Sometimes I wonder if anyone making a New Year’s resolution actually thinks that it will be a roaring success. There is always so much talk about the resolutions failing and it seems that the most often broken resolution is the most popular of them: “LOSE WEIGHT!”
It is actually easy to see why that particular resolution became so popular. People gain weight over the holidays. There are parties and goodies and cake, oh my. For some reason, we justify terrible overeating with the fact that December only comes once a year. Perhaps that should be “November and December” because the overeating actually starts on Thanksgiving. For some people, the overeating and extra “tonnage” begins with all the Halloween candy. Ah, suddenly it’s not so much condensed into the week of Christmas, is it?!
A resolution that will work!
Instead of the same old “I will lose weight” resolution that a bajillion and eleven other people are making on January 1st, you may be surprised to see better results if you make your goals more specific.
Do not set yourself up for failure right in the beginning by supersizing the goals. Losing 40 pounds by May sounds a lot more daunting than losing 5 pounds by February 1st, doesn’t it? I think a lot of people sabotage their efforts before they even begin the plan by making goals too large or too far away. Instead of “Man, how in the world can I really lose 40 pounds by May?!” it suddenly turns into “Well, losing 5 pounds by February 1st doesn’t sound so bad. I can do that!” Decide on the next 5 or 10 pound goal after the first one has been reached.
Secondary goals. . .
Setting some secondary goals work well for some people. Tack something onto those New Year’s resolution diet goals and give yourself some real incentive. Promise yourself a trip to a spa or a weekend getaway trip when the first 10 or 15 pounds are melted away. Maybe lingerie when you hit a major goal. If you have a large amount of weight to lose, a new wardrobe might be a final goal. Don’t sabotage yourself with food prizes, though. Buying that box of Godiva chocolates that you’ve always wanted as your prize for getting rid of 10 pounds probably wouldn’t be the best idea you’ve ever had, ya know?!
Make it your mantra: Lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle!
Fad diets don’t work. Well, scratch that, they often work for a short time but then as soon as the “loser” (as applies to losing weight) starts eating more regularly again, all that lost weight is going to be sneaking back, and often with a few friends. In addition to failing most of the time, fad diets rarely offer all the nutrients a body needs.
To be a real loser, we need to change our lifestyle and the way we make food choices day after day. I am a firm believer that if a dieter starts making any food taboo, he or she will start resenting the diet. I realize that it won’t work for some people to have “just a small piece” of something. . . but if there is any willpower at all, this often makes a diet bearable.
How do we make those permanent lifestyle and food changes?
(1) Learn portion control. This is very important. Measure things out and learn what a proper portion is.
(2) Keep a food diary to not only count calories, but also to see your eating patterns. Do you tend to overeat most after a very stressful day at work? When your mother is coming to visit? When your favorite television show is on? At a certain time of month? (You know what I mean, ladies!)
(3) Eat at the same place all the time and eat sitting down. People tend to consume more calories while eating on the run or while doing other activities at the same time.
(4) Count those calories! Ask your doctor or a nutritionist how many calories you should be having a day and then start learning how to gauge it.
(5) Learn how to read labels. If you’re going to eat processed food, at least learn how to tell if the amounts of sodium, carbs, or sat fat in the foods you’re buying are going to wreck havoc with your new lifestyle.
(6) Eating is not the only change you will have to make. Get used to adding some exercise to your daily routine. This is vital and works hand in hand with eating fewer calories in order to make a positive lifestyle change.
(7) Drink water. Do not underestimate the importance of water while you are dropping pounds. Experts vary on the amount and believe it or not, too much water can actually be as dangerous as too little. The old saying about “Eight 8-ounce glasses” is a good place to start and you may want to add more after doing some research.
(8) Ask your doctor if you will need vitamins or nutrient supplements. In fact, be sure to see your doctor before starting *any* program in which you will be losing weight and adding exercise to a daily routine.
Some other things to remember:
* Do some research into the things that are working and not working for people who are doing the same things you are doing. Find some groups or blogs on the Internet so you can associate with others in the same proverbial boat. Support the others and allow them to support you.
* Be careful of sugary drinks and soft drinks. Do not assume that if something is marked “diet” and contains zero calories that it is good for you. That is not the case. Non-diet drinks should be omitted from the diet, but the diet drinks also contain some harmful things like benzoates, so although it’s fine for a treat once a while, you won’t want to go overboard with consumption of that type of drink.
* Check into some of the herbal teas if you get tired of plain water.
* Remember that it wasn’t just something that our parents and teachers made up to torture us. . . we really DO need lots of fruits and vegetables. Stock up on your favorite low calorie vegetables and don’t be afraid to pile them onto your plate. Don’t smother them in butter, either. Try some of the relatively new spray butter that advertises zero calories.
* If you have a seemingly insurmountable problem with between meal hunger, consider doing what many dieters and many diabetics already do when it comes to eating. Try 5 or 6 smaller “meals” a day instead of the three meals we are used to. This does not mean you can add more calories; it needs to be the same amount. It means that if you would have had oatmeal and a banana for breakfast, try having your oatmeal at regular time and the banana around 10 a.m.
If lunch is a salad and a cup of yogurt, go ahead and have the salad at noon but save the yogurt for 3 p.m. It really does make a huge difference for many people and it helps control blood sugar numbers as well. The possible risk here comes in having your oatmeal and banana at 7 a.m. and then talking yourself into the “5 meals a day plan” by adding a piece of toast in mid morning. This is not the correct way if that toast will add more calories than your limit.