As we greet 2016, many of us will make New Year’s resolutions. While some people quit after just a few days, we believe you CAN succeed. If your goal for 2016 is better health, remember it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon! You have 366 days to reach your goals this leap year!
Tips for keeping New Year’s Resolutions
**NOTE: If you have chronic medical conditions that require medical supervision, please see your doctor to develop a weight loss, exercise or smoking cessation plan under their guidance. Always consult your doctor if you are not sure about your health status.**
Losing Weight: Whether you want to lose 20 pounds or 200, weight loss starts with the first pound. To reach your goal, be sure you set attainable goals along the way to keep yourself motivated. Don’t try to lose 20 pounds in a month. It doesn’t work that way. These tips to start losing weight and keeping it off might help!
- Keep an ACCURATE food journal. Everything you eat, whether you record it or not, affects your weight. Measure foods. Write down what you eat — even that “taste” of the kids’ mac-n-cheese. You can’t change habits you aren’t aware of, and a food journal is a great way to see where and when you struggle.
- Set manageable goals that increase weekly:
- Week One: Substitute water for sugary (or sugar free) drinks. Water is essential to good health. This one change will help you lose weight by eliminating sugar (or sugary signals) to your body.
- Week Two: Start shrinking those portions. Measure out what you would normally eat and compare it to a “true” portion (most of us eat double or triple the normal portion of most foods). Eat less than you normally would so your body starts expecting fewer extra calories.
- Week Three: Substitute healthy foods for some of the sugary, fried or processed foods you normally eat. Add a salad (with only 1 Tablespoon of dressing and no croutons or cheese) to your lunch or dinner. Eat unsweetened, whole-grain cereal at breakfast. Cut the mayonnaise and butter, and start using lower calorie, healthy toppings like mustard or vinegar and oil for sandwiches.
- Week Four: Eliminate bedtime snacks! When you’re tired, your body sends signals for carbs. Go to bed instead! You need that rest.
- Week Five and beyond: Keep making changes like above, cutting calories until you get to a healthy place for losing weight without starving yourself (could be anywhere from 1200-2000, ask your doctor if you need more help). Cut processed, unhealthy foods and add whole grains, fresh vegetables and lean meats to give your body the healthiest fuel to get through the day. Add exercise! And always drink water instead of soda, tea, alcohol or juices.
Getting physically fit: Getting fit today is easier than ever before. Honest! Just remember: It all starts with a single step! These tips will help.
- If you have a fitness tracker, smart phone or timer, use it to remind yourself to get moving! Set alarms to buzz every 2 hours. When it buzzes, get up and move. You can walk around the block, climb a flight of stairs and back down, circle your floor at your office. Just get moving!
- If moving at all is difficult, start by standing up and sitting back down a few times every hour. (If you’re watching TV, stand up and sit down during the commercials. At first you might only be able to do three reps. That’s okay. Keep at it every day and every show. Amaze yourself as you gain strength!)
- If you respond well to challenges, consider joining a Couch to 5K accountability group. In 8 weeks, run that 5K proudly, knowing you made a huge life change.
- Walk every day — as fitness improves, you should walk at a brisk pace that makes it difficult to talk and walk at the same time.
- Take the stairs whenever you can.
- Park far away and use the walk into work or the store to increase your activity.
- For strength training, make sure you work properly and do NOT push your muscles too hard. You can do more harm than good with many strength training programs. Ask your physician for a recommendation on the best training program for you.
Quit smoking: If you want to quit smoking, please ask your doctor for help. There’s much your physician can do to help you in these areas. You can also help yourself.
- Calculate the cost. Figure out what you spend on cigarettes weekly. What could you do with that money that you’d enjoy? Set that as a goal — and then pay yourself whenever you don’t buy cigarettes. The first week, that might not amount to much, but each week, cut back more and pay yourself more. Keep that goal in mind!
- Pay attention to your triggers.
- When do you smoke? What could you do instead to break that “time habit”?
- Where do you smoke? Is it at certain places or with certain people? Can you avoid those situations?
- Many people smoke at the end of a meal. Consider chewing a piece of gum instead and take a walk around the block. Replace smoking with activities you can do instead — think differently!
- Have an accountability partner. If you and a friend or family member both want to quit smoking, work together to encourage each other and achieve your goal.
Changing habits that cause poor health is not easy. Allow yourself the whole year to get into healthier shape. We’re here to help if you need us.
We wish you a new year filled with better health, lots of love and joy!
Happy New Year!