HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I’m going to call it. Ending 2016 with a half marathon, fatty foods, delicious cocktails, and lying down was just what the doctor ordered.
But it’s officially 2017 - and we’re ready to get back on track. Whether or not you believe in New Year’s resolutions, there is no denying the cleansing feeling of a brand new month – if not year – after the holidays. You feel fresh, recharged, and motivated. Bonus points that Dallas rained hard enough for me to feel like 2016 has been washed away.
This month, I’m posting five New Year’s resolutions to get you started. I like to piecemeal each goal and post every Sunday in January – so as not to overwhelm all at once. We have the year to do them, so let’s start small.
The first goal is to create healthier habits. I do not like to put a weight goal because it sets too high of an expectation. Instead, the goal is to become healthier overall in order to make real lifestyle changes.
Throw away the scale. Those numbers mean nothing. Our body composition means much more. Low weight with high body fat percentage is way more dangerous than the reverse. Instead of focusing on the number, focus on how your clothes fit. Or, better yet, take photos of yourself a month or two apart after exercising and eating better. You will see real changes without a number on it. One pound of fat is not the same size as one pound of muscle.
Do not drink calories. This is the biggest rule of all. A grande mocha Frappuccino has 280 calories. You know what else totals 280 calories? 2 large eggs (140) + 2 slices of bacon (140). Wild guess as to which one keeps you fuller. Drink a lot of water. Most of the time, people confuse boredom and thirst with hunger. I keep a large blender bottle on my desk that I mindlessly take sips out of. If I need a caffeine jolt, I just drink plain coffee.
Pack healthy snacks. I try to keep healthy bars, fruits, and nuts at my desk. It helps differentiate between true hunger and boredom cravings. If you want to eat and you see your healthy snacks and decide they are not good enough, that is a craving. Because when you’re truly hungry, you will gladly eat them.
When all else fails, put it on a bed of greens. This is my simplest life hack. It can replace any grain that you previously eat around. If you think about it, Asians use rice as their main. I think Mexicans do that as well – sometimes tortillas. The Irish and their potatoes. Americans and bread. Rice, bread, and potatoes all have one thing in common. It’s bland enough that it takes the flavor of what you pair it with. So, I just change the base. It works the best when eating things with a lot of sauce or stews. When I eat saucy wings, I put it on a bed of lettuce. The sauce will work as a light dressing and the lettuce adds bulk so you feel fuller faster.
Meal prep. This is for the few that are ready to get more serious. I cook my upcoming weeks’ meals on Sunday. With exception of green smoothies, I make all breakfast, lunch, and dinner ahead of time. When you first hear or read about it, this idea is very off-putting because you think it takes all day to cook all your meals. But it does not. For breakfasts, start easy with a frittata. I make one big batch and cut it into individual portions. For lunch and dinner, I usually do a stew or salad. I made one batch of the stew or salad toppings and divide into portions. If you want to change up the flavors, you can make two different recipes for each meal. Doing this ensures that you won’t go off track. It ensures that you get your nutrients for the day. When you are ready to eat, you just reheat and go to town. Additionally, it also saves a lot of time during the week for….
Exercise. Find exercise that you enjoy doing. Don’t feel discouraged if you try something and you’re not very good at it. I went from weight machines and elliptical to running to kickboxing to yoga and finally group fitness classes. Find something that does not feel like a chore, and do it regularly.
When you enjoy the process of becoming healthy, fat loss and size reduction just falls into place.