Your health should be a main priority throughout your life, including in your 30’s.
For some people, losing excess body weight can improve several aspects of their physical health, including their blood sugar and blood pressure levels, inflammatory markers, and mobility.
Plus, reaching a healthy and sustainable body weight may improve your self-confidence, body image, health-related quality of life, and depressive symptoms.
Unfortunately, most weight loss methods are inappropriate and unsustainable. Plus, dieting and diet culture can be incredibly harmful to your physical and mental health.
However, it’s possible to safely reach a healthy body weight that promotes your overall health.
1. Redirect your focus
Focusing on improving other aspects of your health rather than your body weight or physical appearance may help you reach your goals.
One study including 301 women found that those who were motivated to lose weight to either reduce their disease risk or improve their overall health — and least motivated by self-appearance reasons — achieved significant weight loss after 30 months.
Alternatively, women who were most motivated to lose weight to improve their appearance had gained weight at the 30-month mark.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be motivated by improving your appearance. Rather, it suggests that your appearance and desire to be accepted by others shouldn’t be the only — or even the main — motivators for reaching a healthy body weight.
Being motivated by factors like improving your diet quality, endurance, and energy levels, as well as reducing your disease risk, may help improve long-term success on your weight loss journey.
2. Load up on produce
Decades of scientific research show that increasing your fruit and vegetable intake promotes weight loss and may help you maintain a healthy body weight.
Making a point to add more vegetables and fruits to your diet is an excellent way to improve diet quality, decrease disease risk, and promote healthy weight loss.
Try adding spinach, tomatoes, and onions to your eggs in the morning, and enjoy them with a side of berries. You can also snack on veggies dipped in hummus, or add a side of roasted mixed veggies to your dinner.
3. Choose sustainability over speed
Countless diets and detoxes promote rapid, extreme weight loss through the use of very low calorie meal plans.
The truth is, these diets are likely to promote quick weight loss, as drastically reducing your calorie intake would.
However, these diets are not a good choice for sustainable weight loss since they can drastically affect your energy levels, health, and overall performance.
Studies have repeatedly shown that crash dieting leads to weight regain and compensatory changes that may make future weight loss and weight maintenance more difficult.
Creating a satisfying dietary pattern that fuels your body while creating a small calorie deficit will result in slower weight loss, but it will decrease the chances of weight regain over time and ensure you get the nutrients your body needs.
4. Don’t underestimate daily activity
When trying to lose weight, most people think that they have to participate in frequent high intensity activity. While incorporating this type of activity into your routine can promote weight loss and muscle gain, it’s unnecessary to do this to reach a healthy body weight.
Being active daily by increasing your step count and sitting less is just as important as spending a few hours in the gym per week.
If you’re currently sedentary, it’s important to increase your activity slowly. If you’re only averaging around 1,000 steps per day, try to increase your count to 2,500 steps most days of the week, which equals about one mile (1.6 km).
Once you’re consistently reaching that goal, increase it by 1,000 steps per week or so until you’re comfortably walking a few miles per day.
5. Prioritize your health and happiness
Never compromise your health or happiness by following a diet or exercise program that makes you feel bad about yourself.
If a diet is extremely restrictive or causes you to become overly preoccupied with food, that’s a sign that the plan you’re on is unhealthy and inappropriate for your needs.
The same goes for activity. If your new trainer or workout class makes you feel uncomfortable or bad about yourself, find a different activity that you enjoy and have fun doing.
A sustainable dietary pattern and activity plan should make you feel healthy, nourished, and energized.
6. Understand that weight loss isn’t the key to overall improved health
Losing excess body fat can indeed improve your health and reduce your disease risk.
But weight loss is only one piece of a large puzzle.
Stress, mental health disorders, lack of activity, illness and disease, poor nutrition, genetics, and lack of sleep are just some of the other factors that need to be considered.
This is why improving your overall health, not just losing weight, should be your goal.
7. Prioritize sleep
Many people in their 30s are trying to juggle work responsibilities alongside their family and social life, which may reduce their sleep time and negatively impact their sleep quality.
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain by increasing hunger hormones and calorie intake and decreasing satiety hormones and energy levels, making weight loss even more challenging.
Getting at least 7 hours of sleep consistently is important for weight management and your overall health.
8. Say no to most diets
To develop a sustainable weight loss plan that works for your needs, it’s important to avoid restrictive, unnecessary diets.
Research shows that dieting and restrained eating don’t work for long-term weight maintenance. Plus, restrictive eating behaviors can take a toll on your physical and mental health.
A healthy dietary pattern can be followed for life, no matter whether you’re on vacation, enjoying a holiday meal, or out to dinner with friends.
If you often having to “cheat on” or “go off” your plan to eat foods you enjoy, that’s a sign your diet is overly restrictive and unsustainable. All foods can and should fit into a healthy, sustainable eating pattern that can be followed long term as part of a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle.
9. Opt outside
Spending time in nature is incredibly beneficial for your overall health.
Some research suggests that spending more time outside is associated with higher activity levels and less time sitting, which may help you lose weight naturally. Plus, spending time outside may help reduce your chronic disease risk.
Make a point to get outside daily to go for a walk or simply enjoy the fresh air.
10. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is important when it comes to weight maintenance.
One recent study including 358 people between the ages of 18 and 39 found that higher fluid intake was associated with healthier body composition, including a lower body fat percentage and smaller waist circumference.
Fluid needs are dependent on many factors, including your activity levels and body size. A simple way to tell whether you’re hydrated is to check your urine color. Aim for a light straw color
The bottom line
If you’re in your 30s and you’ve decided to lose weight, it’s important to use safe, sustainable methods to improve your overall health.
Using the tips listed above can help you manage your weight while prioritizing your physical and mental health.
This Content has originally written by Jillian Kubala and published on March 15, 2021. No Copyright/IPR breach is intended.