The holiday is approaching and, with it, plenty of intentions and resolutions to eat right, exercise more, and lose weight. However, getting from the “before” picture to “after” picture is a realistic long haul that can require an incredible amount of dedication, focus, planning and discipline. But does it have to be that hard? Not necessarily. The good news is that there are a number of simple healthy steps you can take to improve your chances of meeting your health and wellness goals without completely overhauling your lifestyle like a rigid marine boot camp.
Work Towards A Goal
Many people set out to lose weight and get in shape by setting weight loss goals for themselves: say, lose 25 pounds or reach a pre-determined weight. That strategy may work for some people, but there is another way to put yourself on the right track. Instead, focus on a goal that requires weight loss and fitness, but doesn’t depend on losing a set number of pounds. For example, challenge yourself to get in shape for an upcoming sporting event, such as a road race, tournament, etc. Keeping this goal in mind can help keep you motivated and will make the end reward more impactful.
Get Better At Something You Love
Rather than concentrating on how much excess weight you want to lose this New Years, focus on getting even better at something you already love. So if you’re an experienced runner, shortstop, goalie, swimmer, or cyclist, or yogi, focus on eating better, gaining strength or flexibility in areas that will help you improve your ability. Imagine, for example, if you’re a runner and realized you could add increase your pace without getting winded.
Avoid The Unhealthy Snacks You Don’t Love
Have you ever found yourself mindlessly eating a bag of chips just because they are there? Accountability, discipline, and self-control play a huge role. Many people decide to make cutting out unhealthy snacks altogether a New Year’s resolution. That’s a good idea but it may not be realistic. The trick is to stop eating the unhealthy snacks you need. If potato chips don’t excite you, and you find yourself eating them just because they’re in front of you, make it a goal to stop consuming them altogether. And if your favorite snack is chocolate, don’t be afraid to indulge from time to time because, let’s face it, swearing off one of your favorite foods just isn’t going to work long-term. Especially since behavioral studies show that cutting out ‘one’ indulgence, not ALL works better long term.
We’ve all heard about fad diets that see weight ‘fly off’ in a relatively short amount of time. Generally, these kinds of diets don’t work, and in most cases, the weight comes right back on. That’s why it’s important to be realistic when creating resolutions. For one, set a realistic weight loss goal. Someone who’s 230 pounds shouldn’t expect to lose more than 50 pounds in six months. Instead, focus on becoming a healthier person by eating cleaner and being more active. Try to avoid beating yourself up if you don’t reach your weight loss goals.
Be Active In A Social Environment
The holidays bring a lot of overindulgences followed by a ton of resolutions and consequently, more gym memberships. But is going to the gym, which means running on a treadmill, swimming, or using weight machines the best way to get in shape and reach your goals? The answer is maybe. Going to the gym can definitely be an important part of reaching your health objectives. But it can get boring. To shake things up consider being active in a social setting. This could mean attending classes (i.e., yoga or cycling classes) or joining a sports team. If you enjoy the activity and the people you’re active with, you’ll lose weight, get in shape, and hardly notice yourself doing it.
Make Little Changes To Your Routine
Yes, being hell bent on your routine, such as running everyday instead of once a week or cycling for 20 miles instead of 10 miles, can certainly help you reach your fitness goals. But making the most of your New Year’s resolutions depends on making little changes to your routine and lifestyle. Stop taking elevators and head for the stairs. Walk, run or bike to your destinations whenever possible. Stop eating late, right before bed or, at the very least, eat healthy (such as fruit or vegetables) instead of something that’s high in sugar, calories or fat.
Everything In Moderation
One strategy for meeting your fitness goals could involve removing all unhealthy foods from your house. It’s true that, by keeping unhealthy foods out of your home, you’ll probably eat less of them and you may feel yourself getting closer to your fitness goals. But to stay sane remember to treat yourself from time to time and have snacks around for the occasional indulgence. Reward yourself for eating healthy and clean after 6 days.
Exercise At Home
Obviously, gyms have activities and equipment necessary to get fit and lose weight. However, going to the gym can be a pain and not just because of the various activities. Often, its time consuming and stressful between leaving the house, getting in the car, and navigating traffic. For many, that constitutes a huge hassle that prevents them from going to the gym altogether. So, try working out at home. This doesn’t have to involve buying all kinds of expensive equipment. Many of the best exercises, or those that build the most strength and burn the most calories require nothing more than your own body weight such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, burpees, and pull-ups. Also, just by purchasing a few more items such as kettlebells, dumbbells and some weights, you can add several other great exercises to your home routine.
written for Cliff Original by Frederick Entenmann, Best-Selling Author, Health & Wellness Consultant, Life Performance Coach for CEOs and Professional Athletes, Founder of Mind-Body-Life. Frederick is a former professional athlete who is a leader in the fields of corrective, high-performance exercise kinesiology, mind and body holistic health.