Healthy eating: New Year, new resolutions, new approach

From losing weight, to getting in shape, to just eating healthier, here are some New Year resolutions that will stick and might actually do the trick.

By KATHRYN RUBIN
January 5, 2011 10:22
4 minute read.
Yoga

Yoga 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

...5,4,3,2,1...HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A new year, a new attitude, and a whole bunch of brand new resolutions! Like clockwork, the moment it strikes midnight on December 31, the traditional New Year resolutions come into play. From dropping ten pounds to going to the gym, stealing the number one spot on most lists are health-related issues!

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Unfortunately, very few of us manage to keep our resolutions, and as the days and months go by the list of the "10 must dos" this year dwindles down a meager few. To help you out, here are some New Year resolutions that can easily stick.

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Drink Up me hearties - with a bottle of H20?
We know we need it to live, we know we need it to function – but did you know that you need it to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle? Here are few short reasons as to why downing eight glasses of water a day should top your New Year "must do list.”

To begin with, water is a natural appetite suppressant and drinking enough will stop you from mistaking thirst for hunger. Next, a common complaint (especially in the winter) is fatigue; while lack of sleep is a contributing factor, dehydration can also cause us to feel tired. Drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated and stop you from feeling drained – leaving you more energized! Finally (and most importantly when it comes to weight loss), ask yourself how many cans of soda or bottles of juice do I drink a day – my guess probably more than one.  Start by replacing your calorie filled sodas and juices with water and you will instantly be cutting 300 to 600 of "empty calories" per day!

Specialize when it comes to exercise
This week millions of people across the world will wander into their local gym to take out a yearly membership, with the intention that they will be there every day “sweating it out.” Sounds like a great plan right? While this will probably be the case for the first week, and maybe even all of January, come February and March those daily workouts will quickly turn into weekly and unfortunately maybe even monthly occurrences. By spring, about half the people who joined this week will have "jumped ship" on this New Year resolution.

Very few of us can stick it out at the gym for long – that is why “specializing when it comes to exercising” can be a great idea. From Boot Camp to Kick Boxing to Zumba dance and even hip hop, exercise classes are a great way to get your heart racing while also being engaging. The combination of a prepared routine, the intense sessions and the motivating instructor will keep us interested longer and coming back for more.

Eat to not eat?
Most people’s weight loss or health resolutions involve cutting back on certain foods;  very rarely do they include adding a meal.  As children our mothers constantly told us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and guess what, she was right.


Unfortunately as adults it is sometimes just too easy to skip this meal, and who would think that not eating a meal could possibly lead to weight gain. Here’s a quick play by play of what happens when you skip the most important meal of the day: When you wake up in the morning, your body has been without food for somewhere between 6 to 10 hours – which means that your “tank is running on empty.” However, our bodies need energy to function and when we don’t refuel in the morning our metabolic rate slows and our blood sugar plummets. As a result, our bodies crave more sugar throughout the day, which leads to impulsive snacking and often eating larger lunches and dinners.



Walk it off
While dieting and eating healthier play a huge role in weight loss, your goals will never be fully realized until you “Move it!” Physical activity not only allows you to burn excess calories, but it speeds up your metabolism – allowing you to use up more calories, even when you are not moving. Unfortunately, a lot of us have the “all or nothing” mentality, and that we need to “feel the burn” in order to actually burn calories. While engaging in high intensity workouts is the most effective way to lose weight (and stay healthy), it is not the only way. Walking an hour a day (even split up into two half hour sessions) can help you drop the pounds. Jump on the treadmill, climb the stairs instead of using the elevator or take a brisk stroll in the park and start walking your way to a healthier lifestyle this year.

KISS not just at midnight
Finally remember to KISS - Keep It Short and Simple. The easier your new health and fitness plan, the easier to follow, and the less likely that you will give up and fall back into last year's bad habits.


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