Now that the holiday season is over, many people may be noticing their clothes have gotten a little tighter around the waist and perhaps gained a few extra pounds from over-indulging. Some will have made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and some will have made the resolution to get more exercise. These are both great resolutions and easy to keep, as long as they are included as part of an on-going health routine.

We are constantly inundated with all the ads on television, radio, and in magazines and newspapers, about how ‘this plan’ or ‘this product’ or ‘this new exercise routine’ is the ideal way to lose weight. And what about all the reality shows of heavy people parading themselves in front of the cameras hoping this will be the way to loose those extra pounds. Let’s face it. North Americans are preoccupied with their weight. Even though tens of billions of dollars are spent on weight loss products and services annually, North Americans are gaining weight faster than they’re losing it, and the incidence of obesity is on the rise.

The problem is, many people who diet think weight-control methods are only successful if they lead to a rapid loss of weight. When the lost weight is regained, many dieters tend to blame themselves as a failure when it’s actually the weight-control method they were using in the first place. Too many weight loss methods fail because they become unpleasant. Hunger, depression and a feeling of deprivation often occur while on a diet, which eventually can lead to eating binges, a return to previous habits, and weight gain. Often people find themselves gaining back all the weight they lost and more!

There is also a widespread belief that individuals can achieve any body weight, shape, or size they desire if they just diet and exercise enough. This could not be farther from the truth. People naturally come in all different shapes, weights and sizes and these factors can only be modified to a certain extent. No matter how hard a man may work out, he may never achieve that “washboard” stomach, and women need to realize many clothing models are very underweight. Most women would have to literally starve themselves to be that thin! Not a healthy option.

In order to be successful, enjoyable eating and exercise habits are needed to keep excess weight off and quick weight-loss methods don’t change habits. Weight loss is only successful if it is safe, healthy, and prevents weight regain. A successful approach to weight-control focuses on healthy eating and exercise for a lifetime, rather than on and off dieting.

One program, which is gaining acceptance among consumers and health professionals in the United States and Canada, is called “Health at Every Size”. According to Nancy L. Keim, a chemist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, “The “Every Size” strategy, a health-centered rather than weight-centered program, may help chronic dieters reshape their thinking, shed unhealthy habits, adopt new patterns of eating, become more physically active, and increase their self-esteem.” The program emphasizes strategies such as eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full; accepting your body size; enjoyable physical activities; healthy eating behaviors; how to have a peaceful relationship with food; improved self-esteem; and social support networks. Although the program does not lead to weight loss in the short term, the program reduces a number of health problems related to obesity and can help children, men, and women achieve healthy eating patterns, a better quality of life, and improve long-term health.

Changes in diet and exercise most likely to be maintained are small, acceptable, and easy to implement steps. Focusing on being healthy instead of weight-loss. Eat a diet of fresh colorful vegetables and fruits, rich whole grains, raw nuts and seeds, unprocessed oils and fats, drug-free and free-range eggs and lean meats, and organic low-fat dairy products. Reduce (or eliminate) packaged and processed foods and incorporate fun activities into your day. These are the real secrets to long-term weight-control.

Author's Bio: 

Joanne Jackson holds a certificate in Natural Health Fundamentals and is currently studying for her diploma as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. A Member of The AIM Companies for over twenty-three years, Joanne takes pride in sharing her knowledge of nutrition and the AIM products with others. As an advocate of healthy eating and proper nutrition, Joanne understands that the choices we make, and choosing them wisely, is the key to wellness.
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