Many people resolve to eat healthier and exercise each new year. I hope if you've made that resolution you will find many avenues to keep you motivated and on track.
For those of you who are looking to lose weight and keep it off, here are a few tricks successful people use...
1. Plan ahead of time, stay organized and prepare for situations that might get you off track.
I think this is the most important. Instead of just saying you're going to eat better and exercise, have a plan to actually follow through with it. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
2. Exercise consistently
This is vital for your overall health. It will keep your heart healthy, prevent or eliminate diseases, and allow you to do the things you want for many more years. Schedule your workouts as an appointment on your calendar and do not let anything interfere with those appointments! Most people spend a lot of time pouring into other peoples' lives. It is important to take a little time for yourself too.
3. Eat cleaner and more consistent
Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Stick to foods that are natural and do not have preservatives. Also try to eat 6 small meals a day, about every 3 hours. Do not skip breakfast!
4. Learn serving sizes and portion control
I have looked at nutrition information on food packaging for a long time. The thing I didn't pay attention to was the serving sizes. 90 calories may not sound like a lot until you realize you only get two bites for that amount! Learn portion control. Growing up most of us are taught to eat everything on our plates. I'm not promoting being wasteful, but pay attention to how much food you're putting on your plate. Put smaller portions on your plate. If you are truly hungry after you've finished that, you can go back for seconds.
5. Write it down
Keep a journal of what you eat. People don't realize the bad food they are eating or how much they are eating until they see it written down. I also like to write my workouts on a calendar. I'm a visual person and like to see the progress.
6. Change your environment to fit your goals
If you want to stop eating junk food, you need to get it out of your house and out of your office area. You are less likely to make a bad food choice if you have to work harder to get it. If you want to get on your treadmill more often, dust it off and put it in a place where you will see it and use it.
7. Have an accountability partner and find motivation
It is so much easier to skip the gym or eat unhealthy if you are the only person you have to answer to. When you share your goals with someone and give them permission to hold you accountable, you are more likely to succeed. Keep in mind, this means if you start to get off track they may incorporate some tough love. Try not to get angry when/if this happens. Remember, they're doing it for your own good. One of the things people lack on their journey is motivation. I have found blogs to follow that encourage me. I subscribe to Oxygen magazine, Runners World magazine and Clean Eating magazine. I also look up motivational stories online. These things are constant reminders that you CAN do it and it IS worth it!
8. Change your attitude and self talk to be more constructive
Stop telling yourself you can't and start saying you can. If your goal is to run a 5K and you haven't run in years, don't say you can't do it, say you're working your way up to it! YOU ARE WORTH IT!
9. Make a healthy lifestyle your every day lifestyle
Do not go on any diets. When you want to be healthy and fit you must make a lifestyle change. It can be a hard transition, but just make one healthy choice, and then make another.
10. Weigh yourself once a week or measure yourself each month to monitor progress
I put this one last because I don't like using the number (of weight) on a scale to track progress. There are people who don't weigh much but are not healthy. Our scale calculates body fat also, and I concentrate more on that number than on weight. Keeping your measurements is a great way to track your progress also. When you make healthy choices more often, you are going to feel MUCH better and the weight on the scale will not mean a thing! Focus on your health, not just your appearance. Do not be discouraged if it takes a little while to see progress. You will eventually see progress, and if I have not mentioned before, you ARE worth it.
Here's to a healthier you in 2011!