Posts Tagged ‘lose weight’

How to Make Resolutions That Really Stick

At the start of every new year, people feel inspired to make changes in their lives. For some, it may be a smoking habit they want to kick; for others, weight loss may be at the top of their list. Maybe you want to use the new year to motivate yourself to start that business you’ve been dreaming of or perhaps your goal is to spend more time with family. Regardless of what personal or professional change you are aiming for, how you go about setting your goals and measuring your milestones can have everything to do with how likely you are to succeed. Read on for tips on how to stick with your resolutions this year.

  1. Be Realistic: Maybe your doctor has told you to lose weight or perhaps you’d rather give healthy eating and exercise a shot before committing to a lifetime of prescription drugs to manage high blood pressure or cholesterol. The key to any big lifestyle change is to make it doable. If you never work out, pledging to hit the gym 6 days a week is an unrealistic goal. Instead, commit to going to the gym 3 times a week, and then add in a long bike ride or walk on your “off” days. Try out a class you’ve never taken before, you just might find you enjoy it. Whatever exercise you choose, make sure it is mainly activities that you enjoy, or you won’t be excited to do them. This same logic applies to eating healthier—don’t go cold turkey on all of your favorite foods at once. You will feel deprived and will be more likely to binge. Start by having oatmeal for breakfast 3 times a week, a salad for lunch 3 times a week and meatless meals a few times a week. Cut back on your portion sizes and you can still enjoy the foods you love. As your new lifestyle becomes a habit, add in more healthy meals or longer or harder workouts.
  2. Hold Yourself Accountable: Find a friend who has the same resolution as you. When your alarm goes off early on a cold winter morning, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed to workout. If you know someone is going to be counting on you to meet them at the gym or in the neighborhood for a walk, you’ll be less likely to skip it. Online support groups are everywhere and can offer encouragement and a place to ask questions and raise concerns as you work through whatever personal journey you are on towards a better you.
  3. Reward Yourself: Celebrate your successes, no matter how small! If you made it to the gym a few times this week, reward yourself with positive thoughts and encouragement. Non-food rewards make sense when you are trying to be healthier or lose weight. When you lose 20 lbs you might treat yourself to a new workout outfit or pair of running shoes. If you’ve made healthy food swaps for a few weeks and are shedding a some pounds, have friends over to showcase your healthy cooking or reward yourself with a new cookbook or magazine subscription to Cooking Light. Equally important to rewarding yourself is forgiving yourself when you slip up. It is unrealistic (there’s that word again!) to think that you will exercise or eat healthy or give up smoking without any lapses in behavior. The key is to acknowledge that you’ve experienced a setback (notice I didn’t say failed!) and that it isn’t helping you get to where you want to be as a person. Try to figure out what triggered the lapse and plan for how you can deal with it differently in the future. Stressful day at work? Take a walk as soon as you get home or hit the gym on the way home to relieve stress instead of having a cigarette or binging on junk food. Planning ahead for bad days is key, and sometimes just accepting that you really want that chocolate ice cream but will only have a small scoop is ok too!

Where Are You With Your Resolutions?

Senior African American Woman Exercising In Park

Remember oh so long ago on January 1st when you set a number of resolutions for yourself for the New Year? Well here it is, the end of February—the perfect time to re-visit whether or not your resolutions are working for or against you. Why did I phrase it like that? Because if your goal was to work out more or lose weight, and you’ve yet to do either 2 months into the New Year, then something isn’t working. Maybe you started out with determination and resolve but after a few weeks lost your motivation. Or maybe you gave up after just one or two half-hearted attempts to make it to the gym. Perhaps a nasty cold or the flu derailed you for a week and you never got back to your healthier habits. Regardless of how it happened, now is a great time to start over or re-double your efforts. Grab a friend or family member with similar goals and hold each other accountable. With Spring (and warmer temperatures and longer days!) right around the corner, it is a lot easier to commit to nightly walks after dinner or a bike ride a few times a week. The supermarkets start to fill up with delicious fruits and vegetables at more affordable prices this time of year. Spring is a time for new growth in nature, so use that as a motivator for your own personal growth.

Finding out exactly why you weren’t able to stick to your resolutions is key to success the second time around. Perhaps you set impossible goals for yourself or your goals weren’t specific enough. It is easier to stick to a plan that doesn’t call for a complete overhaul of your life all at one time. If you don’t work out at all, setting a goal to work out for an hour a day might be a stretch. Start slowly by incorporating three 30 minute physical activities (that you enjoy!) into your week and ramp up as that becomes routine. If your diet needs tweaking, swap out a healthy breakfast or dinner three days a week rather than forbidding all of the food you enjoy. The feeling of accomplishment you get from achieving these smaller goals will spur you towards your ultimate goal and keep you motivated to make more healthy changes along the way!

New Year, Same You–Only Better

Composite image of this year i am going to

If you’re like most people, you spent the holidays overindulging and are looking ahead to the New Year as a chance to return to (or perhaps begin) healthy habits. Having a game plan going into the New Year can help you hit the ground running—pun intended—so read on for tips to make lasting changes that you’ll be celebrating come next New Year’s Eve.

While the symbolic meaning of starting over as a new year begins can be motivating, this time of year also presents its own challenges that can hinder even the most resolute among us. If you aspire to workout more, make a plan for those days when the weather isn’t cooperating. Too cold temperatures or rain can make it easy to forego your daily run or walk, so have a few dvds on hand or YouTube a free circuit workout and forget your excuses. Most gyms offer great pricing specials to reel in new members, so consider joining one (preferably with a friend and a location on the way to or from work) if you haven’t had success with previous attempts with at-home workouts.  Colds, the flu and other nasty viruses can also derail your plans to eat healthy and workout. One of the most important things to remember about setting goals is to accept that you will not be perfect 100% of the time. Acknowledging there will be slip-ups and challenges along the way will keep you from throwing in the towel when your resolutions have to take a backseat for a few days. So you can’t cook at home or workout as much as you’d like because of family or work obligations or because you are nursing an illness. Just do the best you can—only eat half of your entrée at dinner, do squats and lunges for 5 minutes before bed, or be ok with going for a bike ride instead of your favorite spin class.

The best resolutions are specific and realistic. Don’t just say you want to lose weight or eat healthier. Aim to lose 5 lbs each month for the next 6 months, set a workout goal of 3 times a week (2 cardio sessions and one weight training) or cook at home and bring leftovers to work 4 days a week. Tell everyone you know about your goals so they can help hold you accountable. Even better, start a weight loss challenge at work or form a running group to train for a 5k. Knowing people are counting on you (or competing against you!) can be a terrific motivator.

Lastly, consider bringing in a professional. A personal trainer can help you develop challenging workouts you love and has the benefit of built-in accountability. A professional organizer can help you declutter your closets and de-stress your life. Cooking classes can teach you how to prepare healthier home-cooked meals. A doctor may be able to help you kick your cigarette habit. You get the idea.

Make this the year you stick to your resolutions. Do something different from what you’ve done in the past if it hasn’t worked for you. And don’t give up!