drive-thrus these days offer salads. the​ problems with those salads can be minimized by throwing away the​ little bag of​ croutons (fried) and omitting the​ packaged dressings (loaded with fat). Carry your own individual container of​ low calorie dressing,​ opt for (unsweetened) ice tea,​ black coffee,​ or​ a​ diet soda,​ and avoid those sugar-laden colas like the​ plagues they are.

If you lunch at​ your desk,​ ask yourself what are you eating? if​ it’s takeout,​ by all means have a​ cheeseburger or​ a​ sandwich. Just discard the​ bread or​ bun and eat with a​ plastic knife and fork,​ cut into raisin-sized pieces that will fill you up fast. French fries and onion rings? You just don’t want to​ go there.

Is your office always filled with snacks and treats (as most of​ them seem to​ be these days)? When the​ snacks come by,​ go to​ the​ bathroom or,​ better yet,​ take a​ brisk walk around the​ building to​ beef up your “won’t” power and clear the​ vision of​ goodies from your head.

If business lunches,​ dinners,​ or​ those awful meeting banquets are your obstacles,​ plan ahead. Lunch is​ relatively easy: salad (with your own dressing,​ of​ course) or​ fish and cottage cheese are available almost anywhere. For dinner,​ try two low calorie appetizers instead of​ an​ entrée. Best of​ all is​ something that you have to​ work at​ – crab legs,​ unpeeled shrimp,​ an​ artichoke (hold the​ hollandaise) – it​ will take a​ lot of​ time and no one will notice how little you are actually eating.

Banquets are particularly difficult because a​ plate is​ plunked in​ front of​ you,​ filled with food you would never order by choice. Cut whatever protein and vegetables there are into little pieces and chew slowly. Spread the​ rest out over your plate and play with it​ to​ delay the​ onset of​ a​ syrupy dessert. Get a​ cup of​ black coffee and place it​ squarely in​ front of​ you to​ thwart that eager-beaver waiter who keeps trying to​ slide a​ plate of​ pie onto your table.

Entertaining in​ the​ home creates a​ different set of​ problems because usually you know the​ hostess and want to​ avoid creating any bad feelings. Fall back on​ allergies as​ no one wants to​ see you break out in​ hives in​ the​ middle of​ their party. Carry a​ club soda or​ mineral water with you and no one will notice that you’re not drinking.

Over a​ period of​ time,​ these little changes can have a​ significant impact on​ your weight. if​ you’re hungry when you get home,​ make sure that you have some liquid protein or​ a​ health shake available to​ complete your daily nutritional needs.

2. Exercise.

With the​ best of​ intentions,​ millions of​ us purchase gym memberships. if​ we​ all actually used them on​ a​ regular basis,​ as​ we​ promise ourselves we​ will,​ there would be waiting lines spilling into the​ streets. Health clubs can keep signing up more and more members because they know that the​ number of​ regulars will stay about the​ same as​ the​ new enrollees will show up in​ a​ burst of​ initial enthusiasm but within a​ few short weeks will gradually fade away.

Unless you have a​ job with very regular hours,​ something few of​ us enjoy these days,​ it’s difficult to​ commit to​ going somewhere on​ a​ regular basis. we​ mean to​ go but then an​ important meeting comes up,​ our significant other asks us to​ do something,​ or​ the​ kids pester us to​ drive them somewhere.

Our high demand lives almost force us to​ obtain our exercise at​ home. Television is​ replete with home equipment that promises to​ flatten our abs,​ define our pects,​ and re-sculpt our entire bodies. Despite their assurances that the​ equipment easily folds away,​ we​ know our apartments can never accommodate a​ Bowflex or​ a​ Nordic Track. Where do those buyers live? in​ the​ suburbs,​ we​ suspect,​ where the​ expensive equipment is​ soon relegated to​ the​ basement or​ the​ garage to​ gather dust until some future yard sale comes along. Equipment,​ except for minimal contraptions such as​ elastic bands and hand weights,​ are just too much trouble,​ and setting them up takes too much time.

Slipping exercise into your schedule is​ most easily handled (and therefore more likely to​ be regularly repeated) by pursuing activities that can be initiated without any preparation time,​ special clothes,​ or​ long periods free of​ interruption. the​ old standbys of​ pushups,​ situps,​ stretches with weights,​ yoga,​ and calisthenics have stood the​ test of​ time for a​ reason. They can be inserted into your crowded schedule at​ odd moments of​ the​ day and require no preparation except a​ short warm-up. Some of​ the​ newer programs: callanetics,​ pilates (some),​ killer exercises,​ and video workouts also fit these requirements.

When you unexpectedly find a​ secret half hour free,​ take a​ walk and,​ if​ you can,​ magnify its benefits with an​ occasional bout of​ sprinting.

Such a​ plan may not make you into a​ Mr. or​ Ms. Universe but it​ will keep you limber and semi-fit while avoiding that energy-devouring guilt you develop when you set your sights too high and then fail to​ follow through.

3. Taking care of​ yourself.

We have all read the​ accounts of​ Cleopatra bathing in​ asses’ milk to​ bleach and smooth her skin. But she was a​ Queen,​ for heaven’s sake! She didn’t have to​ get up at​ the​ crack of​ dawn to​ fight the​ traffic into the​ office. She didn’t have to​ take care of​ a​ husband,​ a​ house,​ or​ a​ child. You’d have the​ time to​ leisurely bathe if​ it​ weren’t for cleaning the​ house,​ washing the​ clothes,​ finishing that report for the​ office,​ helping the​ kids with their homework,​ cooking dinner,​ and picking up Aunt Mildred at​ the​ airport.

We know we​ need to​ take care of​ ourselves. we​ want to​ perform the​ routines that will stave off the​ signs of​ age that wait just around the​ corner. we​ would love to​ take a​ long daily bath or​ shower,​ polish our skin to​ perfection with a​ loofah and scrubbing powders,​ envelop ourselves in​ skin softeners and lotions,​ and pamper our face and hair with special cleansers,​ masques,​ and skin brighteners.

Again,​ our lives get in​ the​ way. we​ work out a​ minimal routine of​ makeup remover,​ toner,​ and moisturizer. we​ shampoo our hair when we​ can and occasionally find the​ time for a​ special oil treatment or​ facial. it​ is​ hard to​ be fully motivated when the​ signs of​ age are brief and fleeting. When I have more time,​ we​ tell ourselves,​ I’ll work on​ it. Twenty years later,​ the​ wrinkles have set in,​ the​ jowls have puffed out,​ and our skin carries the​ scars of​ sun,​ wind,​ and gravity. Then we​ bemoan our lack of​ care through the​ years and try to​ minimize the​ ravages of​ time already indelibly imprinted on​ our looks.

By all means,​ stick to​ your rapid daily routine. Sure,​ you could get up earlier in​ the​ morning and have time for more self-care but you’re already,​ like most working-age Americans,​ sleep-deprived.

One solution is​ to​ identify one period a​ week when you can steal a​ couple of​ hours for yourself. Women,​ especially,​ shortchange themselves,​ too busy taking care of​ everyone else and ignoring themselves. Stake out your claim to​ that two hour window as​ if​ your life depended on​ it. Use it​ only for you. Use it​ to​ take deep treatments for your face or​ your hair. Use it​ to​ practice relaxation,​ listen to​ music,​ or​ walk in​ the​ rain. Use it​ to​ pamper every part of​ your body and spirit. Use it​ to​ think about yourself,​ and your goals,​ and your dreams. Use it​ to​ appreciate yourself and the​ good things life has brought you. Use it​ to​ lay plans for future self-development and use it​ to​ become your own best friend and confidant.

Our lives are so filled up with what we​ have to​ do that our wants and internal needs are often unmet. in​ even the​ busiest and most demanding schedule,​ there are moments we​ can carve out for ourselves,​ but only if​ we​ absolutely insist on​ it. Right now is​ the​ time to​ become assertive about your own self. You too deserve a​ brief moment in​ the​ sun.

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