What's your new year resolution for 2013? Maybe it's to quit smoking, find a new hobby, work out at the gym, or, the most popular, to lose weight!
Let's first look at the word resolution. Webster's Dictionary defines resolution as:
1: the act or process of resolving: as
a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones
b : the act of answering : solving
c : the act of determining
There is no use for the word "resolution" for someone who is trying to change a habit or lifestyle they no longer enjoy and/or feel unnecessary to keep. I'm a big believer in using positive reinforcing words that attract people to change rather then confiding them to a mental jail cell. Such words like "diet", "can't", "don't", "shouldn't", "mustn't", "resolution" can discourage people from making an effort and deflate their motivation balloon. I love motivation, being motivated and having words in my vocabulary that push me along. Words/phrases like: "have this instead", "let's do it", "keep going", "push on" etc. Something so simple as a word can change someones mindset and thought process. Instead of calling it a DIET call it a lifestyle change, or mindful eating. Turn things into a positive and that can really give you a boost of motivation and drive to change.
So instead of a "New Year Resolution", I am going to label it "New Year Lifestyle Change". Since this blog is geared towards some type of weight-loss or maintenance of weight, I will not be talking about how to quit smoking or what new hobby you should be looking to take up. However, some of what I will tell you may be helpful to other New Year Lifestyle Changes that don't have to do with weight.
The hardest thing to do is start. Where do I begin? What do I do? How do I start? Last year at this time I had those same questions and even more. One thing I cannot stress enough is to start small. We've heard that saying, "Slow and steady wins the race"... no need for an explanation on that.
1. Start Small - No human in their right mind would wake up and do a 26 mile marathon without training for months first. So why put a huge demand to lose 20 or 50 pounds on yourself at the beginning of the new year? I could imagine some of you waking up on 1/1/13, going hard at the gym and eating two heads of lettuce... WHY?! Pick 3 small, achievable goals to start. For example, look at 5 pounds at a time, 20 minutes of exercise and eat more fruit and vegetables with every meal. Nice and simple right? And it is very achievable. Once you have mastered your workout and meal, then you can add more goals like maybe doing 45 minutes at the gym and eating whole grains instead of white. Bottom line is to keep it simple, small and achievable.
2. Eat what you like - Eat foods you enjoy. We have this notion that healthy food has to be tasteless and boring and you can't have fun with it. This is further from the truth. I admit that I hate to eat raw vegetables and that I would much rather eat something that tasted better. But I know that vegetables contain vitamins and minerals needed for our bodies to do its job properly. One way I like to incorporate this into my eating is to make soups, stir-fry, salads and vegetable wraps/sandwiches. I try to find clever ways to mask the taste of raw vegetables by using spices and other flavors that don't contain additives or processed chemicals. For example, try putting mushrooms and mixed veggies in with spaghetti and meatballs. Think of what kind of veggies you can add to your dishes to make them more nutritionally beneficial to your body.
To add to this, if you don't like the taste of tomatoes (me), then don't eat them! Even though they are good for you, you will most likely throw in the towel if you aren't enjoying what you are eating and will revert back to old habits. Maybe find a way to put small cubes of tomatoes in your salad instead of whole chunks or slices. For me, the cubed tomatoes aren't noticeable among the dressing and other flavors in my salad, so I can tolerate having them.
3. Have a long term goal - I know I said you should start small, but you have to know where you are going before you get there. Find your overall goal you would like to meet; mine is to lose another 40lbs. Now you have a direction. So, this is when you start thinking in terms of 5 pounds at a time and slowly work towards the bigger picture. You'll get there in no time if you stay on track and keep going. If you slip here or there, that is fine. As long as you can bounce back and keep going. It takes about 30 days for a new habit to be developed. Try something for 30 days or more and see if you can do it and make it work.
No one expects you to turn a switch in your brain to change a life style over night, so start small and always be mindful of your body and what you're feeling.