If each year around this time you’ve resolved to lose weight … again … only to rebound within a month or a few, try this approach instead:
1. Resolve NOT to "diet." Most people think of dieting as something they do temporarily to lose weight quickly. Most who lose weight this way re-gain it once they stop dieting. This "cycling," or yo-yo dieting, can put you at greater risk for heart disease, among other health risks. Think of changing the way you eat not as a temporary fix but as your new approach to taking better care of yourself. So consider these other resolutions:
2. Resolve to eat more real food. Most packaged foods are full of additives and preservatives that you don’t need and that force your body to work overtime to process them. Stick with whole fruits and veggies, meats, grains, nuts and legumes.
3. Resolve to figure out why you turn to ice cream (or candy bars or potato chips or … ) when you’re feeling challenged or stressed. We all do it. Mindful eating can help you understand how to see food more for nourishment and enjoyment, and less for stress-relief.
4. Resolve to drink more water. Aim for at least 8 cups a day. Water helps our bodies function, flushing toxins, fueling cells, nourishing tissues. We are made up of 60 percent water, and what we lose through perspiring, breathing and eliminating, we need to replace.
5. Resolve to cleanse your life of toxic relationships. They can lead to stress … which leads to … see No. 3.
6. Resolve to move your body till you work up a sweat for at least 30 minutes at least three times a week. Who says you have to spend hours at the gym? That 30 minutes can be as effective as 60.
7. Resolve to prepare your own meals one day more a week. Eating in can save you money, give you control of the ingredients, increase family time (enlist the help of others) support the environment and provide other benefits to you, those you love and society at large. After a month, resolve to cook two days more a week, and then more, until you’re eating homemade food at least 4 out of 7 days.
8. Resolve to not eat for 12 hours overnight. Let’s say 7:30 p.m. is your cutoff. That means nothing but water till 7:30 a.m. This mini fast gives your body a chance to process what’s already there and take a break before it’s time to start up again. And it helps you steer clear of calorie-laden late-night snacks. A good helping of protein for dinner will keep you feeling full.
9. Resolve to track your habits. Hold a mirror up so you can see where your trouble spots are. There are several programs available, many of them free. I use My Fitness Pal because it’s quick and easy. It shows me that I eat way too much sugar. So I’m much more mindful of that.
10. Resolve to track your steps. Use a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps (about 5 miles) per day.
11. Resolve not to go back to what you were doing that got you into whatever size you’re in. The longer you keep the weight off, the easier it gets to do so.
12. Resolve to take the long view. Safe, lasting weight loss doesn’t happen in an instant and it’s not dramatic, but when it’s gone -- and when you stick with your new habits -- it’s gone.
13. Resolve to start now.
Trying to figure out where to start? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org