In an age where health and well-being is stressed as part of a vibrant life, avoiding weight gain may be of high importance to many people. Luckily, a variety of resources exist to help maintain a healthy weight. Making a few basic lifestyle decisions can help lower the chances of gaining weight, and keep a person healthy and confidant about their appearance.
Weight loss or gain is not a mystical, confusing process; it is a simple mathematical calculation of calories eaten compared to calories burned. An average adult will burn between 1500 and 2000 calories per day going about daily activities such as shopping, cooking, watching television, working, and driving. Once it is established how many calories a person is likely to burn every day, avoiding weight gain becomes a simple matter of not consuming more than is burned.
One of the easiest tips for preventing weight gain is to shop around the edges of grocery stores. Most typical grocery stores are set up so that produce, dairy, and bread are on against the walls of the store. By skipping the middle aisle, dominated by frozen, processed and snack foods, a smart shopper can knock off a considerable amount of calories. If unhealthy food isn't in the house, a weight-conscious person can't eat it. Avoiding bringing home high-calorie foods may be the first step to maintaining a healthy weight.
An easy mistake that can drive weight up is to assume that exercise cancels out bad food choices. A medium-impact 30 minute workout will burn about 250-300 calories, about as much as in a medium-sized latte and a banana. A 300 calorie workout will never justify a 700 calorie slice of cheesecake. Working out may also cause hunger to spike, making a person more likely to binge after a particularly hard sweat session. Eating small meals throughout the day will regulate blood sugar, making hunger spikes less likely to lead to binge eating.
Keeping properly hydrated can also prevent weight gain by reducing stored water weight. If the body is not receiving enough hydration, it goes into panic mode, holding onto every molecule of water it can grab. Regulating hydration means drinking about four large glasses of water per day. If plain water isn't enjoyable, try drinking green tea, sugar-free lemonade, or sugar-free cranberry juice. In addition to keeping hydration levels high, these drinks may improve metabolism, kidney, and bladder health.
Avoiding gaining weight with exercise sounds like a good plan, but many people exercise inefficiently because of busy lives. “Weekend Warriors” attempt to make up for not exercising during the week with mega-sessions on the weekends. Not only does this style of exercise make injury more likely, it can lead to exhaustion, dehydration, and overeating due to blood sugar drop.
Thirty minutes a day of any focused exercise will likely do more good than two mega-workouts per week. Walk to the store, do 15 minutes of yoga after getting up and before bed, or lift weights during one half-hour TV program. Remember, exercise can also be running around with the kids, swimming on hot days, or biking at the beach. Contrary to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy, weight management can be both painless and beneficial.