Happy New Year! For many of us, it’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions.
If they’re part of your yearly tradition, you may already have some ideas in mind. If not, you probably want to make sure that you set some realistic resolutions, especially with regard to your diet and fitness goals since they’re sometimes the hardest to keep.
That said, here are five smart diet and fitness resolutions that you should consider adding to your list for 2014!
Make a small change every day
Creating a long list of New Year’s resolutions might seem like a good idea, but taking on too much at once can overwhelm you and discourage you if you can’t focus your motivation. If you really want to keep your resolution(s), it’s best to start off by making small changes every day to slowly work toward your ultimate goal. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew, so keep things simple. For example, if your goal is to lose ten pounds, try non-fat milk in your latte one day and the next day, try adding 15 minutes of free weights at the gym. The more of these little changes you make in your daily life, the more likely they’ll eventually stick as a healthy habit. It’s challenging enough to change a single behavior, so taking on less will likely give you a better chance to succeed.
Do efficient workouts
Who has time to work out for two hours a day? Working out for hours and hours each day is not only time-consuming, but also boring, which can zap your motivation and ultimately prevent you from achieving your goals. Instead of a long sweat session, do shorter, high-intensity, interval workouts, such as this treadmill workout or this CrossFit-inspired workout. You’ll actually torch more calories in a quickie session than doing long, drawn-out workouts.
Eat nutritiously 80% of the time
Many weight loss expert, like Jillian Michaels, recommend making 80% of the calories you consume healthy and nutritious and saving the remaining 20% for not-so-healthy-foods. This strategy makes changing your eating habits a lot more manageable because if you cut out all of your favorite foods, you’ll feel deprived and end up binging on them later. Eliminating indulgences may initially help you lose weight, but it’s not a realistic, long-term solution. If you eat well the majority of the time, a few treats here and there won’t hurt your overall weight loss efforts and your diet will feel a lot more balanced, so you’re able to stick to it.
Schedule your workouts each week
Think you don’t have time to exercise? Try this tactic: Look at your weekly calendar and find blocks of free time (even as little as 15 minutes) to schedule some workouts for the upcoming week. If you spend a little time scheduling your workouts for the week, just like you would do with your other obligations, they’ll become appointments that you can’t miss. Would you skip a dentist appointment or a dinner date with a friend? Of course not! Treat your workouts the exact same way. Plus, when you look at your calendar and see all of your appointments it helps you stick to your resolution.
Don’t get caught up in what the scale says
The scale is a good measure of overall weight loss, but it doesn’t tell you the whole story, especially when it comes to daily weigh-in. Obsessing over the scale every morning is not a healthy habit or an accurate gauge of your progress. Water retention and hormones can add a few pounds to the reading, and if your weight-loss plan includes strength training, you may even gain weight from increased muscle mass while still losing fat. Instead of getting caught up in what the scale says, measure your weight loss in inches and how your clothes fit. Be sure to look at the big picture when it comes to weight loss progress. The scale can be helpful, but remember there’s so much more to the story!
Read Tina’s daily food and fitness blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.