Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, New You: Tips to keep on track with your new year's resolution

Have you made the bold resolution to "eat right" and get back in shape this year? Each New Year's Eve, as they raise and clink their glasses, millions of people around the world vow to finally get in shape, lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle in the coming year. To their dismay, many of those resolutions have gone out the window by February and there are plenty of reasons why. Since we don't want to see that happen to you, we've got some tips to help you maintain your resolutions and get in the best shape of your life this year.

1. Strike while the iron is hot. There's no better time to start than the present. Your intentions are good and your will is strong, so turn your intentions into actions and get your healthy habits going as soon as you can so that they can get established more firmly for the new year.

2. Slow down, speedy! Yes, we know we suggested you start ASAP, but we aren't suggesting anything drastic. It's great to be eager to lose weight, but the name of the game is sustainability. The trouble with most new year's resolutions to lose weight is that they are far too drastic. You tell yourself "The party's over" and dive straight in to an extreme diet which is far from healthy and not something you can maintain for the long haul. The real secret is to simply choose healthy, lower calorie options more often rather than doing what everyone else plans to do - go on a crash diet. Drastically cutting calories might help you shed a few stubborn pounds, but that won't last for very long and you'll just bounce right back to what you were eating before, if not worse.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize. Setting goals is crucial if you want to see results. You set goals and deadlines at work, and you know where you're going when you get in the car, so why would you ever change the way you're eating without knowing where you're planning to go with it? Visualize yourself at your ideal weight and set smaller goals along the way. Make a 3 month goal, a 6 month goal and a 1 year goal. A healthy pace is to aim to lose 10% of your body weight over 6 months, or about a pound each week.

4. Track your progress. Just like a GPS, you need to see where you've been to know where you're going and figure out how long it will take. Keeping track of your diet and exercise habits will help you identify what works and what doesn't, and will take the guesswork out of any problems you might be having. Not losing weight? See what you've been eating and perhaps eat less or exercise more the next week to see better results.

5. Don't get discouraged. Change is hard, there's no question about that. We all stumble and hit roadblocks here and there but the key is to brush yourself off and get back on track. You're human, and you have cravings just like anyone else - you can't beat yourself up if you eat a cookie or go out for dinner with friends, just start fresh the next day! One pound gained or lost is worth 3,500 calories, and chances are, even if you have that cookie or cake, you aren't going to drastically sabotage your entire game plan in one fleeting swoop.

So start now and before you know it you'll be saying that 2011 was the year you became healthier and in better shape than ever!