YWM BLOG

Understanding and Adapting Lifestyle Modifications: Tips for Changing Key Behaviors

Fitness tracker for lifestyle modifications

You make choices every day that affect your health, even if you aren’t always aware of them. From the food you grab on your way out the door to the first thing you do right when you get home, nearly every decision you make has a domino effect somehow.

One way to improve your weight and health is to change behaviors that may have contributed to weight gain. Here are 3 basic but powerful lifestyle options that can help:

  • Self-monitoring
  • Physical Activity
  • Support groups

Self-monitoring

Losing weight is not necessarily as simple as eating less and moving more. There are many other factors involved. One way to recognize those factors is to practice self-monitoring.

Self-monitoring is an effective way to keep track of your behavior: what foods you eat, how much, what you do for exercise, how often, etc. The goal of this lifestyle option is to increase self-awareness of your everyday choices and make changes where necessary. When you see a pattern, you can more easily tell which behaviors are hurtful or helpful for weight-loss.

Some commonly used self-monitoring tools include:

  • Logging your foods and portion sizes in a food journal
  • Weighing yourself and taking your measurements regularly
  • Using activity trackers or apps to understand your activity levels
  • Using wearable wristbands or smart watches to log your workouts

Physical Activity

Any health and wellness plan should include physical activity. Increasing your activity will give you more energy, boost your mood, strengthen your bones and help you manage your weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults ages 18 – 64 should get the following amount of physical activity each week:

Cardio and Exercise Intensity:

  • Moderate-intensity activity: 150 mins/week (i.e. brisk walking)
  • Vigorous-intensity activity: 75 mins/week (i.e. jogging or running)
  • A balanced mix of both activity types

Muscle-strengthening Activities: 

  • 2 days or more per week of activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms)

When creating an exercise plan, keep in mind the benefits that each activity has on your health. Different activities have different benefits, but all are helpful. You can measure your exercise intensity for each activity by using an activity tracker and picking up on key signals from your body (i.e. not being able to take deep, regular breaths is a sign of high-intensity exercise).

Support Groups

Your journey with weight can sometimes feel like a long, difficult and lonely one. However, you are not alone. Support groups are a great resource for you and others to share and learn from each other about challenges, issues, concerns, setbacks, successes and more.

Support groups can be:

  • Women or men-only
  • Faith-based
  • Location-based
  • Online
  • Hobby/activity-based

If you do not know how to go about finding a support group, consider asking your healthcare provider. Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your story, because there is a good chance that someone else is thinking, feeling or going through the same thing. If you feel uncomfortable meeting face to face, consider a web-based support group.

Lifestyle Modifications: The Takeaway

There are many different paths and treatment options when it comes to weight management. However, lifestyle modifications are a cornerstone of every one of them. They are helpful to all things related to your health, not just your weight.

Lifestyle Modifications consist of changing a series of smaller behaviors. Your behaviors join together to form your lifestyle. Finding modifications that work long-term can be hard, but they also give you the greatest results.

To learn more about lifestyle modifications for weight management, CLICK HERE for education from the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).

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