I’ve battled weight issues most of my life, coming from a long line of overly-plump women. Maybe it’s genetics. Perhaps it’s being from the south and having a true romance with all things fried, smothered in gravy, cover in cream sauces, or full of sugar and starch. I LOVE ALL OF THAT. But when I tipped the scales at 283 pounds and was having to take two blood pressure pills a day, I knew I had to get healthier. Not skinnier. Not more attractive. But healthier.

You may have been fit without much effort in your younger years. It becomes increasingly more difficult as age increases. Can you lose weight? You can. Is it easy? Not really. But is it worth it? Absolutely. To bring current weight down and get healthier, try some of these tips.

Cut fat, carbs, and calories

The formula for losing weight is easy, you just need to burn more calories than you consume. You must burn 3500 more calories than you consume to lose one pound. So you clearly need to be eating and exercising to achieve this deficit. The food choices made can make this easier. That said, you need to know how many calories, fat, and carbohydrates are in every food you eat. Start with the number of calories you can have a day to lose weight and choose foods accordingly. Carbohydrates provide energy to the body. Choose natural carbs that come from fruits and vegetables and not from processed foods.

Knowing the difference between cutting fat and losing weight is important. Losing weight will change your body, but the goal is likely losing the fat we have stored. This can only be achieved by a healthier diet and exercise. If your goad is to lose body fat, you have to do more than reduce caloric intake. The weight will come off, but much of your fat stores will need extra work.

Include more protein

The thing about a diet change is that you feel deprived and hungry. Increasing your protein intake will help make you feel less hungry for a longer period of time. Protein also builds muscle and helps keep cravings to a minimum. Making healthy food choices that include lean meats, nuts, and low fat dairy will help you in your weight loss journey. 

Exercise regularly

The thing nobody really wants to talk about when it comes to weight loss is exercise. If you are extremely overweight, vigorous exercise may be difficult. Walking should be incorporated into your routine at the very least. Start slow and go short distances. Gradually build up to longer walks and incorporating small two pound weights to do some arm work while walking.

Work your way up to adding more weight training into your program. Don’t worry about getting bulky. Use lower weight dumbells and more reps. Try some pull exercises to add another component to your exercise. Working all of your muscles is important. Burning calories from working with weights continues well after your done lifting. You’ll feel stronger, better, and more fit in no time.

Get family or friends involved

Getting healthy can be easier when more people are involved. Having someone to be accountable to can be a big motivator. Join a group on your smart watch that shares your activity levels. Making it a competition can encourage more activity. You could even motivate your kids to join in, making it a family competition. Anything that can motivate you to achieving your goal is a good thing.

Be realistic

It can be discouraging at times when you expect results you don’t yet see. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Remember, your weight gain didn’t happen overnight. Losing weight will take time. Don’t give up. This is another reason to have a support group behind you. If you make these changes and are consistent with the process, you WILL lose weight and get healthier. You only have one body and one life; make last longer and feel better.

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