7 Steps to Keeping Your Resolutions
Millions of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions this year and only a small number will actually keep them. About a third of the resolutions will be centered on health- eating better and losing weight, starting an exercise program, maybe getting in shape for an upcoming wedding.
We’ve already talked about the three main reasons why resolutions fail- 1) making big, abrupt changes, 2) making too many changes and 3) making the changes to please someone else. The key to winning at the resolution game is small, incremental adjustments to your normal routine that you stick with throughout the year.
So—the top seven tips for keeping your resolutions:
1. Eat breakfast!
No, I’m not trying to be your mom here. But, when you skip breakfast, particularly if you’re a woman, you’ll try and make up for the lack of calories later in the day. It’s kind of like a snowball effect- your body wants to eat and the longer you put it off, the hungrier you get. And, the later you eat, the fewer calories you burn.
Think of breakfast like a kick-start to your metabolism. The engine works when it has fuel. And, put some protein on the menu, not just carbohydrates and sugars. Eat an egg, milk, Greek yogurt or even bacon to help your body get started for the day. You’ll have hours to burn off the calories, as opposed to storing them as fat.
2. Smaller is better
It’s an optical illusion, but it really works. Instead of a big dinner plate, use smaller plates or bowls. Most Americans eat huge portions and they do it simply because it fills the (bigger) plate. And, Mom always told us to clean our plates!
Using a smaller plate forces you to reduce portion size. You’ll be surprised to see that you actually feel full. Especially if you eat more slowly and pay attention to what you’re eating.
3. Choose wisely
Stay. Away. From. The. Packaged. Food. Sure, those tempting (and time-saving) treats fill the shelves at your local grocery store, but the fewer processed foods you eat, the healthier you are. On your weekly shopping trip, try to concentrate on the aisles on either end of the store. That’s usually where you’ll find the fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and dairy products.
Healthier, less processed foods are lower in calories, sugar, sodium and fat and higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Every little reduction in bad calories will add up over a week, month and year. Remember, we’re in this for the long haul. And, the smaller the changes, the better the chances that you’ll stick with them.
Quick example-if you drink a cup (8 oz.) of milk a day for a year, trading whole milk for 1% will save you 10,220 calories and 1,825 grams of fat. And, because it takes 3,500 calories to put on a pound, you’ve just LOST three pounds!
4. Mealtimes at the table, not on the couch
This is much easier to do if you have kids. It’s just about the only way to get everyone together in one place to eat. But, if you’re single, a couple, or eat after the kids do, you may be eating while watching television, or sitting at the computer.
Why is this bad? Well, you’re not talking the time to taste the food. And, talk to the kids, your husband or wife, or to just relax. That’s why you might be eating more than you actually want, because you don’t realize just how much you’re putting down.
Meal times can be an opportunity to catch up on everyone’s day and enjoy your family. Research shows sitting down at the table helps us be more connected to each other and our food. That allows us to eat more slowly, which gives our bodies time to feel full sooner, which reduces just how much we eat. It’s a win-win.
5. Keep track
Most of us can’t remember what we ate for breakfast; let alone what we ate for breakfast last week. Keeping a food diary not only tells us what we eat, it can show us the choices we make at mealtimes, which can help us make better choices.
Jot down a few quick notes about each meal. And, if you don’t have the time, just take a picture with your phone and make notes later that day. There’s nothing that drives home what and how much you’re eating like a food diary. Seeing the day in black and white lets you know how you’re doing when it comes to “good” and “bad” food choices.
6. It’s better with friends
It’s sometimes tough to do it on your own. That’s why it’s easier to stick to your new healthier, resolutions if you have company. Grab the family and head out on a walk or a hike. Ask your co-workers to join you at lunch or break time. Get a workout partner or personal trainer.
Having someone else along for the ride helps to motivate you. It’s also more fun to know you’re not in it alone.
7. Get some sleep
Getting enough sleep helps you recharge for the next day and helps you maintain a healthier weight. Research has shown that people who don’t get enough sleep will eat more the next day. And, to top it off, you might feel too tired to exercise.
On average, you should aim for six to eight hours of sleep. Some folks can do less, some need more. But, make sure you get enough sleep. Otherwise, you’ll torpedo all your good intentions.
Congratulations on making the choice to change! This time next year, you’ll be feeling and looking healthier. Just remember to take it slowly and get a partner to help you on your journey.
Contact us at Icelandic Fitness for a free consultation. We’ll help you set goals and tell you what you need to do to keep your resolutions.