You can lose 10, 20 or 50 pounds after several months of making continuous efforts in your weight-management program. But you may still have a hard time maintaining your weight loss, especially if you did not start your program with the physical activity component.
How can you avoid the weight regain after exerting time and effort just to achieve a significant amount of weight loss?
A study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that long-term weight-loss maintenance is related to continued performance of physical activity, self-weighing, low-fat diets and avoiding overeating. This is one of the first studies of its kind to track weight-loss maintenance for individuals over a 10-year period.
Dieting can contribute to major weight losses, but the absence of physical activity in one’s lifestyle will make weight maintenance a huge challenge. Several studies have already proven the role of physical activity in weight loss and most especially weight maintenance.
According to a 2009 study on the role of physical activity for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the primary prevention of obesity starts with the maintenance of current weight and not weight reduction. One of the researchers who conducted the study was Dr. Steven Blair of the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, who received the Public Health Award from the World Obesity Federation during the International Congress on Obesity that I attended in March.
During the conference, he emphasized that we should prioritize physical activity to improve the health of people and prevent the alarming occurrence of obesity worldwide.
So, before you even attempt to lose weight, make an effort to at least maintain your weight by modifying eating habits and increasing physical activities. It is, of course, important to monitor weight on a weekly basis to ensure weight maintenance. If you cannot avoid weight gain, then you most probably will have a harder time in losing weight. One of the most effective ways to maintain weight is to have regular exercise or physical activity lasting from 150 to 300 minutes per week.
If your willpower and motivation are strong enough, undergo a diet in order to lose weight.
However, there might be difficulties in the maintenance of weight loss if physical activity will not be a part of the program. So, how do you start incorporating physical activity in your lifestyle?
Start with the simplest and most realistic physical activity type that you can do for the rest of your life.
Walking is good for all
Think of a physical activity that matches your taste and lifestyle. The simplest form of physical activity that I always recommend is walking. You can walk most of the time regardless of the time and season. On weekdays, you can walk inside or outside your house and workplace. On weekends, you can walk around malls and parks and during vacations, you can explore a new city and shop around without even thinking of walking as a lifestyle obligation.
Walking as an exercise can eventually progress to a form of formal exercise by increasing its quality or changing the pace and distance.
You can choose to jog or run on a treadmill, or join running events in your area, or be involved in regular run training for marathon events. Start small in fitness and you can make bigger dreams a reality.
Move it, move it
Grab the opportunity to move 50 percent of your waking hours.
If you are awake for 14-16 hours in a 24-hour period, then make a conscious effort to move and stand seven to eight hours a day.
For someone who is busy (unless you are a fitness trainer or a mailman), it may seem difficult to think of ways on how to move more for seven to eight hours a day, but it can be done.
You can start by identifying and converting your sedentary times to realistic active times. For example, instead of spending one to two hours of watching television on your bed or sofa, do chores like folding your clothes while standing, use your exercise cardio machines, or watch TV in the kitchen while you prepare healthy meals for the family.
Instead of waiting for a cab for 30-60 minutes during peak hours after work, run with your friends in the park near your office, or exercise in the gym so you can convert stressful and sedentary waiting hours to active ones.
Instead of sitting in front of your desk the whole time, find every opportunity to stand up, walk around, climb up and down the stairs, stretch and do simple chair exercise routines every 30 to 60 minutes. You can always answer calls, meet with your staff and complete your reports while standing.
Formal exercise needed
Choose an exercise that you enjoy and find purposeful in your daily life.
Aside from the incidental and lifestyle activities mentioned, you still need to make time for formal exercise to improve your fitness level and increase calorie burn so you can lose or maintain weight.
However, due to our demanding and busy lives, we seldom prioritize exercise. Most people would rather spend the remaining one hour for more pleasurable but sedentary activities like social networking or watching TV.
So, to be able to prioritize and to devote 30-60 minutes a day to sweat it out, find an exercise that will make make you happy, fulfilled and that can relieve you from stress so that you’ll always look forward to doing it.
A one-hour dance workout with your close friends is such a fun and happy way of doing your cardio workout. You get to smile, you can relieve your body from stress, and you can relate well to fitness goals of your friends.
A home workout that you can do on your own or with a trainer using dumbbells and other resistance training equipment is a more practical way to achieve your fitness goals.
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