As January comes to a close, Worker Care wants to make sure you actually keep your resolution this year! If you are like most people, than one of your New Year resolutions was probably to “lose weight” or “get healthier.” These are obviously admirable goals, but actually accomplishing them can backfire if you don’t take the proper steps.
LOSE WEIGHT THE RIGHT WAY
A desire to lose weight is a commendable and often necessary resolution. By losing weight, you can reduce the health problems associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis. While it’s easy to get lost in the chase for the desirable end result, it’s important to start your resolution in a reasonable manner to increase your long term progress and overall health.
The biggest mistake people make when they try to lose weight is by taking drastic steps to drop the pounds quickly. This unsafe approach to weight loss can lead to health problems, a negative self-image and burning out. Honestly, if a diet sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is. Anything that promotes detoxification pills, laxatives or fasting is likely to do more harm than good. As a general rule, make sure to avoid any diets that promise to make you lose more than two or three pounds per week.
Cutting calories is an obvious step in weight loss, but cutting too many calories is counterproductive. Yes, when you cut calories you will lose fat, but you also lose muscle, which can slow your metabolism and make it more difficult to maintain exercise and focus at work. Rather than cutting calories, it’s better to be picky about what calories you consume; the idea is to eat more of the efficient and useful calories. It’s easy to pop into the break room and grab a diet soda when you’ve had a long day and you are low on energy. But diet soda has been shown to trigger sugar cravings and contribute to weight gain, so try to break the habit and replace soda with healthier alternatives.
Just as dieting too much, too fast, can be harmful, jumping into an exercise regimen can be just as risky. It’s best to talk to a medical provider before starting any program, especially if you have been diagnosed with any chronic conditions or lingering injuries. Be realistic in your workout plans — a couch potato will not turn into a marathon runner overnight. If you hurt yourself early on, you will not be able to continue your workout plans. Three ten minute spurts of exercise per day are just as good as one 30-minute workout. An easy way to get your ten minutes in is taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking in the back of the parking lot. Every bit helps, and these minor lifestyle changes will have long-lasting health effects.
Proper exercise can be an important step in improving your productivity at work. Regular exercise can help curb feelings of anxiety and depression, and may help you deal better with stress. When you exercise, your brain releases serotonin that helps you feel better and improves your state of mind, making the stresses of work easier to handle.
STICK WITH THE PLAN
An important step in safely achieving your New Year’s resolution is to monitor your progress. Look at your goals often and determine if they need tweaking. It’s okay to change your goal. No one is perfect, and the idea is for the goal to be achievable. Don’t rely just on the number on the scale to benchmark your progress. How you look and feel is a much better indicator of your progress than the number on a scale.
Even small weight loss is likely to produce health benefits, such as improved blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Your overall health is a lifestyle and not a quick fix. Taking a long-term, realistic approach to your weight loss will give you a greater chance of achieving your goal and living a healthier life. And you’d be surprised how losing a little weight can improve your concentration at work.
Worker Care is here to help you make sure you keep those New Year’s resolutions, so if you have any questions, please give us a call. And if you’re looking for some more in-depth information, visit the CDC’s website.