Lose weight. No fast food. Cut out cookies. Skip the chips. With negative-sounding goals like these is it any wonder that most New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past February? I’ve found that people are much more likely to stick with goals that are framed positively. Think about it, wouldn’t you much rather look forward to all the things you CAN do than dread all of the things you CAN’T?
Here are some tips about what you can add to your life to help improve your health and lose weight in 2011.
Don’t deprive yourself
–Add ¼ cup of nuts to your diet each day—Whether mixed into your oatmeal, sprinkled on a salad, or eaten alone, nuts add protein as well as heart-healthy fats to your diet.
–Try one new fruit or vegetable with every trip to the grocery store—Ever tasted a pomegranate? How about star fruit or broccoli-slaw? Adding new foods to your regular diet can help keep it interesting.
–Use cranberry sauce instead of mayonnaise on your turkey sandwich—In addition to eliminating the fat and cutting the calories, cranberry sauce will turn your lunchtime meal into an antioxidant powerhouse.
Move it, Don’t lose it
–After shopping, instead of struggling to carry as many bags in at once as possible, carry only one at a time. This can add several minutes of “active-time” to your day.
–Have a question for someone at work. Leave the phone on the hook and walk to their desk to talk with them.
–Just move! Just because you don’t have the time for a 30 to 60 minute workout, something is better than nothing. With my family’s schedule the only time I can get a walk in is before 6:20 AM–now I’m a morning person but getting up at 5AM so I can walk for an hour is a bit much for me, so I head out at 6ish and get a good 15 minutes in. That a few days a week, plus 10 -15 minutes a night of crunches, planks, push ups, etc. after the kids are in bed, and trying to get 10-15 min of yoga in a few times a week–not too bad when you add it all up. My schedule doesn’t allow me an hour at the Y every day, so I take what I can get.
Realistic Goals & Consistent Rewards
–Set small goals. Instead of going cold turkey from your daily noontime fast food drive-through visit, start by promising to bring a healthy lunch to work one day a week. Work yourself up to having your fast food fix as a once a week treat.
–Be specific. General goals like “Eat Healthier” are difficult to measure. Measuring success is much easier with goals such as “Eat 2 pieces of fruit a day.” Feeling successful goes a long way in helping resolutions be kept.
–Reward yourself. Making life changes is difficult. Reward yourself when small goals are met to help keep the motivation going. If you’ve added a vegetable to lunch every day for a week, have a relaxing bubble bath one evening, go buy that book you’ve been wanting, or just treat yourself with anything that’s special for you (non food please).