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Positive Thinking Can Help Get You Back on the Right Track

January 27, 2014
Sylvia E. Meléndez-Klinger

Have you already fallen off the resolutions bandwagon? Are you struggling to keep your promise of eating better and moving more? Just a few weeks into the new year and there have already been plenty of negative stories making your journey to better health that much harder.

It's possible to get back on the road to better health -- it just takes a little positive thinking. Instead of taking a negative inventory of all the things you can't eat or can't do, turn it around. Committing to better health means that you are doing something positive for yourself that will last a lifetime. It means you will feel and look better. And you can still have your favorites in moderation. Because safe and effective dieting is not about depriving yourself of your favorite foods and beverages, but balancing your daily calories with exercise.

Here are few simple tips to help you accentuate the positive in order to achieve your weight loss goals:

Total Calorie Intake Matters -- The question I get most from my clients is "How many calories should I be eating each day?" That really depends on your weight loss goals and lifestyle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a great tool to help figure out your daily calorie needs. Also, food and beverage companies have reduced calories in many of our favorite foods, giving us more options to help keep our calories in check.

Move Every Day -- There is no getting around physical activity. It can help with stress relief and, most importantly, burn off those extra calories. If you do some kind of exercise every day, you can have your favorites without the guilt. Why do you think athletes eat more than any of us? It's because they exercise every day for hours. Calories in, calories out.

Moderation is Key -- All calories count, period. Does this mean you have to give up your favorites in order to lose weight? Absolutely not. Everything can fit into a balanced diet if you eat moderate amounts and think before you eat. If you love soda, pizza, chips or chocolate, have them. Just watch how much and how often (and balance it with exercise).

Believe the Hype -- Recently, a science teacher lost nearly 40 pounds by eating McDonald's for 90 days. Seems unbelievable, right? By following a strict 2,000 calorie/day diet, he was able to shed weight and improve several of his health indicators. The takeaway: Weight loss is achieved when you balance the calories you take in with those you burn through exercise. Regardless of the source.

Get Some Rest -- The body needs time to re-energize, so make time to get sufficient sleep. Seven to eight hours will do for most people. No food or beverage will make you feel as good as a good night of sleep.

Good luck getting back in the groove and achieving your goals this year!