What’s the best way to go about keeping the most used New Year’s resolution: Losing those excess pounds?
Before Christmas I wrote about how to limit the effects of over indulging in the delicious holiday meals, desserts, and snacks that we face at that time of year. Well let’s suppose you did pretty well with negating the effects of yielding to all those temptations (or even if you didn’t) and still want to lose a little weight in the New Year.
What’s the best way to go about keeping what I am told is the most used New Year’s resolution-losing those excess pounds?
Since this is a struggle I have tried (with limited success) to win for my own self, I looked up what other experts in the field had to say that might enhance the chances of this being the year we finally emerge victorious over this, almost, implacable foe.
I think most of us have, in the back of our minds, a good reason to start on this weight loss. It may be for medical reasons; it may be to look better and fit into clothes that you have shoved in the back of your attic; it could be to support the weight loss of a friend or loved one; but whatever the reason, define that and make that important to you first and foremost – not that your loved one tells you that you look fat.
Many of the experts I found recommend that you discard the idea that you are on a diet and just think that you are going to start keeping a healthy lifestyle.
What is a healthy lifestyle?
Begin with reducing the high carbohydrate foods we have indulged in for almost all of our lives. That means basically eliminating much of the “white stuff” like flour and sugar and increasing the proteins and the healthy fat.
When I have done this, I have found that my cravings for these things increase for about three days to a week. So plan on that and be ready to fight those cravings until they go away. Of course you need to stop patronizing the fast food restaurants and the processed food sold at your grocers. I am amazed at the calorie count for some of the latest sandwiches being advertised; most are over 900 calories and well into the 1200 calorie plus range. Add a side dish and a soda or milk shake and your quick lunch can total over 2000 calories easily.
Of course you know that you should also include cardio vascular exercise in your daily routine (see some of my previous articles for tips and suggestions), but it is also important that you get lots of sleep.
While we have dealt with the actual methods for successful weight loss, I think that our mind set is equally important for our success. Start with telling yourself that you can succeed. Don’t be a slave to the fact that you have tried a weight loss and/or exercise program in the past and failed at it – tell yourself that this is the time you win. Just set your mind on one realistic goal a day. Each of those seemingly minor daily victories will add up to a major triumph over time.
Speaking of realistic goals, make yours reflect the reality of where you are and what you want to do. No matter how much I exercise, I will probably never be able to run a 100 meter dash in under 11 seconds (maybe under 30 seconds, given the state of my knees and my history of never having been very fast), but I can work toward being able to use my elliptical for 45 minutes of interval training after a couple months. Look at your goals and keep them customized for you and keep them realistic.
And finally, let yourself know that one failure is not fatal to your plan. If you can’t exercise because of a busy schedule, travel, or because you have a cold, that’s fine. Just pick it up again when your schedule permits. If you are out with friends having dinner of lunch and you over indulge, it’s not fatal to your goal for the year. Just get back on schedule tomorrow and don’t feel that you have to starve yourself to make up for your lapse.
I’m not saying weight loss is “a piece of cake” (I couldn’t resist – forgive me my morbid sense of humor), but I am saying each of us can succeed in this if we organize ourselves and get our minds under control as we undertake this. The benefits are worth it in better health, compliments from others, and a huge boost to our self-esteem.