This year I am going to get back into my ‘skinny’ jeans.”
This year I am going to join the gym.”
As a new year begins, we have a chance to start fresh and take the world on by storm! Many of us make resolutions and set goals for ourselves. And while the words may vary, there seems to be one recurring theme: lose weight!
That’s a great goal. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight has a multitude of benefits-physically and psychologically. But how do you get there? Let’s take a look at not only how to accomplish the goal but also how to achieve long-lasting results.
First and foremost, be realistic. Trying to lose 20 pounds by February is not going to happen. Nor should it! Losing one to two pounds per week is healthy. Anything more and it can become dangerous for your body. Aim for a healthy weight that your body will appreciate (a dietician can always help you figure that out). Don’t bypass good health by choosing a weight that is too drastically low for your body type.
Next, focus on eating right. Not starving yourself, but simply eating healthier and perhaps revamping your diet regimen. Don’t commit to anything you wouldn’t want to do for the rest of your life. Cutting out food groups and skipping meals are two common mistakes among people trying to lose weight. It’s not healthy, and it won’t become part of your lifestyle.
Instead take a look at your diet and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Then utilize this quick checklist to help you get started:
- Eat three meals per day (or 5-6 small meals)
- Stay well hydrated (Check your urine, aim for clear!)
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. (Make half of your plate vegetables and aim for two pieces of fruit each day)
- Choose whole grain products, at least half of the time (if not more!)
- Pick low-fat or fat-free dairy products. (Fat free/skim milk and 1% milk are lighter choices than their whole fat counterparts) If you don’t (or can’t) drink dairy products, try soy, almond or coconut milk.
- Avoid added sugars (Check the ingredient list!)
- Limit both soft and hard drink consumption (They contribute empty calories to the diet)
- Observe portion control at BOTH meal and snack time (Measure out your foods!)
- Prepare your food in healthful ways. (Grilling, baking, broiling or steaming)
- Get active! (Nutrition and exercise combined will yield the best results)
You can reach your weight-loss goals! But only if you develop a game plan and stick to it. Remember that changes do not happen over night and hard work can help you achieve great results. May this be your healthiest, tastiest, most successful year yet!