Time to Replace Old Habits with New Ones
When it comes to weight loss, there are simply too many scams and quick fixes floating around the internet. If you are serious about making changes (and sticking to them), there’s no magic pill or surefire diet - so it's best to avoid any gimmicks that promise instant results with a pill or no lifestyle changes. For many, increasing our health and wellness is a goal. In fact, the start of the year is a prime time to reignite resolutions and goals that we have for our lives. But how you make resolutions matters, too. If a resolution is poorly worded or negatively stated, it can make it easy to set yourself up for failure. Be particularly weary of making resultions framed around "stopping" something or "giving up" something. For example, if you resolve to "stop eating junk food" feelings of resentment towards "I can't do this" can develop, and you will end up constantly reminding yourself of the very thing you are trying to avoid. Instead, try to frame this kind of resultion in a potiive light such as "I will eat healthier" or "I will snack on healthy foods". Ultimately, your goal is still to eat less/stop eating junk food, but how it's framed will make a big difference in your resolve to stick with it! The bottom line is negatively framed resolutions seldom work as well as a similar resolution framed in a positive manner.
If it's your goal to get healthier, then you've also got to make sure you've got yourself set up for success! Measuring your progress is one way to help stay on track and keep you motivated when the initial excitement of doing something new and good for yourself wears off in a few weeks. Some habitual actions like riding a bike require little thought while you are doing them. Your brain and body have learned from repeatedly performing these functions and simply react. But, you didn't just hop up on a bike the first time and go. It took repeated practice and hard work! Replacing old habits with new ones works in a similar way. If your New Year’s resolution is to stop eating junk food, it can backfire by constantly reminding you of the very thing you are trying to avoid.
- Eat More Fiber to Feel Full - Beans, broccoli, beans, berries, whole grains, and avocados are natural sources of fiber that are good for losing weight as well as eliminating fat deposits.
- Include Good Fats - Consuming healthy fats adds balance to your diet (not to mention fat is a macronutrient that your body relies on) so enjoy healthy amounts of good fats from sources like fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oils.
- Limit Liquid Sugar Intake - Because sugary drinks do not promote feelings of fullness, these kinds of liquids can be far more damaging to your weightloss efforts than even things like sweets and sugary snacks! Replace sugar-laden liquid calories with diet counterparts in the short term. In the long-term, endeavor to find non-sugar sources of liquid hydration and limit sweet beverages to a few times a year
- Identify Culprits for Overeating - Overeating does not always occur due to hunger. Stress-eating, which includes eating out of boredom, is more often the reason for overeating than a fondness for a particular food. When you find yourself reaching into the fridge or pantry for something to munch on, stop for a moment and ask yourself "why am I about to eat this?". You might be surprised when you find out that the answer isn't because "my body needs nutrition and caloric intake right now"
- Avoid Foods with Added Sugars - Similar to avoiding sugary drinks, you should also avoid added sugars in foods. Unfortunately, many processed foods and restaurant foods are loaded with hidden sugars. As a general rule of thumb, try to limit intake of simple carbohydrates like pasta, crackers, pizza crust, cookies. Try to make condiments and sauces at home when you can to avoid the added sugars in jarred varieties of ketchups, pasta sauces, and dressings. Even deli meats can contain sugars - so be sure that the ones you are getting limit added sugars!
- Include Extra Protein in Your Diet - Protein is another macronutrient that the body depends on for energy and optimal functioning. It's also the least caloric dense of the three macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins). If you are going to snack or intake extra food, aim for that food to be protein! It provides satiation without as many calories as fats and carbohydrates - making it easier to manage your weight and your healthy goals! Protein comes in many varieties from vegetarian sources like beans and tofu to meat sources like chicken breast and liver to convenient concentrated sources like protein drinks and bars!
In conclusion, if you try to just force yourself to engage in change without any preparation or support, you are unlikely to stick with it. And simply saying "I want to lose weight this year" doesn't create a viable action plan. This statement, while well-intentioned, is not enough to be sustainable. Try to avoid lofty or grandiose goals that simply aren't realistic, and be sure that your goals are manageable. You may want to lose 50 pounds this year, but you can't expect to be there by the end of February. Have your 50 pound end goal, but be sure to set realistic mini goals and milestones that you can achieve and celebrate along the way. Because saying "I want to lose 50 pounds by the end of this year" can also be setting yourself up for failure if there's no accountability for your goals! For example, your end goal may be 50 pounds, but what's your plan for the first 49 pounds that you have to go through to get there? Losing just 5 pounds a month will see you to your goal by December (and even before the holidays!). Write it down, create a tracker, whatever you need to keep your goals top of mind! With the tips above, you'll be creating new, healthy livable habits that become as easy and simple as riding a bike when all is said and done!
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