Lifestyle and Weight Loss

If weight loss is something you’re wanting to achieve, then there are certain lifestyle changes you will need to make, such as eating healthier and getting regular physical activity. Unfortunately, many people will turn to fad diets in an effort to lose weight quickly, and they usually do not work. Fad diets often restrict specific foods which makes them difficult to follow as a long-term diet plan, and you may even find that you actually gain weight back as a result. In order for your weight loss goals to be achieved successfully, you need to look at the broader picture and ask yourself how you can implement lifestyle changes into your long-term overall health and wellbeing.

When it comes to your diet, there are a few things you should remember:

1. Always choose foods that are fresh (i.e. fruits and vegetables) rather than processed or pre-packaged. The fresher the food is that you’re eating, the healthier it is for you. Things like canned vegetables and fruit are also okay, but many of them often contain sugar (i.e. creamed corn), so always be sure to read the ingredients prior to purchasing.

2. Don’t avoid fat. The body actually needs fat, in small amounts, every day, but the key is to make sure you’re choosing foods that are lower in fat as well as cooking with less fat. Also don’t let food label claims of being “low fat” or “fat free” fool you. While certain foods may very well be that, they aren’t necessarily low in calories — so, again, always read the labels before buying as they will list how much fat per serving is in the product you’re buying, in addition to other things such as sugar, vitamins, etc.

3. Always eat 3 healthy, well-balanced meals per day — this means breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In fact, breakfast is one of the healthiest meals of the day as it gives your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. It has also been proven that those who eat breakfast every day were less likely to gain weight or be overweight than those who skip breakfast.

4. Snacking is something that can be problematic when it comes to weight. To avoid those unhealthy cravings, consuming more high-fibre foods can be helpful as they will leave you feeling fuller longer, therefore making you less likely to overeat. Examples of foods that are high in fibre include things like brown rice, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans and peas. When increasing your fibre intake, it’s also important to increase your intake of fluids.

5. As another tip, you should also opt for baking, broiling or steaming your foods as those are healthier options in comparison to frying them, and also make sure you are choosing skinless meat, poultry and fish.

Exercise is also an important part of losing weight and works great when combined with physical activity. Per the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, it’s recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week (30 minutes per day.) How you choose to exercise is up to you. You can do it from the comfort of your own home, joining a gym, visiting a community centre as a drop-in, walking, bike riding, swimming, etc. In order to stay on a regular fitness routine, it’s important to ensure you’re choosing activities you like to do.



Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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