It’s that time of year again – you’re facing off with your resolution to get back into shape or drop that extra weight you have been determined to lose. With everyday stressors bombarding us, it’s common to fall off the health and wellness bandwagon and never quite make it back on.
To help you stay firm to your commitment to a healthier you, here are seven simple tricks to help you keep your weight loss resolution:
1. Add – don’t restrict
Pledging to avoid the “bad” foods causes frustration and can lead to failure. Try adding more healthy foods to your diet instead, and you’ll notice you will fill up on those foods while crowding out the “bad” foods. This can be as simple as eating at least five fruits and vegetables, drinking 64 ounces of zero-calorie beverages and consuming properly portioned lean meats and proteins, such as chicken, fish and turkey.
2. Clean up your food environment
Healthy eating begins at the grocery store. The food you bring home will be a predictor of your weight, so be sure to buy healthy meals and grab n’ go options that you can bring to work or snack on when you are at home to keep your calorie intake low.
3. Eat breakfast
Many individuals try to cut calories by skipping breakfast. This often causes a slight decline in metabolism and an increased likelihood of indulging in fattening foods later in the day. Instead of skipping, try a low-calorie breakfast that contains lean protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates, such as a veggie egg white omelet and a slice of whole-grain toast or Greek yogurt with a small portion of walnuts.
4. Find an exercise routine that works for YOU
Along with healthier eating habits, exercising is the key to long-term weight management. Try to find exercises that will work for you. If you despise going to the gym, don’t say you will go to the gym five days per week. Instead try workout classes, videos at home, resistant bands, stair climbing, etc. Just be sure that whatever you choose can be incorporated into your routine and that you will enjoy it.
5. Set SMART goals
Goals will help you keep track of your progress toward your big resolutions and give you a plan for how you will accomplish them. Without goals, it will be very difficult for you to stay focused and motivated.
Try establishing SMART goals or goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Not a SMART goal: “I’m going to exercise more this year.” SMART goal: I’m going to walk in the morning before work every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 30 minutes each time.
6. Find motivators
Visualize the new you. Write down the reasons why you want to become healthier. Be sure to include reasons not related to weight – for example, being able to play with your kids, run a 5k, and increasing quality of life. Lastly, find ways to reward yourself without food, such as going shopping, reading a book or watching a movie.
7. Measure your progress
Measure your success in other ways instead of only relying on the scale. Try measuring your waist, arm and thigh circumference, how your clothes fit or whether everyday activities are easier to do. Using other ways to measure progress will further help you stay motivated.