The Real “Skinny” on Getting Healthy
BY MARK KINI
I recently had a woman at the gym tell me her daughter was getting married in three weeks and needed to lose 20 pounds before the wedding. I politely told her that she should have started three to six months ago and it’s impossible to do in a healthy way in such a short period of time.
This woman, like many others, had fallen prey to the many fantastic claims of “instadieting” put forth by the diet industry. There is so much information and disinformation on dieting all around us from social media to best-selling diet books to magazines promising “thin by Fourth of July.” Is it any wonder that the global diet industry is estimated to be worth over $192 billion in 2019, and is expected to grow to $295 billion by 2027 (according to a report by Grand View Research)?
“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it” applies to all aspects in life—not just dieting. But the bottom line is, a quick fix is not the answer, especially if you want to improve your long-term health and quality of life for years ahead. There are no magical books, pills, drinks, cleanses, coolsculpting, or workouts that will provide healthy and sustainable weight loss overnight, so let’s break it down in a way that us busy business owners can understand: SMART. This acronym is a valuable framework for setting targets that help to clarify what you want to achieve along with a roadmap for achieving them. You have a plan for your business, so why not for your health?
Specific: The goal is clear, well-defined, and focused. It answers the questions of who, what, when, where, and why.
Measurable: This is a goal that you can track the progress towards and know when you have achieved it. This means setting specific, measurable targets and tracking your progress over time.
Achievable: This is one that is realistic and feasible. It considers your current abilities, resources, and circumstances.
Relevant: This defines what is important and meaningful to you. It aligns with your values, interests, and priorities.
Time-bound: This goal outlines a specific deadline or timeline for completion. This helps to keep you accountable and motivated to achieve your goal within a set timeframe.
An example of a SMART goal could be: “I aim to lose 10 pounds in the next three months by exercising for 30 minutes per day, five days per week, and reducing my daily calorie intake by 500 calories.” This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, providing a clear plan of action and a deadline for achieving the desired outcome.
Different Types of Diets
I’ve talked about exercise in the past two issues, but the essential complement to that is a healthy, sustainable eating plan, one that you’ll want to ideally adopt for the rest your life. Some examples include:
- Mediterranean: Emphasizes the consumption of plant-based foods, healthy fats, and lean protein. It has been shown to improve heart health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
- Low-Carb: Restricts the consumption of carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and sugar, and encourages the consumption of protein and healthy fats. It is often suggested for blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
- Keto: Is very low in carbohydrates and high in fat, which puts the body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of glucose. It has been shown to improve blood sugar control, but may not be suitable for everyone.
- Paleo: Emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods that were available to our ancient ancestors, such as lean meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. It has been shown to improve markers of heart health.
- Intermittent Fasting: Not a specific diet, but rather an eating pattern that involves alternating periods of fasting with periods of eating. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
- Vegan: Eliminates all animal products and emphasizes plant-based foods. It has been shown to improve markers of heart health, but may require careful planning to ensure adequate intake of some necessary nutrients.
- DASH Diet: Focuses on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products, and is designed to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than your body burns each day, which can be achieved by reducing your intake, increasing your physical activity, or a combination of both. Easy-to-use (and effective) calorie-counting apps can be found in your favorite app store. Everyone’s daily calorie needs will be different, although reducing calories by 300-500 calories per day to lose 1-1.5 pounds per week is generally accepted. These calculators vary wildly, so consider trying a few and taking an average.
It is also important to note that not all calories are created equal as the quality of the calories you consume is especially critical for overall health. A diet that is high in nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, is obviously better than one of fast food and processed junk—even when eating the same number of calories.
One final word, no one is perfect 100 percent of the time, but consistency is crucial to overall success. Also, it takes a few weeks for anything to become a habit, so don’t get discouraged if you feel like quitting a million times in the beginning. It will get easier. For those reading who want to lean down and improve your overall health, this is a blueprint for that journey. [CD0523]
Quote of the month: It takes five minutes to consume 500 calories. It takes two hours to burn them off. – Anonymous
Mark Kini is the President & CEO of Boston Chauffeur. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.