CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Cindy,
After a painful breakup, I am committed to becoming healthy again. During the past six years, I have been in a relationship that was not good for me, and depression has taken its toll. I am now at least 100 pounds overweight. I know losing that much won't be easy, but I feel it is now or never. Actually, I am giving myself one year to lose the weight. My problem is that when I exercise, I feel awkward -- no pain, but moving is difficult. Please give me some advice on eating right and exercise so I can reach my weight loss goal in a year on my 40th. -- Thank you, Jeanna
Congratulations on many levels. It's wonderful that you are focusing on becoming healthy rather than simply concentrating on 100 pounds. It's a positive step to move away from a bad relationship, and physical activity is one of the most effective ways to treat depression. It's also wise you're not rushing the changes you want to make. Devoting the next year toward eating better and moving more are not only doable, but probable with that mindset.
Your approach is on target
Commitment is paramount to any weight-loss effort. Without it, it will never stand the test of time. Keep in mind that while it's good to determine your long-term weight-loss goals, they will do little to facilitate your progress. So we'll examine how to set up a plan that will serve as motivation as well as highlight each of your daily successes.
Slow and steady wins
It can take a long time to lose a large amount of weight. Chart a course for healthy weight loss, which is 1 to 2 pounds a week. Prepare for setbacks, such as holidays or vacations when you don't lose weight. But remember there will also be times when you have a 5-pound loss in a week, so prepare to feel amazing when this occurs.
Sound nutrition must be the foundation of any life-changing fitness program. A low-fat, plant-based, nutrient-dense diet will make these changes possible and supply the needs of your body as you introduce exercise back into your life. Many people begin weight-loss programs with a single focus -- either through physical activity or changing the way they eat; however, the most efficient and healthiest way to lose weight is by incorporating both.
Exercise can and should be enjoyable in order to make it a lifetime habit. The surest way to set someone up for failure is to recommend movement that causes pain, discomfort, embarrassment or indifference.