The headlines clamor for our attention:
I lost 30 pounds in two weeks on a juice-only cleanse!
Bariatric surgery and I’m five dress sizes smaller in 4 months!
I did planks every day for a month and lost 5 inches from my waist!
While the results we get from pushing ourselves into extreme states with diet and exercise can initially feel exhilarating and rewarding, our bodies naturally resist extremes. Whether with food, exercise, stress or sleep deprivation, extremes set off alarm bells in our brains and our bodies respond as if under siege. Extremely low calorie diets, for example, send a starvation signal to our bodies to conserve and our metabolism slows as a result. Inflammation is another common detrimental reaction to being under assault. Weight loss surgery, while life-saving for some, can also open the door to life-long health complications.
Living a balanced life in the middle (as ho-hum as that may sound) is what our bodies truly crave and the place in which they function at their best.
Here are five helpful guidelines for maintaining a balanced state:
- For weight loss, 1 to 2 pounds per week is the healthiest rate and the most sustainable.
- For food, never starve and never stuff. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods with about 50% of your diet being fruit and vegetables.
- For exercise, a moderate pace and consistent frequency is best (vs. leading a mostly inactive lifestyle), aiming for about 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. The minimum activity level to not be considered sedentary is 150 minutes per week, but 200 minutes or more is the ideal level to promote weight loss. More intense activities such as high intensity interval training can be health-promoting as well, but done too often can invite negative consequences such as burnout or overuse injuries.
- For sleep, 7 to 8 hours per night is ideal. If you fall short, try to compensate with naps.
- For stress management, use tools such as exercise and meditation to quell negative responses.
Finding a balanced, moderate way of living is the best self-care routine we can gift to ourselves. By building consistency in habits, slowly and steadily over time, activities such as regular exercise become our new default mode and lifestyle. As we build new habits, they become a new compass for our self-care/health care routines. We reorient our wellness compass settings to healthiER. (Emphasis on the ‘ER’.) Our mindset changes and health becomes our new norm.
And yes, the accountability and support of a weight loss/health coach can help you find a more balanced, healthy state of living. Reach out if you need support.
To your good health!
PS If you’re struggling to improve your health and maintain a healthy weight, consider partnering with a certified weight loss/health coach for accountability and one-on-one support. Arrange your 15-minute no-obligation discovery conversation to find out if coaching is the missing piece in your weight loss and wellness puzzle.