The New Year brings with it a promise of a shiny new version of our lives, the lives we all know we could lead if we just tried hard enough. And maybe those first few weeks go well. Yet somehow, come February, you’re back to square one.
The key to success with weight loss—not just for resolutions but for health and fitness in general—is to focus on the process, not the goal. If you want to lose 10 pounds, focus on what you can do today, what you can do right now that will help you lose the weight. It’s also vital that these actions must not make a huge demand for your time, budget or patience, or you’ll never be able to make them stick.
These 13 tips are at the core of how you can keep your 2016 New Year’s resolutions.
1. Have Breakfast Every Morning
Because the time between dinner and the next morning’s meal is the longest your body goes without food, breakfast has an affect on you that’s different from any other meal. Eating within two hours of waking can make a difference in the way you metabolize glucose, or blood sugar, all day. Your glucose level rises every time you eat, and your pancreas produces insulin to shuttle the glucose into your cells, where it’s used for energy. Keeping glucose and insulin in the right balance has important effects on metabolism and health.
2. Drink More Water
Water is needed by all the cells and organs in the body in order for them to function properly. It is also used to lubricate the joints, protect the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, regulate body temperature and assist the passage of food through the intestines. During normal everyday functions, water is lost by the body, and this needs to be replaced. In order for your body to function properly so that you keep weight off, you must stay hydrated.
3. Eat Something Green Every Day
Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get from anywhere else. They also keep your digestive system healthy and your meals more nutritionally sound. So there you have it, your mom was always right about eating those greens.
4. Choose Whole, Real Food
When you eat whole foods, you're getting the food in its natural state; you're getting it intact, with all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are in the food, as opposed to processed foods, which are filled with chemicals and preservatives. Many studies have found that a diet high in healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are associated with a reduced risk of many diseases, including diabetes and cancer.
5. Schedule Time For Every Meal
Carving out time every day to sit and have a meal is one of the biggest things you can do to help keep weight off. By taking a moment to rest and get relief, you will feel the stress quickly go away and you will be able to keep moving forward in your day.
6. Chew More
Slowing down your meals does all sorts of good things for your body, including helping you to eat less. Eating slowly creates actual biochemical changes that make you less inclined to overeat. So take your time as you eat, your body will love you for it!
7. Get Eight Hours of Sleep
It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly. On top of that, lack of sleep can be a vicious cycle. Think about it: If you’re feeling sleepy at work, you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee (or several cups) and a doughnut for a quick shot of energy. Later you may skip the gym and pick up takeout on your way home to your family. When you finally find yourself back in your bed, you are too wound up to sleep.
8. Move Every Day
Of course, exercise is important but almost as equally valuable to your health is living an active lifestyle. It helps you burn those extra calories that you may have overeaten earlier in the day. Things like going for a walk at work, or choosing to walk up the stairs, or riding your bike to work instead of driving are all great examples of ways to move every day.
9. Take Five Seconds to Breathe
Simply pausing before acting or making a critical food choice helps us reflect on what we’re doing, so we can change our otherwise automatic habits. It helps you get out of stress mode and make a rational, healthy decision.
10. Take Time to Care For Yourself
Some of us tend to spend so much time caring for others that we forget about the importance of self-care and we often times neglect ourselves. Plan time to just be. Whether that’s reading a book or going for a walk, it’s so important to your health that you carve out time to care for yourself.
11. Notice Your Stress Eating Triggers
Overcoming stress eating is very difficult and can be a constant challenge. Food is everywhere and tempts with immediate pleasure and relief. When you struggle with urges to run to the fridge, wait a moment or two. Use mindfulness to be in the moment and observe and describe what is happening. The pause is not about stopping you from enjoying another piece of chocolate cake, it’s about understanding the reason you are craving it.
12. Let Yourself Make Mistakes
Learn to allow yourself to make mistakes. One of the most valuable things in life is learning from your mistakes. Start by embracing the fact that when something is difficult and unfamiliar, you will need some time to really get a handle on it. You may make some mistakes, and that's okay. Remember to always ask for help when needed and never compare yourself to others, instead, compare your performance today to your performance yesterday.
13. Tell Yourself Something Positive Every Day
Our natural reaction is to tell ourselves something negative. Try to make it a goal to speak something positive about yourself at least once a day. Focus on what you're doing right instead of on what's not working. The only way we can progress in our weight loss goals is if we stay positive and this starts with positive self-talk.