Many of us are thinking it is time to get in shape, lose weight, and get healthy in 2011.  There are many diet plans out there to choose from and I thought I would give you my opinion on how to lose weight the right way so you can keep it off long term.  Losing weight is not a sprint.  It is not about starving yourself for a few days or only eating what is pre-made for you.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Long term health and weight management is about eating fresh, whole foods in the appropriate portions for your body while keeping an active lifestyle.  This includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and a variety of proteins.

Educate yourself– There is a science to eating right.  Learn how to read a label.  Learn what a serving size is.  Learn the difference between fats.  This can be done by reading books, taking nutrition classes at your local college, or finding a specialist like a chiropractor, nutritionist, dietician, or trainer to talk to.

Write it down– Writing down what you eat and how much water you drink will make you think about what you put into your body.  Also, write down why you are eating.  Eating because you are hungry is good for you, but eating because you are bored is not.

Support Group– Find a support group or person.  Chiropractors, nutritionists, dieticians, or trainers can help you stay on track.  Having people you can talk to and who will make you work out and give you tips to eat better are valuable motivators.

Diet plans– The best plans teach you how to LIVE healthy, not be on a DIET. This means, they help you learn what healthy foods are and what a serving size is.  You want to learn to make and eat foods at home, at a restaurant, at a party, or wherever else life takes you.

Remember, adding more to a food does not make it healthy.  You want your foods to be as unprocessed as possible.  You also want to avoid the “fake” sugars.  Low fat could mean more sugar and salt.  Fresh is best.

Exercise– Get a trainer to learn how to exercise correctly.  This will prevent injuries and keep you on track.  Try new things like rock climbing, ice skating, hiking, or dance classes.  Take a walk and try to get your spouse, friends, or family to go with you to make it more fun.  Exercise everyday even if it is only a walk around the block.

Diet Pills- Diet pills can have major side effects.  Do not take any before talking to a medical doctor about them.  They are a quick fix and are unlikely to help your goal of lifelong health and fitness.

Happy New Year!