You've been talking about losing weight for a long time, but it always seems like something—the assumption that you'll have to change everything about your lifestyle, a fear of failure, lack of motivation to get started—stands in your way. The good news is that even small changes can add up to big results when done consistently. All it takes is one final straw, one life-changing "a-ha!" moment where you decide that now is the time to take charge of your life.
If you've been looking for that extra kick in the pants to get moving in the right direction, why not look to your peers for inspiration? We asked SparkPeople members why starting the weight-loss journey today is a better idea than putting it off until tomorrow and here are their 100 best responses.
Which of these reasons resonate with you? Are there other reasons to lose weight that you would add to the list?
- I want to be able to fit in an airline seat to travel and see my family.
- I want to be strong and healthy.
- I'm tired of buying what fits me instead of what I really want to wear.
- It will be better to spend more time being active and less time eating mindlessly.
- Excess weight puts additional stress on my joints, leading to more aches and pains.
- If I lose weight, I'll have more energy.
- I want to be attractive and happy with myself.
- I believe I'll live a longer life if I lose the weight.
- I'm tired of avoiding the camera because I don't want to be the biggest person in family photos.
- Taking fewer prescriptions means saving money for other things.
- It's important to be a role model for my kids and grandkids.
- I want to improve my mood and emotional balance.
- It shouldn't be so difficult to bend down and tie my own shoes.
- My bloodwork will likely return to the normal ranges.
- I won't have the label of "diabetic."
- I want to age gracefully.
- It's important to make myself the priority.
- I need to control my asthma.
- I want to be independent as I age and not have to rely on others to take care of me.
- My children will be able to celebrate my achievement.
- I want to make it through a whole Zumba class without having to stop to catch my breath.
- Living longer means I'll be able to see my future grandchildren.
- I want to be comfortable in my own skin.
- I want to rock a bathing suit!
- I need to be able to get out of the backseat of a two-door car.
- It's time for me to start wearing the smaller belt hanging in the back of my closet.
- I want to fit into a booth at a restaurant.
- Losing the weight will reduce my risk of cancer, heart disease and many other health issues.
- I don't want my kids to be ashamed of me.
- Shopping in regular stores where most clothes fit me will make life easier.
- I want to sleep better.
- Losing weight will improve my balance.
- A healthier me means fewer doctor visits, saving me time and money.
- I need to feel like I've accomplished something.
- Taking care of myself helps me combat my depression.
- When I'm feeling good, my mind is sharper.
- It will improve my sex life.
- It's time to stop avoiding looking in the mirror.
- People won't call me names as I walk down the street.
- My family will stop bugging me about losing the weight.
- I want to go out in public without wearing Spanx, especially in the summer.
- My shoes will fit better.
- I'll be able to slide my wedding ring onto my finger again.
- Excess weight makes me look older.
- I'd like to buy undergarments that make me feel sexy instead of the ones currently available in my size.
- I want to be able to run faster.
- It's easier to ride the bus or subway when I don't feel like I'm squished into the person next to me.
- I want to feel like I'm in control of my food instead of food controlling me.
- It's time to eliminate my self-destructive behaviors.
- It's important to feel successful for meeting my goal and not the goal someone else has set for me.
- I want to walk the golf course instead of needing a cart.
- I like cooking healthy meals, so I want to be able to continue enjoying them.
- It's hard to fit comfortably behind the steering wheel of my car.
- I want to keep up with my dog when we go for walks instead of him dragging me the whole way.
- I want to enjoy time outside in the summer without getting so hot.
- My partner should be able to fit her arms all the way around me when she gives me a hug.
- The extra weight makes it difficult to perform my physically active job effectively.
- I want to play tag or wrestle my kids with ease.
- If someone dangerous approaches, I want to be able to defend myself.
- I want to look better naked.
- I want to focus on the relationships in my life, not the food.
- It's important to overcome my family history of disease and illness and beat the odds.
- I don't want to feel like everyone is looking at me when I go out in public.
- I want to surprise people I haven't seen in a while with how great I look!
- The big reason for my social anxiety is my weight; I need to change that.
- I have plans for a family some day and want to be healthy when I get pregnant.
- I don't want my weight to be an issue when I go for job interviews.
- I want to hike up a mountain.
- Being a normal weight means protecting my joints, spine and hips.
- I'm tired of buying new clothes because the old ones don't fit.
- I want my kids to be proud that their mom is fit and healthy.
- I want to feel good after a meal and not sick because I fed my body junk.
- Life is short and I want to make the most of every moment I have left.
- I don't want to repeat the same mistakes I saw my parents make.
- I want to break my addiction to comfort eating.
- I want to fit into my wedding dress from 20 years ago.
- It's no fun to feel self-conscious all the time.
- My husband will be proud of me.
- I want my body to show all of the hard work I've put into it.
- I don't want to feel like there's the caveat "for her size" when someone says I look good in a photo or dress.
- I want to get rid of the symptoms of acid reflux.
- I want the towels at the gym to fit around my body.
- My weight should no longer be an excuse.
- It's time to start using the full-length mirrors in my house again.
- I'm ready to forgive myself for past mistakes and move forward toward a healthier future.
- No more double chin!
- I want to be able to do more and not have my weight hold me back.
- I don't want to feel pressure to lose weight for special events. I want to be ready for those events all the time.
- I want to wear high heels without my feet killing me after 20 minutes.
- When my diet is generally healthy, I taste food better.
- Less insulating fat means less sweating.
- My partner is tired of hearing me snore all night.
- I should be able to touch my toes.
- I want to inspire those around me to take control of their health.
- My new motto is "eat to live, not live to eat."
- I want to enjoy flaunting all of my hard-earned assets.
- A healthy lifestyle boosts creativity.
- Building muscles helps bulid brain cells.
- I'm ready for the constant bounce in my step.
- I want to be able to say, "I wasn’t happy, so I did something about it."
In a 2007 study, Dr. Brian Wansink, professor and Director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, discovered that making healthy food decisions isn't just a one-and-done deal. In fact, according to his report, the average person makes more than 200 food decisions every single day.
For anyone who has ever worked to stick to an eating plan, this should come as no surprise. You start the day strong, but with every twist and turn you're faced with a calorie-packed landscape. Grabbing a coffee at the gas station brings you face-to-face with the candy aisle; the vending machine calls your name at lunch; the doughnuts that appear every morning in the breakroom. Your brain quickly tires and your healthy eating plan goes south.
The daily decisions can derail even the most dedicated among us, which is why many people find turning themselves turning to meal replacements to combat the convenient and tempting foods all around. With the right understanding and some smart choices, meal replacements can be a smart option for people looking to gain more control of their food environment.
What Is a Meal Replacement?
A meal replacement is a portion-controlled, calorie-controlled food item that is used in place of a regular meal. Popular meal replacement choices include shakes, shelf-stable entrees, frozen meals, cereals and soups. Meal replacements offer a blend of protein, carbohydrates and fat, and are also fortified with vitamins and minerals. The nutritional make-up of meal replacements is similar to what would be found in a well-balanced meal. An important distinction to keep in mind is that while a meal replacement shake contains a blend of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals, protein shakes are composed of one main nutrient—protein. Thus, protein shakes should not be used as a substitute for an entire meal, but rather only by those who have an increased need for protein or are having difficulty meeting protein needs through food intake exclusively.
Current scientific research evidence indicates that meal replacements can be a beneficial tool for those looking to lose weight. Research has shown positive results in both medically managed programs that use only meal replacements and home weight-loss plans that use one or two meals replacements daily, along with other well-balanced nutritious meals and snacks. These eating plans result in weight loss by eliminating some of those hundreds of food decisions that need to be made each day, and because the meal replacements offer more structure, portion control and calorie control.
How to Choose a Meal Replacement
Planning and selection is important when using meal replacements. Use these guidelines:
- Calories: 120 to 350. When selecting a meal replacement, look for one that contains the approximate calories that you have designated for that meal. If the meal replacement is low in calories, try doubling the portion of the meal replacement, adding fruits and vegetables to the shake or entrée, or rounding out the meal by adding a serving of fruit or a side salad. Remember, fruits and veggies contain not only valuable nutrients, but also higher water content and extra fiber that can help you to stay more satisfied.
- Protein: 12 to 20 grams. Be sure that the meal replacement contains about 12 to 20 grams of protein in a serving to ensure that you meet your protein needs for the day. Adequate protein intake helps to maintain muscle mass during weight loss and wards off hunger.
- Sodium: 600 milligrams or fewer. Beware of high sodium meal replacements.
- Vitamins and Minerals: 25 to 30 percent of daily intake.
How to Use Meal Replacements Learn More
By using the meal replacement selection criteria listed above, you can be assured that you’ll be meeting your nutritional needs when you use one to two meal replacements daily along with well-planned traditional meals and snacks. If you find this plan to be a helpful weight-loss or weight-maintenance tool, it is possible to safely use a healthy eating plan with the aid of meal replacements daily for the rest of your life.
Programs and clinics that use only meal replacements do exist for individuals who have a greater amount of weight to lose, as well. The programs use medically formulated products that are specially designed to provide all the recommended nutrients with no additional outside snacks or meals.
As always, it is best to discuss the use of meal replacements with your primary care physician or registered dietitian before starting. When used correctly, meal replacements have been used safely with people who have Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and other medical conditions. For those needing a more restrictive diet due to conditions such as kidney disease, fatty liver disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis or and Crohn’s disease, check first with your doctor.
There are many weight-loss tools that can be used to bring about a safe and effective weight loss. Meal replacements aren’t the magic bullet in the battle of the bulge, but they can be a great tool to keep in your arsenal to help maintain control of your calorie intake.
HMR Weight Management is a meal replacement program that’s been offered in hospitals and medical centers for 34 years. Once available exclusively through these medical setting, HMR’s meal replacements are also now available for home use. (For a limited time, get free shipping on your first order of an HMR food. Use code SPARKFREE at checkout.)
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Move over, Siri
and Google Assistant
, there's a new A.I. in town and her name is Alexa. Well, not new, exactly (the Amazon Alexa has actually been around since November of 2014) but the digital personal assistant is quickly transitioning from a rare novelty to a more mainstream technology. Surveys have found
that ownership of Alexa has grown by more than 70 percent in less than a year.
Alexa, which powers devices like the Echo
, Echo Show
, is a woman of many talents. Not only can she track sports stats, adjust your home's thermostat and manage your Google calendar, but she can also help you get and stay fit. While you can't instruct her to do your workout for you (pity), Alexa offers plenty of fun, futuristic ways to stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan.
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Josie from Arkansas (HAPPYDOES
) has been on her weight-loss journey for nearly 40 years—but it's a journey that hasn't always headed in a healthy direction. It's taken some twists and turns, some ups and downs—and, at times, has come to a screeching halt. Now, at almost 58 years old, with the help of SparkPeople, Josie feels that she's finally found her way.
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So, just like 29 million other people in the country, you have diabetes
. You're learning to live with the condition—eating healthier, exercising and maybe even taking medication to keep your blood sugar within a safe range. You're determined to keep your diabetes under control, rather than letting it control you.
And then…the holidays
Here comes November, the start of the sweetest season of all. There's a festive flurry of office parties, family dinners and neighborhood gatherings—and all of them seem to share one common thread: scrumptious, sugary desserts.
Where does that leave you?
When you're diagnosed with diabetes, sugar instantly turns into a four-letter word, and cookies, cakes, pies and other sweet treats become taboo. But with smart recipes like these, you can still enjoy your favorite desserts (in moderation, of course) without putting yourself in the danger zone.
Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!
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Savor: Spirit Animal Crackers for Adults
I have a confession: I am an aggressively bad snacker. I break a lot of snacking rules and I'm actively trying to perfect my snacking strategy so it helps my overall goals, rather than rudely hinders them. In an effort to overhaul my bad habit of diving into last year's Easter candy or finding my hand at the bottom of a bag of plantain chips (again), I keep an eye out for foods that can satisfy my need to snack, while offering some kind of nutritional value or keeping me full instead of jonesing for even more salty or sweet goodness.
While I've replaced overly processed granola bars with homemade popcorn and fun-sized candy bars with a banana and peanut butter, the weakness I can't seem to shake is the craving for crunchy crackers. Cheez-Its, Cheetos, Teddy Grahams, Wheat Thins—you name it, I've eaten half a box or bag in one sitting. There's just something about the texture, crunching sound and taste that get me hooked every time. I very well might have been the inspiration behind Pringles' "Once You Pop, You Can't Stop"
slogan. I know they're chips, but they might have been spying on me, guys.
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