Only my suggestions are so simple and concrete that it should be actually possible to stick to them in the long term.
Because my suggestions for resolutions are totally unsexy, I suggest people under 40 stop reading what follows (because young people have no patience for boring long-term solutions). On the other hand, if you’re over 40 and / or frustrated with exercise and weight loss solutions that don’t work, read on!
#1 Keep a food journal. Food journaling is an effective but underappreciated weight loss method. You only need a pen and a notebook to jot down the food and the time of the meal. Some people monitor things like hunger and satisfaction levels and emotions. Note: Keeping a food journal doesn’t necessarily mean tracking calories or even macronutrients. Later on you can start perusing your journal for recurring eating patterns.
#2: Get more steps. Purchase a step counter (aka pedometer) and start adding up steps. I bought a pedometer three years ago and I’ve been using it faithfully ever since. This is a perfect solution for people who don’t want to “exercise”. Not to mention that I swear I would weigh 20 pounds more now if I hadn’t gotten my pedometer years ago. Read here why you should get a pedometer.
#3: Cut back on sitting time. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and unfortunately exercising is not the answer. If cutting back on sitting is hard, try to figure out hobbies and pastimes that are more active. My best decision for a long time was to start two active hobbies last fall: salsa dancing and singing in choir.
#4: Cut back on screen time – especially television. Watching too much television makes you a plump zombie. If you think you can’t cut back, at least take a break from television or computer and take a few steps once every 30 minutes. Take advantage of commercial breaks.
#5: Eat regular meals. You shouldn’t go more than 3-4 hours between meals, and your diet should be front-loaded. Frontloading means that if (you have a normal 9-5 job and) you consume 2000 calories / day, over half of the daily calories should be consumed by 4/5 o’clock in the afternoon. How does this help? Eating regular meals reduces food cravings and your overall calorie consumption because your blood sugar stays stable. Forget skipping breakfast and light lunches.
#6: Learn to cook 10-15 healthy but delicious meals. Scour the net or magazines for healthy but appetizing recipes and learn to cook them. Stock your pantry with the most common ingredients, and make it a habit to cut and prepare the ingredients beforehand if it makes faster and easier. If you know a sample of good recipes and have most of the ingredients available, it’s much less likely to you resort to eating fast food.
#7: Plan your meals. This is a forgotten skill. I think that people in my mother’s generation –babyboomers – still knew how to plan their meals beforehand. If you have planned your meals for the next 7 or 14 days and acquired the ingredients, it’s easier for you to make healthy rather than unhealthy and impulsive choices.
Are you still awake? Good.
Even though I can’t guarantee you a bikini body in 2 months if you follow these suggestions, I’m pretty sure you’d be better off with my New Year resolutions in 6 months than to some ambitious plan of going to the gym 5 times a week even if you’ve been a couch potato so far.
The best tip about setting resolutions is that you shouldn’t try changing many things simultaneously. It’s better to take only 2 suggestions from the above list and see where it leads than trying to tackle all of them simultaneously.
If you liked this post, would you be interested in joining the #wycwyc challenge with me?