By Jason Liegl, Certified Personal Trainer at Elite Sports Club-Mequon
It seems that a majority of people cannot agree on anything; tastes great or less filling, original Star Wars or digitally enhanced, David Lee Roth or Sammy Hager, etc. But the one thing they can agree on is a great majority of New Years resolutions deal with weight loss. Turn on the TV and you will be bombarded by what seems to be hundreds of infomercials and Dr. Oz episodes about weight loss. They will range from slightly different approach to weight loss (eat 3x daily or 6x daily) to widely different approach (cabbage soup or grapefruit diets come to mind). It all makes things incredibly confusing, when the fact is we should be simplifying the process for people.
The success rate would greatly increase if instead of trying to make things as complicated as possible, people tried to make it simple and easy to follow. So, here are 6 helpful hints of how to try and make this year’s resolutions the year it finally sticks (seriously THIS WILL BE THE YEAR).
Let’s first start with making one decision that will lead to a positive change, here is a hint: make it an easily achievable one. Deciding that you are going to lose 20 pounds, train for your 1st marathon, get that promotion, do yoga 3 times a week, and finally conquer your first pull-up may all be very good goals but you are almost certain to fail by trying to accomplish that all at one time.
Instead prioritize your goals and then begin to break those goals down into the smallest steps possible to move you forward. Think of it similar to driving from your house to Florida, it is a series of small instructions/steps that get you there. Resolutions are no different. So now that you have your goals picked and hopefully broken down into manageable steps let’s take some time to examine how nutrition and exercise lead to weight loss.
Rule #1 Nutrition does NOT need to be complicated. Please re-read rule #1 about 15 more times. Make it your mantra; repeat it when you do yoga, while shoveling your driveway, driving to work, wherever. Most people over-complicate the process. All of the advice that follows is based off of the assumption that the individual does not have any major health issues, (crohn’s, diabetes, etc.) if that is the case please seek out the help of a dietitian. The first step in helping people lose weight is a semantic one, STOP USING THE WORD DIET! Diet signifies a beginning and an end; it also has a negative stigma attached to it. Mention to someone how his or her diet is going and watch them get extremely uncomfortable.
Rule #2 Nutrition does not need to be overly restrictive. Do you enjoy eating ice cream, having a glass of wine at night while cooking, enjoying some animal crackers with your children while they are snacking (not that they ever share them with you)? The good news is you can enjoy them sensibly, do not make them the cornerstone of your diet. Another tip is when you are indulging yourself in these little treats that you allow yourself to enjoy them and do not beat yourself up over them. The more you beat yourself up for eating certain foods the more you create an unhealthy relationship with food and that opens up a whole other avenue of issues.
Rule #3 Drink more water. The human body consists of mainly water and it is involved in many of the body’s metabolic processes. So if you are dehydrated, even as little as 2%, you can start to experience performance issues. Another benefit to drinking water is it can help aid in the weight loss process. It can aid in the weight loss in one of two ways. One, hunger is often mistaken for thirst. Sitting at the office and all of a sudden feel hungry? Have a glass of water and wait ~5 mins., still hungry? Eat something. Two, drinking water before meals will help give you a fuller feeling lessening the chances of overeating.
When most people are told to drink water they have usually one or both of these excuses:
- I do not like water. Remember, the body is comprised of mostly water, so if you do not like water you must not like yourself. All joking aside, if you do not like plain water there are a couple of options for you. One, go buy a big dispenser and soak some fruit, vegetables, herbs in there to give it some flavor. Two, go buy a product similar to MIO and use a little bit in your water for flavor.
- If I drink water I will be going to the bathroom every 10 minutes. That will more than likely be the case if you are in a constant state of dehydration. But if you space your water consumption over the course of the day, there should be little negative impact. Spacing out your water is actually really easy. Wake up and before you go to brew your morning coffee or tea, have a glass of water. Before you eat your breakfast, have glass of water. After you get dressed have a glass of water. You have not changed your daily routine and have consumed 3 glasses of water before you even leave the house.
Rule #4 Eat more protein. Besides being a building block for muscle and connective tissue in the body, it is also a more complex macronutrient, thus taking longer to break down and giving you a satiety feeling.
Rule #5 Eat your vegetables. Remember when your mom used to yell at you as a child to eat your veggies? Well she was right, not only are they healthy for you providing vitamins and minerals, but they also tend to be very filling. Your goal should be to try and get as many, and as wide a variety as possible. They also make great snacks during the day. Now for those of you who do not particularly care for the taste of veggies find a healthy dip for them. Hummus, Greek or Australian yogurts make great dips for veggies. If you are going to use salad dressings use them sparingly, and if possible avoid using fat-free dressings, most just replace the fat with sugar.
Rule #6 Slow down! We often feel so rushed and pressed for time that we even try and rush through eating, which can lead to overeating. Slow down, enjoy your food. As you slow down your eating, your body will recognize when you are full and it will be easier to stop eating.
Implementing these rules into your healthy lifestyle will begin to help lay the foundation for not only achieving your weight loss goals but also lead to you feeling better. Take whatever goal you feel is your biggest area of opportunity and work on that for about 2 weeks, once you feel you have a good grasp on that goal pick your next and get after that one (but do not stop practicing your first!).
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.