Two of the more common New Year's resolutions are losing weight and eating healthier. If you've made one or both, here are six tips to help you stay on track.
The beginning of the New Year marks the start of promised changes for many people, including you. New Year's resolutions are commitments that are made or goals that are set to help improve a current habit. Some examples of resolutions may include reducing debt, drinking less alcohol, saving money, recycling or increasing physical activity.
Two of the more common resolutions are losing weight and eating healthier. Unfortunately, many people may not stick to their resolutions because each year they find themselves in the same cycle. They make plans and are excited to begin with their new way of life, but then get discouraged or just simply fall off track as time progresses.
To be sure you don't find yourself in a similar situation, I have several tips that may help you stay on track.
1. Set reasonable goals for weight loss. Losing 20 pounds in one month is not a reasonable goal. However, losing 20 pounds in six months is. Gradual weight loss is more likely to stay off and rapid weight loss usually results in a weight gain over time. Did you know that if you reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories per day, you can lose one pound a week? I recommend setting long and short-term weight loss goals. Once you reach your short-term goal, set another one. Continue setting the short-term goal until you reach your long-term goal. Reward yourself with something non-food related when the goal is reached.
2. Make sure you are exercising. You need to burn off the calories you consumed. Physical activity is necessary for weight loss, but beneficial for overall health and promotes a feeling of well-being. If you have issues with being motivated, try joining a gym or working out with a friend. Daily walks around your neighborhood are a good way to start.
3. Monitor portion sizes. I don't know many people that carry around measuring cups outside of their homes, but try to visualize portion sizes. A deck of cards resembles a three-ounce portion of meat. A set of dice equals one ounce of cheese. A baseball equals one cup. Understanding portion sizes can reduce the chance of overeating.
4. Avoid snacking between meals. This simply adds additional calories that are usually empty, non-nutrient containing.
5. If your focus is eating healthier, don't think of it as "dieting." View it as a lifestyle change or new way of life. Generally, diets are temporary fixes. After you get your desired results, you tend to revert back to your old ways. By incorporating better eating habits into your daily routine, you will begin to change your way of thinking.
6. Eat at least three meals daily and avoid eating out. Starving yourself is not the way to lose weight. It merely deprives your body of the necessary nutrients it needs for day-to-day maintenance.
Start and finish 2014 with bang! Don't find yourself in a mid-year slump because you haven't stuck to your resolutions. Renew your thinking for 2014 and prepare yourself for a healthier lifestyle.
LaDale Walker, RD, LDN, of Middletown Family Wellness and Counseling is a registered dietician and licensed nutritionist. She can be reached at (302) 449-4166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.