New Year Resolutions
1. Start with a clear intention statement. We can sabotage ourselves from the very start by giving ourselves pie-in-the-sky (and sometimes unattainable) goals. I intend to cut down on my sugar intake this year. I know that if I eliminate sweets entirely, I will begin to feel deprived. This feeling of being denied only leads to a binge which then results in “I fell off the wagon, so what’s the use of really trying?” (And the spiral of self-hate and loathing, along with self-talk consisting of things that I wouldn’t say to my best friend…)
“I will not eat sugar at all” is an all or nothing statement. I prefer, “I will limit myself to one sweet per day” (or every other day, or once a week if I really want to go for it.) Your intention statement is all about knowing yourself, taking into account what you tried before, and the challenges that you encountered.
2. Lifestyle changes. Change your approach to eating by committing to a “lifestyle change.” If you’re serious about eating better, these four food items are ones to reduce or eliminate from your eating regime: Sugar, Cheese, Butter, and Fried Food.
By implementing simple changes that you can live with and, most of all, stick to, then you have a greater chance of success. Gradually eliminate or reduce the food items that you know are not nutritious – and not helping your waistline. Try one item every couple of weeks – for example, you can start reducing soda and then work on french fries a couple of weeks later.
3. Portion control is huge. This is a change you can make that will make a big difference. Face it, we live in a “bigger is better” world. If you eat out regularly, the portions are usually double what you really need. Keep in mind that your stomach is only about the size of your fist. Opt for nutritious choices rather than empty calories – but you can still have the foods that you love, only less.
4. Speaking of empty calories (and sugar)… alcohol. We are in the Big Easy but if you’re drinking some of your meals, you might want to examine this one more closely. Just sayin’.
5. Moving more. People routinely think that they eat less than they actually eat, and move a lot more than they really move. Think out-of-the-box on this one. You don’t have to be in a gym for your workout to count. We’ve all heard of these: take the stairs, park at the far end of the lot, walk when you can. Try this too: if you work at a desk, take a break every 45 minutes and walk briskly around the office. If you’re cleaning, speed it up and exaggerate your movements. Fit in an aerobic routine – something that you enjoy and can stick with. Mix it up and try new things like strength resistance or functional training in a TRX class, yoga or Pilates. Take the dog for a walk, turn up the music and shake your booty, ride your bike.
6. Ask for help. Enlist a friend or family member to keep you motivated and accountable. The buddy system definitely works – meet them for a brisk walk or call them when you need a pep talk. Many of my students and clients have had success with Weight Watchers because of its focus on lifestyle changes. Also, don’t be reluctant to check out support groups like Overeaters Anonymous which are filled with people facing the same challenges. Or a personal trainer (me!) can design workouts to help you reach your goals, as well as keep you on the straight and narrow.
7. Most of all, don't give up! If you fall off the wagon, start over just like it's January 1st, with the same resolve. After all, every second is the beginning of a new year...
Good health to you all! I would love to hear your intentions for this year and your strategies! – Mia