How many times have you tried diet after diet in hopes of finally losing weight for good? I can certainly remember trying almost every diet and gimmick on the market through the years. The funny thing is, it took over 8 years for me to finally learn that I never needed to diet at all.
So, what does it take to become healthy and fit for a lifetime? Actually, achieving a healthy body begins in the mind. You must consciously make a decision to change. Changing everything is a must.
At my heaviest, I weighed 227 pounds, which was especially detrimental emotionally for me because I had always been athletic and in shape. The first thing I did was to change my mind, and I made the decision to get healthy.
You must understand that good health is a mind, body and soul affair. A successful weight loss journey begins by taking stock of your emotional well-being. For example, are you an emotional eater? If so, consider consulting a therapist to uncover solutions for using food during times of emotional ups and downs.
The next step in your weight loss journey is to change what you're eating. Remember, we are changing everything. Begin a food diary and record every single thing you eat and drink and the time of day. Next you must learn to eat to live and not live to eat.
For starters, begin with the common carbohydrates. Remove all white flour products from your diet. Eat whole grains only -- no white breads, pastas or rice, only brown. Add the colors of the rainbow when selecting fruits and vegetables. The more colorful they are, the healthier they are for your body. Nuts are a must-have. They are full of the healthy Omega-3 fats that are so beneficial to the heart.
Since protein is the building block of muscle, be sure each meal contains a lean portion -- chicken, lean beef, turkey and fish should be prepared by broiling, steaming, sautéing or baking. Add protein shakes made from protein powder for additional protein. Be sure to have at least 25 grams of protein within 30 minutes of your workouts. Keep salty snacks, fatty oils, sweets and sugary drinks out of your diet, or at least limit them to an occasional cheat.
Now, you must MOVE. If you have been sedentary, don't jump into a vigorous workout regimen right out of the gate. Instead, ease into it by adding exercises such as cycling, brisk walking, swimming or Zumba on a gradual basis. The key to remember is that you must incorporate both cardio and weight training into your new exercise regimen.
Cardio helps you drop the fat, and weight training sculpts the body. I suggest working up to getting in at least 4 days of exercise for an hour each day to drop weight. As you begin to fall in love with moving your body , you will naturally desire to exercise every day, because remember, this is a lifestyle.
Once you have each of the necessary components of weight loss success in place, you are destined to never diet! There will be struggles, failures and doubt, but always continue on earnestly with these two words as your mantra, "Journey forward." You really can achieve the healthiest, strongest "you" for a lifetime.
Chaunda is the owner of The Bella Fitness Group in Lawrenceville, GA. She has lost over 115 pounds and is now a passionate Fitness Advocate, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a professional singer. Visit her on the web at bellafitnessgroup.com.