If your 2018 resolution is to lose some weight, Dr. Angela Fitch says there are right and wrong ways to do it.
Wrong ways should be obvious: Fad diets, zero-to-100 workouts and self-starvation are among them.
Right ways include getting 20 minutes of physical activities each day and keeping on your feet, even at the office. Standing up while working, taking regular breaks for walks around the building or even buying a treadmill desk count toward this goal.
“Sitting is worse than smoking as it relates to our health,” she said. “Activities have shown to increase your focus and be more productive, so the more that we stand, the more we are physically active when we do work, we are actually shown to get more work done.”
Fitch summed up her general weight loss advice with five Ps:
- Planned portions. When you don’t keep track of how much you’re eating, you’re likely to eat more than you actually realize. Meal preparation and planned portions can help keep your consumption under control. You can also use apps such as My Fitness Pal to track your calorie intake.
- Eat plants and protein. These are key elements of what the human body needs to keep its metabolism running at high efficiency.
- Power. Strength training with bands or weights will help you lose inches and improve your overall fitness.
- Pillow. Sleep-deprived people have less energy to exercise and less willpower to make healthy decisions about what they eat. According to Mayo Clinic, sleeping fewer than five hours or more than nine hours per night increases the likelihood of weight gain.
When it comes to losing weight, Fitch also recommends a final P: Patience. Although some workout and dieting plans promise near-instant results, one pound per week is a healthy rate at which to drop weight.
“Most of us aren’t happy with that because we try hard and we do a lot of things, we make a lot of changes to our dietary patterns and our behaviors,” she said.
It can be disheartening when those big changes don’t immediately yield big results, but keeping healthy habits long-term is the safest and longest-lasting way to become more fit in 2018 and beyond.