I’ve seen it too many times. People set a fitness New Year’s resolution and wait until the stroke of midnight on December 31st to begin. The problem is, they only plan to begin their fitness goal, but often fail because the moment of passion passed. If you know anyone that smokes and planned to give it up for their New Year’s resolution, you probably have seen them puffing away, smoking more than normal the last few weeks of the year, making it harder to quit. The same is true of people who plan on shedding those extra pounds. They eat like there’s no tomorrow, in anticipation of feeling hungry and deprived. It just doesn’t have to be that way.
Is weight loss one of your goals?
In order to lose one pound, you have to eat 3500 fewer calories than you burn. Rather than waiting until the year begins, start by making a few changes every week, or every day. Learn to make substitutions. If you normally eat a candy bar for a mid afternoon break or have a donut in the morning, switch it out. Grab some fresh fruit or take vegetables and dip to work for a snack. Low fat string cheese and an apple or half an apple with nut butter also make good alternatives. Rather than grab a burger and fries for lunch, go healthy. Even if you eat the same number of calories, you’ll get the nutrition your body needs to keep you healthy and feel fuller longer. Make one change every week and before you know it, you’ll be eating healthy.
Get more exercise.
Don’t wait to join the gym. Start right NOW! That’s right! Just move more. Exercise doesn’t have to be a few hours at the gym every week. In fact, if you work at a sedentary job, you’re better off moving five minutes every hour. Go up and down the stairs if you have them in your building. Walk to a close destination rather than take a car or other form of transportation. Learn some quick five minute workouts you can do at your desk and do them every hour, when you’re not walking up and down the stairs. You’ll be ready for the gym when the new year starts.
Practice mindful eating.
Mindful eating means you focus more on each bite of food. The more aware you are of each bite, the more you can savor the flavors. Even more than that, mindful eating helps you slow down the process of eating, so your mind can catch up to your body and let you know when you’re full. Chewing each bite more not only enhances the enjoyment, it helps digestion and reduces the amount of food you eat, since you’ll feel full without eating as much. Chew, chew, chew and count the number of times you did if you need to do that to slow down eating.
- Start by cutting out processed food. You don’t have a learning curve if you simply cut out processed food. That goes for high sugar drinks, too.
- Drink more water. Often thirst is masked as hunger. When you drink more water, you’ll not only be helping your body, but lowering your caloric intake, too.
- At holiday celebrations, fill up on the fresh fruit and vegetables. It doesn’t mean you can’t eat some of your favorite foods, just remember to use small portions. A smaller plate will make you feel like you ate more.
- Get a regular sleep schedule. Lack of sleep can cause you to be stressed and even to overeat. Sleep is also important for heart health and reducing the risk of other serious conditions.