Don’t Just Make Resolutions. Prioritize!
Obesity and being overweight not only hinder the quality of your life but also put you at high risk of getting diseases, even leading to an early death. Keep that in mind throughout the year.
A recent study predicts that over half of our population will be obese by 2030. South Asians living in this country are by no means immune to this—look around you and you will see at least one friend or family member who is obese or overweight. It is shocking how many men and women welcome middle age with weight gain, but it is more disturbing that many of us don’t care about this weight gain, and go about our lives hoping the weight will magically melt away. So while contemplating your resolutions, of which exercise is sure to be a part, please prioritize.
Here are three goals that should be a priority:
Reduce your waist: Notice I said “waist” and not “weight.” Yes, throw away your scale and buy a measuring tape instead. Having a big belly will more than double your chance of getting certain diseases. Think about it—all your internal organs are surrounded by fat, which impairs blood circulation and other organ functions. Extra belly fat causes insulin resistance, which in turn increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and even premature death! So get that tape out and find out your waist size. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has set standards for healthy waist measurement based on ethnicity. For European/African/ Middle Eastern/Mediterranean men and women, the measurement should be <40 inches for men and <35 inches for women; for South Asian, Malaysian, South and Central American men and women, the acceptable measurement is even stricter at <35 inches for men and <32 inches for women. Measure your waist every two weeks.
Exercise on most days of the week: You wouldn’t let days go by without bathing or brushing your teeth, so why not do the same for exercise? Think of exercise not as temporary but something that you will do for the rest of your life. In order to reduce that waist, you must make it a goal to exercise on most days of the week without fail, at moderate to high intensity, and challenge yourself every time. If you have a lot of inches to lose, and aren’t sure of what to do, consult a fitness professional.
Make good nutrition a priority: Think about what you are eating every day and ask yourself how you can eat more healthfully. You cannot eat whatever you want and then exercise and expect results. Exercise alone will not help you reduce that belly. Drastically cutting calories by being on a strict diet or being on a “cleansing” liquid diet is not a good idea also as you will eventually gain the weight back. Instead learn how to eat nutritiously and sensibly by adding healthy low calorie foods every day and cutting back on fatty high calorie foods. Exercise portion control and eat several small meals each day. Make sure you are getting a good variety from all food groups.
Remember, planning is vital when it comes to prioritizing. Set realistic, achievable goals each week for yourself and remember to never give up. By prioritizing your well-being and fitness, not only will you reap the rewards of a healthy life but you’ll also start the year off right.[Aarti Patel serves as the columnist for Fitness Lifestyle. She has a B.Sc. in Health Information Administration and is certified by the American Council on Exercise as a Personal and Group Fitness Instructor, and Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach. She can be reached at (404) 376-5655; firstname.lastname@example.org. This column rotates monthly along with the Ask the Doctor column by Gulshan Harjee, M.D.]
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