If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, get healthy and stay fit, here are some tips to help you make it last more than a couple of months. These tips will help you keep your resolution for life!
- Big Brother is watching. A food journal is the best way to keep track of your diet. It can also play the role of an accountability partner. At www.calorieking.com you can search food items to help you track down your daily intake and make sure you stay in check. Many smartphones have applications to help you keep track of calories, fat grams, carbs and more. One of these free apps is called “Lose It!” (www.loseit.com). Another fun app is “Foodpics Log” which uses your smartphone’s camera to capture what you really eat. Check out, tweetwhatyoueat.com, a free diary that lets you set up a Twitter-based food diary and track your weight and calorie intake. If you want even greater accountability, you can set up a profile on Body Space www.bodybuilding.com, track your progress, set goals and join in with others striving for the same goals. You can even find a group in your area that will help support you like the Weight Watchers group at ALHI (Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative).
- Cheat to beat defeat. Allow yourself one cheat meal per week. This does not suggest an entire day of McDelight, but make sure you reward yourself to one meal per week that consists of foods that you are not allowed in your new diet plan.
- Drop the Yo-Yo. Think of it as a “lifestyle change” not a diet. It’s easy to fall prey to “yo-yo dieting” with all of the diet trends and fads out there. Most of them you cannot do for long-term, some of them even have risk-factors. Make sure to find a new style of eating that is healthy for the rest of your life. This can even include successful programs such as Weight Watchers, the Vegan RAW Diet or the Eat-Clean Diet. One great place to find “clean-eating” recipes is at www.hungry-girl.com.
- Get Physical. Be active. Not everyone has the finances to join a gym or hire a personal trainer, but you have to make time. For a minimum of 30 minutes 3 days per week, schedule to be active. This could include jogging, yoga, pilates, rock climbing, kickboxing, riding your bike, Wii Fit, walking your dog or anything that helps get your heart pumping. Download the app for MapMyFitness.com or RunKeeper.com which uses your phone’s GPS and calculates how many calories you burned. Permanent marker physical activity on your planner and even if you don’t feel like it, do it anyway. The endorphins will actually help you feel better once you’re done exercising. You will feel even better yet when you fit into those incredible jeans a size or two smaller.
- Just Breathe. Stress releases a steroid hormone called cortisol, produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol is the nasty thing that invites Mr. Jiggles to move in to your mid-section. Meditation is an easy way to relax. Other ways include doing things you enjoy that are therapeutic; like art, writing, reading a book or listening to music. If you find your anxiety starting to increase, you can take deep breaths, holding it for a count of 3, then releasing for a count of 8. Another tip that is rather amusing is to “flick” yourself. Wear a rubber band and when you start to feel overwhelmed, pop the band and your body will immediately become distracted and alert the attention of your central nervous system elsewhere. When you are at work, make sure to take a break as often as allowed. Oh, hate to break this to you, but playing on the internet is not a stress reliever.
- You snooze, you lose. Get adequate sleep every night. This is for minimum of 6 hours. If you have trouble catching your z’s, melatonin is a natural sleep aid that might assist you, instead of turning to medications that include long lists of side-effects. Sleeping allows your body to recover so you feel refreshed enough to tackle the next day. Too much sleep counteracts this philosophy, so try to keep your snooze at a maximum of 8 hours.
- Do not play Scale Wars. Do not weigh yourself every day. Watching the numbers on the scale can sometimes make you feel like all efforts are lost. Even with dieting, our bodies can hold excess water on certain days, which make us feel bloated and will reflect on the scale. Another thing to keep in mind, the more muscle you develop can actually increase your weight since muscle weighs more than fat. I suggest doing body measurements and you will notice your weight loss by how your clothes fit. Keep track of your body mass index (BMI) and body composition: fat versus lean mass. Try not to step on the scale more than once per week and do it first thing in the morning. Preferably, without wearing clothes or shoes.
- 8. Say Goodbye to Sugar High. Sugar is proven to be addictive. Your body will start to crave everything from ice cream to peanut butter cups. Choose natural sugar alternatives instead, like stevia, raw honey or agave nectar. Many products are also available that are “healthy sweet treats.” This will help curb your need to get that quick fix. Aim for no sugar added or sugar-free products.
- 9. Recycle. Donate your clothes, once they outgrow you. Reward yourself with new clothes. A bargain way to do this is to shop at your neighborhood thrift store. Once you no longer own your bigger britches, you are motivated to stay on the fast-track to success as you sport your new lean-and-mean jeans!
- 10. Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Last but not least, look in the mirror every day and tell yourself one positive thing about yourself. Even if you don’t believe it, speak it into existence. Daily affirmations provide you with positive energy to help motivate you, build your confidence and self-worth. You are getting healthy because you are worth it! You love yourself and it’s good to compliment yourself and have a little self-esteem a boost. On days you reach a goal, take yourself out on a special date. Spoil yourself!
The Hangover (aka: beer belly). One way to add liquid calories and carbs faster than a speeding bullet is by indulging in alcohol. If you choose to booze, remember that you are safer with clear liquors and low carb, low calorie beer. Beware of sugary mixers! For the winos: red is better overall for you than white. Try to limit how many drinks you have per week. Once you continue to curve drinking down, watch your belly magically disintegrate. Presto Chango!
Now that you have the tools, go out there and be a healthier you! You CAN do it. 2011 is your year to rise, shine and get (and stay) lean!
Written by Tristan Skye