Eight steps to achieve weight loss

Feb. 19, 2012 at 9:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 18, 2012 at 8:19 p.m.

In Texas, the number of overweight or obese adults has gone over the 50 percent mark.

This is the time of year when many are trying to reverse the statistic, but most people never understand what is keeping them from their weight loss goals.

So, here are some tips.

Exercise daily

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise three days a week to maintain health.

There is a difference in maintaining health and trying to lose weight. You must create a 500-calorie-a-day deficit in order to lose one pound a week.

Exercise is one of the best ways to create at least a portion of this deficit.

Eating habits are essential

You will not see long term results if you rely on exercise alone to lose weight.

A fundamental shift is required to reach and maintain weight loss. These changes must be life long, not just until you lose 20 pounds.

Getting enough sleep

A number of studies show a direct link between getting enough rest and a resistance to losing weight.

Stress raises cortisol level

This hormone is dubbed the "stress hormone" because it increases when you are under stress. This increase in cortisol can lead to heart attacks and metabolic syndrome.

It does not matter the source of the stress, the key is to find ways to relieve the stress.

Exercise, meditation or other enjoyable activities can help you find relief. Often the mere act of taking control of one portion of your life will help you find ways to take charge in other areas and reduce your stress levels.

Get a support group

Don't underestimate the power of a support group. They can encourage you and keep your eyes focused on the long term when things get tough.

Create specific goals

If you don't know where you are going, you have no way to measure how close you are to getting there.

Wanting to look better or be healthier are not specific enough.

You need short- and long-term goals that can be easily measured. These goals provide you a way to track your progress in concrete terms.

Exercise can't be routine

If you have been doing the same cardio for 30 minutes followed by the same weight machine circuit, it is time for a major shakeup.

Your body will adjust after a short time (4-6 weeks) to the demands that are placed on it.

Creating a constant challenge will keeping you moving towards your goals and keep you from getting bored.

Long-term consistency

This is probably the area where I see people fall short the most.

You must create and maintain these habits for the rest of your life. You are never finished with exercise or eating healthy.

Making an effort to change in just one of these areas can get you back on the right track to meeting your weight loss goals.

See you in the gym!

Melissa Bagnall is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in physical education and the owner of Fitness Solutions. You can email her at: fitnesolutions@gmail.com.



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