In almost every scenario, at least a portion of unwanted weight gain can be attributed to an unidentified lifestyle habit that has arisen due to new circumstances. Here is a three-step checklist to identify the most common habits that lead to unwanted weight gain and how you can address them.
1. Surround Yourself with Nutritious FoodTake a tour around the kitchen and identify your go-to snacks. If they come in a box, bag or can, chances are they are highly processed foods. Perhaps you are consuming more of these items than normal because they’re easy to access and do not require extended cook time.
Clear these items from the pantry, take a trip to the store and fill it with whole fruits, vegetables and nuts. These will keep you fuller longer and help balance your macro (and micro) nutrient profile.
Pro Tip! Pack your snacks when you’re on the road or going into work. Make sure most of your food includes:
- Vegetables: non-starch, above ground vegetables like cauliflower, celery, broccolli, cucumbers, and radishes.
- Healthy protein: lean meat, salmon or tuna, tofu/tempeh, eggs
- Legumes: black beans, black-eyed peas or anti-inflammatory chickpeas
- Healthy fats: things rich in omega-6 fatty acids like olive oil, nuts and seeds
2. Get Around, Get MovingConsider your daily movement and evaluate how active you’ve been. Compare this to your typical pre-pandemic activity level. Are you more active? Less? The same?
Once you take your “movement temperature,” consider these active avenues. Always be sure to get clearance from your medical doctor before participating in any high-intensity exercise if you have underlying medical conditions.
- Improve your movement through an activity you enjoy, such as gardening or taking the dog for a walk. Make it a conscious decision to sit still less often.
- Set a daily step count. This is a great motivator to keep you accountable and stay active throughout the day. Begin with a lower number of steps and gradually increase your goal over time.
- Consider a standing desk if working from home or in an office.
Pro Tip! Download an activity tracker and set a reminder to stretch, in addition to walking, each day. The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps a day, but we suggest increasing to more if you can.
3. Stay Motivated!
The final item on your checklist is easy! If you set a personal goal and find yourself straying away from it, reset your focus and get back on the horse! Your direction and well-being are more important than your speed.
Be patient and stay positive. Get your family and friends on board toward achieving your goal and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Accountability is key to success.
Dr. Stephanie Ortizpage specializes in bariatric and metabolic weight-loss medicine. She is medical director for the Metabolic & Medical Weight Management Center at Danbury Hospital.