New Year’s resolutions sometimes seem like they’re made to be broken. Folks usually bite off more than they can chew (“I’m going to lose 20 pounds by February!”). Forget about the “all-or-nothing” and “cold turkey” approaches — how about some resolutions that are simple enough that you can actually stick to them?
Here are 10 ideas to help get you started.
1) Slow and steady weight loss
Crash diets and dropping pounds too quickly won’t work for the long haul (nevermind that it can be downright dangerous). Make a commitment to eat 500 calories less per day (that might be as easy as cutting out two cans of regular soda) and this can help you lose about one pound per week.
2) Plan of attack
Take 10 minutes on your shopping day to plan meals for the week ahead. Simply deciding what you’ll prepare will help keep you focused and avoid last-minute runs to the drive-thru. If you have some extra time, prep things such as grilled chicken, brown rice, soup, pizza toppings or tomato sauce ahead of time to help take the load off on weeknights.
3) Shop smart
Always use a shopping list and never go grocery shopping hungry. This will help you stay on track and avoid impulse junk food purchases.
4) Become more of a locavore
Save calories each day by replacing high-calorie snacks (i.e. cookies and chips) with fresh fruits and veggies. Taking advantage of seasonal produce will help keep things interesting throughout the year and will help you do something good for Mother Nature. For info on what’s in season where you live, visit Field to Plate.
5) Track your progress
Keep a food diary for a few weeks to help get you started — it may shed some light on your diet pitfalls. You can use an online tool, an iPhone app or just good old pen and paper to jot down everything you eat and drink. Paying attention to what you’re taking in can help you make smarter choices.
6) “Weight” it out
Your weight can fluctuate up and down one to two pounds a day (or more) due to fluid changes, making that number on the scale jump around. Save yourself the frustration and weigh in once a week– use the same scale at the same time of day for the most accurate results.
7) Don’t forget dessert
Instead of giving up all sweets (or other high-calorie vices), give yourself the green light to indulge on occasion — once a week perhaps? Attempting to banish favorite foods from your diet almost always backfires and makes you feel too guilty when you do give in.
8 ) Take the guesswork out of takeout
There’s nothing wrong with takeout a few times a month, but a few calorie-heavy meals each week can stunt weight loss. Use our dining out guides to make the smartest choices at your favorite restaurants.
9) Make exercise fit
Exercise and a healthy diet go hand in hand. Instead of promising you’ll make it to the gym seven days a week, be more realistic — shoot for two or three and work your way up. Overdoing exercise can lead to injury and that will really throw a wrench in your quest to be more fit.
10) Make a deal
Strike up a friendly wager with a loved one or just yourself. Write out a contract and hang it on the fridge to keep you motivated towards your goals.