Happy New Year! I am hoping to have a fresh start in 2014, there are so many things I wish I could have done in 2013 that I didn’t get a chance to do. And I have no one to blame but myself. There are resolutions I made at the beginning of 2013, but 12 months went by so fast and I was never able to accomplish certain things. This year I am vowing to not let fear stop me from doing something. So often people make a resolution but can’t accomplish it because they are scared they will fail, so they never even try! How stupid are we for doing that. You can do anything if you work hard enough, so no more excuses in 2014! Let me tell you about a few common health resolutions people make and how to ACTUALLY follow through on those resolutions.
The first thing lots of people resolve to do in the New Year is ‘eat healthier’. Sound familiar? Yes people say, I am going to eat so much better this year! I am going to stop eating this and that, I will go on a diet and lose a bunch of weight. NO. Stop right there. Yes the first thing is great, you should eat better. But restricting yourself and going on a diet is not the way to do it. The most common problem with diets is that most tell you that certain foods are off limits. (Just the other day my mom told me that her diet wouldn’t let her eat pistachios … pistachios!) Now, any human knows that when someone tells you not to do something … you want to do it even more. Don’t drink that yet, it’s hot *drinks insanely hot coffee and burns tongue* Don’t pet that dog it bites *does it anyway and is now bleeding* Don’t date him he will break your heart…. we get the point. So why do you think that telling your body it can never have chocolate again is going to solve all your problems? The key to a healthy diet is MODERATION. I tell my clients that you can have a little bit of that “bad food” once a week, but the problem comes when you eat it every day. Why do you think people gain weight over the holidays? It’s because they are having these “cheat foods” all day everyday – and that turns into fat.
The thing you need to do to eat healthier is know what you are putting into your body. Look at food labels! If you read a food label every once in a while, you will see what you are really putting inside your body. If you are shopping for something as simple as peanut butter – it should not have more 3 or 4 ingredients, if it has more than that put the jar down. That is step one of a food label, ingredients. If you don’t know how to pronounce something in the ingredients list, don’t buy it. You need to know exactly what is going in your body. The next thing you need to look at on a food label is the serving size. It is on their for a reason, and you should know that if you are having 4x the serving amount, everything else on the label should be multiplied by 4. You also need to look at the specifics. How much sugar? Sugar can pack on pounds. Sodium? Saturated fats? Look for foods with unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and low percentages of sodium and sugar. Fiber is also something you want in food. Specifically look at how many carbs there are and how many of those carbs are fiber. You want a large percentage to be on the fiber side. Speaking of carbs, carbs give you energy to workout – so you need carbs, just don’t overdo it.
Now that we are on the subject of working out, let’s talk about another resolution people have – exercise more. Now as someone who works at a gym and works out everyday, I know how January goes every year. The first 2 weeks the gym is packed (maybe even the first 4 weeks) and then it gets back to normal. People give up on their resolutions once the initial excitement of the New Year wears off. So how do we keep ourselves motivated? First, make realistic goals. Don’t expect to lose 30 pounds in 2 weeks. Unless you are over 200 lbs over weight, that is just not going to happen – I’m sorry. You have to work hard, that is why it is called WORKing out. So don’t set yourself up for failure. Make goals you can actually reach. Make small goals, still have your big goal but make mini goals for yourself that will help keep you positive while you are working towards that big goal. Second, find a friend, a group, a fitness class, a trainer (why not me?? – sorry self promotion). Basically, find someone who can help keep you on track and help keep you motivated. Third, make working out fun. If running on a treadmill for an hour isn’t your thing, don’t do it. There are so many ways to be active now, you don’t have to settle for one thing. Play basketball one day, go swimming, ride a bike, lift weights, do yoga, dance, take a boxing class … the list goes on and on. Have set days that you want to do your strength training (lifting weights) and heavy duty cardio, but the rest of the time just have fun and be active. You may get discouraged at first because you aren’t as fit as you used to be when you were playing on the jungle gym at recess, but you know what? You are never going to get back in shape unless you struggle a little bit. In fact, working out should never be easy. When you’re workouts become easy and boring that’s when you need to make them harder.
So you see, resolutions shouldn’t be so hard to keep. You just have to know what steps you need to take to make something happen. As for me, I’m trying to not be so afraid to do things that scare me. Now, I am not going to start off by jumping out of an airplane, but baby steps. Just like diet and fitness, mini goals will help me reach the big goal.
Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one, and make it a hell of a book.
Happy New Year!