Tips for Successful Resolutions

Happy New Year!  So you and 90% of the country have resolved to eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight this year.  According to Wikipedia, 92% of people fail at their New Year’s resolutions.  Well 2012 is the year to make them work.  Here are some tips gathered from different places to help you be successful.

General tips:

Make small goals.  I think this is probably the most important rule to follow when trying to make major changes.  You cannot simply say I want to lose 30lbs.  Set up mini goals within that, or better yet, focus on healthy changes you can make and view weight loss as a positive side effect.  Mini goals may be to limit processed/packaged food and eat at least 3 servings of fruits/vegetables a day.  Another one might be to start out with getting 2 hours of exercise a week.  You cannot expect to just jump into a gym routine of 1 hour a day, 6 days a week and just do it.  If you start with a smaller goal like 2 hours a week, you can break that down to 20 minutes a day 6 days a week and work up from there.

Long term goals, that I find do work, are things like races.  If a goal of yours is to start running, run more, or run faster, maybe you want to sign up for a 5K or longer race.  Having a scheduled race on your calendar can really motivate you to work towards your goals.  Check out my last post for more motivation.

Reward yourself.  Rewards make working towards goals much more fun.  If you are trying to eat healthier or lose weight the key is to make your reward non-food related.  Try making rewards other things that make you feel good, like getting your nails done, or buying a new work out accessory.

Plan! Things always work out better when you go in with a plan.  This can mean planning out dinners for the week, or scheduling your exercise into your weekly planner.  At minimum, think about healthy meals you will eat throughout your week and make a shopping list to ensure you get the right foods.  Having a list at the grocery store can also help you avoid impulse buys.

Healthy Eating tips:

Don’t skip breakfast! Start your day off right with breakfast.  Check out this post for why breakfast is so important!

Slow down.  Take a break from whatever you are doing to eat.  Try not to eat your meals while in front of the TV, computer, while doing something else.  Pay attention to the taste, enjoy your food. By eating slower and paying attention, you will be able to have a better sense of fullness and satisfaction.  This is especially important for dessert or other little splurges.  Take one serving of your treat, put the rest away, and eat it slowly to fully enjoy it.

Chew your calories.  Beverages tend to be empty calories.  Even those that are okay for you, such as juice, are not the best option.  Instead of drinking juice, eat the whole fruit.  Apple juice, for example, has 48% more calories than a whole apple.  In addition, the fruit has more fiber than juice.  Your body does not recognize fullness from beverages because there is no digestion.  When you chew food, your mouth releases saliva which triggers the beginning of digestion.
Choose water, seltzer, unsweetened teas and coffee (with limited milk and sugar).

Keep track.  People tend to be more successful when they track their intake.  Writing down everything you eat holds you accountable and makes you more aware of what and how much you are eating.  There are also tons of apps that can keep a record of your food and fitness, as well as track your goals.

As always, make half your plate veggies, 1/4 grain and 1/4 protein.  Check out www.ChoseMyPlate.gov for more information on a balanced diet, and to customize one for yourself.

I wish you health and happiness in the new year!

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