New Year’s resolution time is here. Did you know that people who make resolutions are reportedly 10 times more likely to reach their goals than people who don’t make resolutions? And the top resolution is… to lose weight.
So, how can we boost our chances of success with a weight-loss resolution? Here are some tried-and-true tips for success:
Specific — Avoid general goals like “Lose weight.”
Measurable — How much weight do you want to lose?
Action oriented — What actions will you take to lose weight?
Realistic and Rewarding — Make sure your goals are something you can reach. Maybe set two to five pound milestones. Celebrate when you hit your milestones.
Time-based — Map out your timeline.
Agree with a friend or family member to work together to lose weight. That helps keep us more accountable. Share your effective ideas and successes.
Ease into it rather than making a gung-ho plan you can’t perpetuate. To add more vegetables to your diet, start with one meal each day that includes vegetables. Maybe plan a day each week to have baked or broiled fish. Switch to whole-grain breads and cereals.
Plan your meals in advance. Make a list of items you need at the grocery store and shop the perimeter first where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and fish are located. Include a variety of items from all of the food groups to maximize a good mix of macro and micronutrients.
Drink plenty of water. Water is great for your body and it’s cheap! Your body is composed of about 60% water. Its functions include digestion, absorption, circulation, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature. While water doesn’t have any effect on weight loss, substituting water for high calorie beverages can certainly help. Have a glass with each meal. Keep a bottle with you in your car, at your desk, and , of course, in your gym bag.
Mash the munchies. Rather than snacking:
Try some gum.
Brush or floss your teeth.
Grab a glass of water or make a cup of herbal tea.
Cut down on the number and amount of snack foods you buy. If you don’t have them around, you can’t eat them! When you’re away from home, limit yourself to a limit you set as part of your goals.
Skip food at social events. Get together with friends where food is not needed, such as the park, a favorite hiking trail or a movie.
Be Mindful. Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally, in the present moment. Mindful eating is allowing yourself to become aware of the nurturing benefits that are available through food by respecting your own inner wisdom.
Use all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.
Acknowledge responses to food such as likes, dislikes or being neutral — without judgment.
Recognize your non-hunger triggers for eating.
Become aware of physical hunger and cues that tell you when you’re full. These can guide your decisions to begin and stop eating.
Get moving! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week for adults. And muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week. The activities should work all major muscle groups (your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). If you increase the intensity of your aerobic activity, you can decrease the amount of time and have the same health-enhancing effects.
This tip may be the best — visit with your health care provider or a Registered Dietitian about your resolution and ask about ways you can ensure success. You’ll get effective weight-loss strategies, and, as we discussed, having someone aware of your plans helps keep you accountable. Remember: behavioral changes are not easy, and only you can create your success.
Meet the Author
Theresa Glasgow, RD, is a Registered Dietitian and the Manager of Nutrition Services at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital in Milwaukee, WI
The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.
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