Each year, “lose weight” ranks as the most popular New Year’s resolution. And it also comes out on top of the most commonly broken resolutions.
Why? People often focus on losing a certain number of pounds per week, which can be a set-up for failure. Real life very often interferes with day-to-day good intentions. Consequently, they give up. A more realistic, and attainable, approach is to make positive actions your goals, rather than one huge resolution.
Here are a few steps to take that will help you lose weight and stay healthy in 2018.
- #1 Don’t skip meals.
Don’t eat and lose weight, right? Wrong. There’s a whole lot of research indicating that eating healthful, low calorie (but high quality) meals and snacks at regular intervals throughout the day promotes weight loss. Develop a regular eating schedule of 3 meals, and 2 or 3 snacks per day. This pattern is designed to help regulate energy, appetite, and blood sugar, curb cravings, and provide strength and endurance for physical activities.
- #2 Eat plenty fruit and vegetables.
These are the low calorie, high quality foods that comprise quality calories. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients, fiber and antioxidants. And because they’re full of water (and volume) they satisfy and fill you up.
- #3 Eat plenty of lean protein.
Focus on lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish. And unless you’re allergic, nuts and seeds are must-haves in your diet. A Harvard research study found that they’re one of the top foods linked to weight loss. They’re also loaded with healthy fats and fiber, in addition to protein.
- #4 Eliminate the white stuff.
Want to start losing weight immediately? Rid your kitchen of the white stuff – white flour, pasta and rice. Refined carbohydrates like these are nearly empty calories and overconsumption can cause weight gain and even metabolic disorders. Instead, choose whole grains. Unlike refined grains (the white stuff), whole grains deliver powerful nutrients and antioxidants that bolster immunity, support a healthy cardiovascular system, and slow aging. Good selections include: barley, oats, brown rice, polenta, and my favorite, quinoa.
- #5 Plan ahead.
As Benny Franklin used to say, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Plan everything – your meals, your snacks and your exercise. Otherwise, you could fall into the bad habit of grabbing meals on the fly (very often unhealthy fast food) or skipping a meal altogether. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s critical to switch from mindless to mindful eating. Plan your exercise and write it on your schedule, just like a business meeting or conference call.
- #6 Eat your calories.
One of the common mistakes Americans make is consuming a large portion (if not all!) of their daily calories by drinking beverages – sugary soda, juice, cream-laden coffee and alcohol. Stop – with the exception of milk.
- #7 Prioritize your health and wellbeing.
A key problem that most overweight Americans have in common is prioritizing everyone (spouse, kids, friends) and everything (job, school, home) over themselves and their own health and wellbeing. It may sound selfish to focus on putting yourself first, but if you are sick and unhealthy, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. Sometimes you must put yourself first. Remember: if you don’t have your health, you can’t take care of your loved ones.
Thinking about how to be healthier in the year ahead is a good start. Make one or more of these action steps your New Year’s resolution. Eat more vegetables. Don’t skip meals. No more white stuff. Combined with regular exercise, you’ll be on your way to losing weight and feeling better.
But remember, eating healthy doesn’t mean you can never have dessert! Here is a decadent chocolatey treat that you can feel good about. No sugar added, gluten-free, vegan and absolutely scrumptious, these fudgy treats take minutes to make. Don’t forget – the quality of your recipe result is a function of the ingredients you use. Buy the best quality you can afford.
Have a happy and healthy New Year!