The ultimate slim-down guide

research from Johns Hopkins is predicting a possible 75 percent obesity rate in the U.S. by the year 2015.

by Christina Jordan — 

Every year, millions of people make a commitment to slim down in time for summer but, sadly, most do not succeed. One reason, of course, is that it can be difficult to lose weight. In fact, research from Johns Hopkins is predicting a possible 75 percent obesity rate in the U.S. by the year 2015.

If winter has not been kind to your waistline, you may be tempted to crash diet or spend hours at the gym. Instead though, why not give yourself the opportunity to experience healthy weight loss in a way that does not leave you exhausted and malnourished? You can lose weight by using these fun, simple and doctor-recommended techniques that will have you getting in shape, losing fat (instead of muscle) and making lasting changes.

Listed in this article are a few easy ideas to rid yourself of unhealthy fat and excess weight; however, it is important to remember that before you get started with any new weight loss plan, you will need the following:

1. A clean bill of health from your doctor if you have had an injury, illness, medical condition or have not had a physical in over a year

2. A commitment to following your new, healthy lifestyle

3. Twenty to 60 minutes of time, three or more days a week (splitting it up if necessary) to do light to moderate exercise

4. Medical assistance if you have struggled in the past to lose weight safely or have a lot of weight to lose

Losing weight does not have to be a miserable experience. By changing a few habits, everyone can achieve success. The key is eating less unhealthy food and burning more calories. According to the leading weight-loss experts, the best way to keep the weight off is to make an overall lifestyle change.

Try some of these easy lifestyle changes. The more you do, the more you will lose.

Refresh with healthy beverages — Drink summer-friendly beverages like iced tea or chilled water with fresh lemon. Try iced green tea for extra antioxidants and to increase metabolism.

Blow off the buns — Avoid the extra calories and simple carbohydrates found in buns and breads by opting for fresh, crisp lettuce leaves as a substitute. Many people do not realize how many empty calories they  consume in breads (and pasta, rice, cakes, cereals and potatoes) that can easily be avoided.

Jump rope — Jumping rope is excellent for cardiovascular training and overall conditioning. This is an affordable solution for those looking for inexpensive ways to exercise at home.

Master the art of good manners — Do not start eating until everyone is served and then eat at a moderate pace. Try to be the last one done with your meal. Force yourself to chew more and eat slower, which gives your brain the time it needs to register that the stomach is full. In addition, you will have the ability to enjoy enhanced communication time with your dining partners.

Super salads — Summer salads are great for picnics, healthy dinners and social gatherings. Be sure to include lots of green vegetables that pack a powerful antioxidant punch. You will be fueling your body with healthy foods and life-saving antioxidants that fight off everything from colds to cancer.

Summer of fruit — Skip the dried and go for the fresh, as in delicious apples, oranges and strawberries. Dried fruit is not as filling as fresh and packs more sugars, which can be detrimental to a healthy lifestyle.

Homemade smoothies — Instead of purchasing expensive and sometimes calorie-loaded smoothies, make them yourself. With a few simple ingredients — fresh fruit, sugar-free protein powder and ice — smoothies are a quick, easy and healthy way to satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings.

Say “no thank you” — Do not be afraid to say no to the tempting, sugar-loaded and high-calorie treats. Whether it is at work, home or a social gathering, watch out for food traps and avoid them. Do not be afraid to politely decline.

Share your goals — Avoid having to reject tasty temptations by sharing your weight-loss goals with family and friends. Most will be supportive and may possibly join you in your quest for healthy eating. Support is an important factor when individuals are trying to change their lifestyle for long-term weight loss.

Wonderful water — Staying hydrated is especially important in the summer, and even more so when trying to lose weight. Drinking water increases metabolism and helps cells work at their optimum. Keep bottles of filtered water on hand. It is recommended that you drink at least 10 glasses of water per day.

Schedule a workout — Part of any good weight-loss or fitness program includes cardio. This is the foundation for burning calories, conditioning your entire body and getting yourself strong for fun activities. Start out exercising three days a week for 20 minutes and work your way up to 5 or 6 days a week of light cardio for about 20 to 60 minutes in your target heart rate zone.

Know when to ask for help — When you know that you have done all that is expected to lose weight and have seen little or no results, it may be time to consult a professional weight-loss doctor, such as a certified bariatric physician who will be able to determine why you are not losing weight. It could be that you have a hormonal imbalance or medication-related problems. There are several weight-loss options to choose from, so do your research and find the best practitioner to fit your needs.

Weight loss does not have to be complicated. By making small and manageable changes, anyone can create a healthy lifestyle. However, do not expect to lose weight without effort. It took years of unhealthy habits to put the weight on, and it is going to take dedication to lose it. Focus on practicing healthy lifestyle changes and, in most cases, the weight loss will happen naturally.


Christina Jordan is the assistant director of marketing and public relations for Red Mountain MedSpa with locations in Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz., 480-991-4159 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 2, Apr/May 2010.

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