We’re a few weeks into the year and many of the resolutions made are a distant memory. You may have picked up a few pounds from social gatherings, grandma’s delectable cake or the leisurely pace of the holidays. Unfortunately, for many the few pounds picked up over the holiday is more than a slight annoyance because it’s on top of the weight picked up through the year.
What should you do for yourself and family to drop the unwanted pounds? Over the years I’ve learned there are hundreds of things you can do for weight loss. However, I’ve also learned that there are only a half-dozen things that make the biggest difference. Below you will find six things to incorporate into your lifestyle.
- Move More. Adults should get a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. Children and adolescence should get 60 minutes of daily physical activity. The activity can be in as small as 10 minute increments. Adults, teens and children should also engage in strength and bone-density building activity. For more information, go to http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/default.aspx.
- Get 5 a Day: According to the CDC, about 1 in 4 U.S. high school students ate fruits less than once daily and 1 in 3 students ate vegetables less than once daily in 2010. Most students are failing to meet the daily fruit and vegetable recommendations. For kids who are finicky eaters, hide veggies by pureeing and adding to some of your favorite recipes. For example, add pureed carrots and zucchini to your spaghetti sauce.
- Eat Less: Eliminate trans fats (animal fat). Reduce the amount of sugar, sodium (salt) and refined grains you consume such as crackers and chips. Sodium is hidden in foods like soup, frozen meals and breads. Check labels and choose items with lower sodium content. Ensure half of your grains are whole grains. Additionally, switch to fat-free or 1% milk.
- Manage Your Portions: Enjoy your food but eat less of it. Avoid “supersized” portions. Reduce your waist size and save money by sharing a plate when dining out or having dessert.
- Avoid fad diets: Notice none of the above items suggested the grapefruit, cabbage or protein-only diets. While healthy, there were no recommendations for consuming super foods like berries or bee pollen. Keep it simple.
- Drink plenty of water: People can live only about one week without fluids. Water helps us digest food, regulate body temperature, move blood around our bodies, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, removes toxins and other waste, keeps our joints from rubbing together and protects our tissues and organs. Fluid is used up daily for all the jobs it does. Our bodies lose even more when we’re exercising or perspiring. It’s important to drink enough fluids so that our bodies have enough to function properly.
For healthy eating tips, visit http://choosemyplate.gov!
Proper nutrition is critical components of preventive medicine, and can help to reduce the risk for the three top killers - heart disease, cancer, and stroke. It can also reduce the onset of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Wayne B. Moss is BGCA's senior director of Sports, Fitness and Recreation.
BGCA has helped more than one million youth get fit, eat smart and improve their social skills through our Triple Play program, made available through the generous support of the Coca Cola Company and the WellPoint Foundation. Because parents play such a critical role in the development of a child’s physical and social well-being, BGCA and its donors produced a Parent’s Game Plan. Feel free to use activities at home with your family.
Remember, keep it simple and get moving!