Before you read the article below, ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers.
What is your current weight? How often do you weigh yourself? How often do you exercise each week and for how long? Are you eating a healthy diet by your own standards? How often do you have an alcoholic drink? Do you smoke? How much sleep do you get on an average night? Do you have health and fitness goals? If so, what are those?
According to a recent study by the Calorie Control Council, more than 186 million American adults are “weight conscious.” That means 8 out of 10 adult men and women keep track of their weight daily or weekly. When asked about their weight, though, over 30 percent were untruthful with their answers. At least 30 percent of the people surveyed felt like they had to be untruthful so that they would feel better about themselves or less embarrassed.
According to Centers for Disease Control:
- Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who met the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity: 49.6% (2012)
- Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who met the Physical Activity Guidelines for muscle-strengthening activity: 23.6% (2012)
- Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who met the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic physical and muscle-strengthening activity: 20.3% (2012)
When looking at these statistics, it is easy to see why someone might want to be untruthful with their answers. Yes, these are from 2012 but you can be assured the numbers are not far off for 2014. According to this data,
80 percent of Americans are not meeting the minimum physical activity guidelines for aerobic physical and muscle-strengthening activity.
What this means is 80 percent of Americans do not exercise in a manner that will support their health and well-being. It is no wonder there are so many health issues related to weight management. These statistics are alarming. So, what should we do? Let’s take matters into our own hands. Let’s work on our own accountability. Look back at those questions you answered above. How do you feel about your answers? Chances are you have some areas to work on, so let’s get started!
When was the last time you weighed yourself? Do not get preoccupied with the scale. Weighing yourself more than once a week can be a mistake for many. Most people’s weight can fluctuate 1-5 pounds daily. With that in mind, if you weigh daily, you might see an increase from your last weigh in. For some, weighing yourself too frequently can cause emotions that may detour you from your goals. For others, this might motivate you and keep you from slacking.
How often do you exercise each week and for how long? On average, you should exercise at least 3 days a week for about an hour. Types of exercises can vary but should include time for cardiovascular exercise and muscle and strength training. If you are unsure of what kinds of exercise are right for you, consult your doctor.
Are you eating a healthy diet? Resist the urge to get caught up in fad diets. The universal idea is if you can grow it or raise it, you should eat it. That is fine and good, but be careful of how you prepare those foods. Picking healthy foods can be made unhealthy by certain cooking methods. Be mindful of what you eat and how it is prepared.
If you are unsure of what a healthy diet is for you personally, consult your doctor or nutritionist.
How often do you have an alcoholic drink? Most Americans report having 1-3 alcoholic beverages 2-3 times a week socially. That’s about 900 empty calories each week. Alcohol can really break down your progress before you realize it. Make those calories count…do not waste them!
Do you smoke? If you smoke, strongly consider quitting for good. Quitting is tough, but the health benefits of doing so are well documented. Seek help from friends, family, and your health care practitioner.
How much sleep do you get on an average night? Studies show that the average person needs 8 hours of sleep each night to have enough energy for daily activities. If you are exercising regularly, you will likely need a minimum of 8 hours of sleep so you do not feel sluggish throughout the day.
If you feel tired, you are less likely to get your workouts in or maintain a regular workout schedule. Did you know not getting enough sleep can place stress on your body, causing an increase in cortisol levels?
This increase can cause weight gain as well.
Do you have health and fitness goals? I hope after reading this you have some new health and fitness goals. It doesn’t matter where or how you start, you just have to start and stick with it. Sometimes, we get caught up in the world around us that we forget to take care of the most important things—our bodies!