Opinion: Losing weight the right way

By Morgan Steinbach — With the start of a new season of short shorts and tank tops, many of us are beginning to notice the couple extra pounds we have put on over winter. After a family Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s dinners all in one season, we can only expect to see the numbers on the scale go up.

According to The New York Times, the average person gains five pounds over the winter months. Although this may not seem like much, after accumulation, it is the difference between the bikini body you had two years ago and the cottage cheese you are now trying to cover up.

You may be looking for a quick fix to the common problem, but I can assure you that extreme dieting is not the answer to long term weight loss.

Maintaining a healthy weight and body is dependent on the amount of exercise one does not the amount of meals one skips. Physical activity not only helps improve appearance, but also has its positive effects on emotions and overall health of a person.

Working out can help prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, along with promoting a healthy mental state. Many use exercise as a way to release frustration or even a time to talk with friends.

Along with working out, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is key to losing weight. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, each person should be having about eight servings of whole grains, 6 servings of fruits and vegetables, two to three servings of dairy and poultry products each day.

By drinking only protein shakes for meals or completely skipping out on breakfast, lunch or dinner extreme dieters lose essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Also, skipping meals can lead to a decreased metabolism resulting in a little to no weight loss according to fit day.com.

If you are looking to shed those few extra pounds, buy a gym membership rather than protein shakes and opt for more well rounded meals instead of not eating at all.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]