We are less than a month away from the new year and I thought it might be a good time to give you some strategies to help you stick to your new year resolutions (or evolutions as we call them here). Research has shown that successful dieters have some things in common. They all have to deal with resolving both the struggles they perceive in their physical world such as time, exercise, food preparation and cravings and the struggles they perceive in their mental and emotional world, such as not believing in themselves, feeling lonely and experiencing frustration. Here are some strategies for dealing with both of those worlds.
2. Have specific non-food incentives built in along the path, such as going to a movie, calling a friend, buying yourself some flowers or taking a bubble bath.3. Set aside adequate time to meal plan, shop, prepare, track your food, do your one hour of exercise a day and weigh in once a week. This is really where you need to start, because if you don’t have the time set aside, you won’t do it. I shop on Saturday or Sunday and spend part of that day preparing the food and some meals for the week. Every evening I set aside time to track my food and exercise and I don’t go to bed until it is done. I work out in the morning so my morning routine is to have my coffee, watch the morning weather, get dressed in my work out clothing and go directly into the gym.
4. Follow a sustainable way of eating that includes a variety of vegetables, proteins and fats. Stay away from sugar, wheat, dairy, corn and soy while you are dieting as these are foods that can trigger inflammation in the form of food allergies and hormones that will encourage your body to hold onto extra weight.5. Track your food and exercise efforts. Research shows that individuals who track what they eat and their exercise lose up to 3x more weight. Have a system of accountability where you report your progress and track your results. Understand that you need time to see results and share your frustrations with a supportive community. These three things are related and can be accomplished in on-line communities such as My Fitness Pal. If you choose to use My Fitness Pal, look me up as cealejandro and “friend” me.
6. Be able to identify rooted motivators attached to deep personal meaning as reasons for wanting to be healthy such as setting an example for your children or exercising for someone who can’t get around anymore.
7. Have in place a system to prepare for unforeseen, stressful events that crop up like the car breaking down, the hot water heater going out, an illness or hospitalization in the family. Life happens and we all need emergency fall back plans. Preparing for as much as you can ahead of time will minimize the problems that crop up at the last moment, but knowing that some things are likely to come up no matter how much you plan will also help you stand strong in the face of difficulty. Remember that anytime you are on the verge of making a great change in your life, you are likely to be tested as to how serious you are. Just knowing that you are being tested is sometimes enough to get you through the situation without falling apart and undoing all the effort you have put forth.
8. Eat breakfast consisting of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Breakfast sets the metabolic tone for the day. Lose the cereals, bagels and energy bars- those are non-foods and create insulin spikes that will keep you unsuccessful in your dieting efforts. I would rather see you eat eggs and bacon, eggs and sausage, eggs and vegetables or a high quality protein shake.
9. Get 8 hours of sleep. I know this is a challenge, but a lot of it is practicing self mastery. Being able to turn off the TV or computer or put down the book and get to bed earlier is a real triumph of self mastery. You may need to decide you’re going to wear more pony tails during your dieting time rather than take time to blow out your hair in the morning or find other short cuts you can take in order to get that all important sleep because if you are doing it right, your body needs that sleep to regenerate from the exercise.
10. Drink adequate water, defined as half your weight in ounces, consumed throughout the day. A young client of mine named Lisa, came in wearing four bracelets. I had told her she needed to drink four bottles of water a day. Each time she drank a bottle of water, she moved a bracelet from her right arm to her left arm and this way she knew how much water she had consumed at any time throughout the day.
If you follow these guidelines, you will be on your way to being healthier in 2014. I suggest you print them out and hang them on your refrigerator so you can start implementing them as soon as all the wrapping paper is cleaned up and the streamers are put away!
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