Happy January! With New Year’s Resolutions being made across the country, I’d like to talk about the most obvious one: losing weight. With inspiring shows like The Biggest Loser, online resources, and gym memberships I’m wondering if Millennials are taking advantage of the opportunities available to them?
Apparently they are not. According to article Millennials: Are They Healthier than Earlier Generations? by Carol Phillips of Millennial Marketing, Millennials may be less healthy than previous generations. The post cites a study “Health, United States, 2008, with a special feature on the Health of Young Adults.” Here are some highlights:
“The proportion of young adults 18–29 years of age who were obese more than tripled from 8% in 1971–1974 to 24% in 2003–2004.”
“Nearly two-thirds of young adults did not have regular leisure-time physical activity and three-quarters did not report strength-training at least twice a week.”
Post-college I gained a lot of pounds. Since I had always maintained a healthy weight effortlessly, I thought I never had to watch what I ate. To make matters worse, my workplace seemed to have potlucks every week: for birthdays, sales goals reached, retirements, more birthdays…. you name it. They also had a vending machine for convenient but empty-calorie snacks. On top of that, add two holiday seasons of not watching my calorie intake, and sitting in a cubicle every day, and not-so-suddenly my clothes from college didn’t fit anymore!
When I finally weighed myself I was 15-20 pounds above my BMI. What?!
I decided to wise up, and take control. Weight loss is easy, right? Calorie-in, calorie-out, watch what you eat, and workout a bit. Easy. After a year of sensible eating, and knocking myself out at kick-boxing class once a week, I weighed myself a year later– I was exactly the same weight on the dot.
It turned out I needed to educate myself on the difference between a maintenance vs. weight loss diet/workout plan.
I started my weight loss plan after giving birth to my son in 2011. I found a great diet plan, and worked out to Biggest Loser: Cardio Max, or Biggest Loser: Power Sculpt five days a week. My first goal was just 10 pounds, but I actually lost 15 after 3 months. Almost two years later I’ve lost 32 pounds– way more than I expected or originally planned, also well within a healthy BMI weight for me.
HOPE FOR MILLENNIALS
When Millennials enter the workplace their health declines drastically this study shows from US National Library of Medicine– so I’m not alone in my post-college weight gain. But I think there is some hope for how to curb this trend in Millennials. According to Mayo Clinic’s Nutrition-Wise blog article: “What food trends define the millennial generation?”, Millennials are huge snackers, which has contributed to obesity in people ages 16 to 27. By finding healthy snack alternatives, it’s a small step to promote weight loss, since eating several times during the day actually helps promote weight loss. Find a way to use your snacking habit to your advantage. To find more nutrition advice, and how to form good habits check out nutritionlately.com post 16 Ways Millennials are #WinningTheFoodGame. You may have more of an edge than you realized!
MILLENNIALS: YOUR METABOLISM IS NOT SPECIAL
What I learned from my weight loss (that I think is distinctly Millennial) has to do with the whole entitlement, “I’m Special”-thing. I learned that my metabolism isn’t above the principles of calorie-in, calorie-out. I learned that if I decide to not be active, it will catch up with me. It was a great lesson for me to learn responsibility for my health, and to see the direct results of learning how to take care of myself. Although it wasn’t fun gaining the weight, I’m glad I did because now I know how to manage it– probably for the rest of my life.
Good luck to you on your New Year’s Resolutions! Whatever they may be, I hope you learn something from your goals this year.