A New Year: A New Start!

New Years.New Years.

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Let’s get this weight loss party started.  

New year resolutions

New year resolutions

The New Year has rolled around again, well, we are nearly there.  You have planned this moment for weeks to months and procrastinated.   You have made plans to abstain from your vices.  Your vice may be alcohol, bread, cake, candy, cheesecake, chocolate, jelly beans, potatoes, or just about any food you might potentially over-indulgent during this holiday season.

So did you make one and what is your resolution this year?  Don’t be ashamed to admit it.  Over 40% of us will make a plan for a resolution this year, and over 1/5 will make a resolution to lose weight according to Statistic Brain.  That is a significant number of us, but the most important statistics is that over 80% of use will fail to meet our goal.  There is a thing you can do to stay motivated, so instead of giving up before the end of the first month, use these easy to implement strategies to ensure you are successful.  

Strategies: 

  1. Set Your Goals SMARTly.  This first step is to set a goal, and the key to success is to set goals the right way the first time.  The biggest mistake you make is to set a goal that is unrealistic.  If your goals at not Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART), you will undoubtedly fail. Start with a small and specific goal that you can build on over time.  
  2. A steady pace wins the race.  To succeed, you need to follow through.  The key is building a habit.  Those who are habitual and have consistency will be more successful over the long haul.  Develop a pattern of eating and exercise that you can maintain.  If you hit a road bump and overeat, it is not the end of the world.  Take a pause and a few deep breaths and press on but do not make the splurge a new habit.  
  3. Have a Contingency Plan.  The key to success is to develop an eating and exercise plan to fit your busy lifestyle.  We all have obstacles to success, but if you plan ahead, you will maximize your chances of eating healthy. If you do not plan forward, you will grab whatever is convenient with little interest in health.    
  4. Food Meal Prep

    Food Meal Prep

    Prep your own meals.  Like planning ahead, preparing meals ahead of time as a part of your routine will maximize healthy choices.  Setting a few hours aside each week to ready meals for the week and place them in the refrigerator and freezer is time well spent.  The key to meal prepping is buying and using small portion sized containers that are appropriate for your daily calorie goals.

  5. Pick a diet that works for you.  Personalize your dietary changes and avoid fad diets.  Fad diets often focus on severe limitations or restricting yourself to one food group.  Cut foods that work for you and you are likely to overindulge.  Look at foods and find foods that are full of empty calories or have lower nutritional value.  Processed foods that are lower in fiber of risky because they tend to not keep you full for very long.  Avoid diets that cut specific food groups entirely or encourage eating only one food group or food.  For example, Diets like the Peanut Butter Diet or the Ice Cream Diet are just a bad idea from the start.  
  6. Portion Control, Portion Control, Portion Control!  Portion control all about understanding how much a serving size of food is and how many calories or how much food energy a serving contains.  You must have both because if you do not understand caloric density, you do not know which foods to allow yourself to consume multiple portions in a day.  For example, ice cream and cake is dense in calories so having a whole swerving every day may be less than ideal.  For this reason, portion control is key for body weight management as the weight is defined by the total calorie intake.  Consume everything in moderation for healthier and more sustainable results.
  7. Measure your success.  I like to use a scale, but I choose to not limit myself by only using a scale.  A scale is only body weight and is not a go measure
    Waistline

    Waistline

    of body fat.  If you combine it with waist circumference, you will have a better measure of success.  Body fat percentage of waist circumference will shift the focus to healthier habits and a leaner physique.  The fact is that weight is much more complex than pounds lost or gained so you should focus on other measures of fitness like body fat percentage or waist circumference.

  8. Exercise regularly.  Exercise is not as important as moderation or caloric balance, but the combination is the key to successful weight loss and maintenance.  The more active you are, the more you can eat without gaining weight.  That being said, do not assume that this means that you can eat what every or as much as you want if you exercise.  You need to clean up your diet and exercise appropriately to lose weight and keep it off. 
  9. Snack Smartly.  Chose your snack wisely.  Avoid processed foods and try to stick to snack with fiber and protein.  They will keep you full longer.  Also, avoid snacking because you are bored or anytime you might mindless eat more than your want.  Sticking to a single serving and eating is slowly is the key to controlling how much you eat.  
  10. Don’t skip meals.  All meals are important to avoid grazing, but the most important is breakfast.  If you look at successful weight loss and maintenance, usually, the common link is the dieters tend to eat breakfast.  Making a habit of breakfast is a good idea.  I suggest a meal high in fiber and protein.   If you start your day off right by eating a filling and healthy breakfast, you will be more likely to skip the candy bowls.
  11. Lose it

    Lose it

    Use a phone application to maintain balance.  I use Loseit (www.loseit.com).  The key to weight maintenance is to balance your energy in and energy out.  In other words, to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you eat.  Tracking applications are not perfect, but they give you an idea of how much you are taking in and burning.  It is a place to start.  Without it, you are just guessing.  Research has proven that guessing is not a good measure of caloric intake.  Of course, you can use a written journal, but this method is more time intensive.  

  12. Create a team.  A support group to learn healthy habits together can help you build a sense of competition.  Competition can increase your success.   Use social media as a location to post encouragement, answer questions, and advertise your success.  Posting pictures online and document your success and inspire others.  9. Record your progress in a journal.

The bottom line: Developing healthy habits and sticking to the plan will increase your success as you try to maintain and lose weight.  You can do this so hit the new year cutting calories and running (or walking). 

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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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