New Year’s resolutions are easy to make but sometimes hard to keep. If there is one goal you owe yourself, it’s to improve your health.
People often say, “I would die for my family.” The question is, “Can you live for them?” Millions of people die each year from obesity and its related complications. Fortunately, making the right lifestyle changes can help you live longer.
Therefore, it is no surprise that weight loss is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. The goal of losing weight should not be just to look good, however. Shedding extra pounds is crucial to feeling better, living longer, and preventing disease. Here are some tips on how you can stick to your resolutions and prioritize your well-being.
1. Figure Out Food
Many experts say weight loss is 80% about food and 20% about exercise. Keeping a food diary or workout log can be cumbersome. Make it easier by downloading a fitness app. You enter what you eat and drink, and the app does all the math for you. You don’t have to count calories and grams of fat or protein for thousands of foods. If you wear a smartwatch, the app can automatically track your workout and daily steps.
To encourage weight loss, authorities recommend increasing protein and reducing carbohydrates and fats. Upping your protein intake can advance your fitness goals in many ways. Consuming more protein curbs your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer. Protein boosts your metabolism, which can help you burn calories faster. If you’re not fond of meat, you can choose plant-based protein or enjoy eggs and dairy instead.
2. Practice Portion Control
Banning certain foods from your home won’t work for long, as the forbidden fruit seems even more enticing. Portion control is a more sustainable way to lose weight. Have the bread or rice, just make sure you’re not filling up more than a quarter of your plate with carbs.
Portion control is also a great way to model good habits for the entire family. Children don’t hear their parents saying they can’t have this or that. That’s important, as seeing Mom eat special meals or hearing that she can’t have lasagna can cause body image issues. It sends mixed messages. Why is it good for me and not for her?
When everyone eats the same thing, it is less work for the adults and better for the kids. Rather than making certain foods taboo, preach the lesson of self-control. They’ll notice Mom taking a moderate helping of lasagna and more salad — and may even be inspired to do the same.
3. Fast for Fitness
Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle change, but it isn’t a crazy fad. It’s not even a new trend. Several faith traditions and civilizations have been fasting for centuries. It’s a helpful weight loss tactic because it induces ketosis. This is a process in which the body breaks down stored fat for energy when glucose isn’t available.
Unlike diets that drastically limit or eliminate carbs or sugar, intermittent fasting gives you an eating window. Depending on your body mass index, you can choose from different plans. If you choose 16:8, for instance, you fast for 16 hours and can eat during an 8-hour window. You can only have water or black coffee after that time frame.
Since you can eat your favorite sandwich or dessert later in the day, it doesn’t feel impossible to wait a couple of hours. In contrast, waiting an entire week for your Sunday cheat meal is much harder. That’s how people fall off the fasting wagon. If your schedule allows you to try intermittent fasting and stop eating several hours before bed, it is easier to lose weight.
4. Start Strength Training
You may associate strength training with bodybuilders, but studies have shown that it’s great for weight loss as well. This is because you continue to burn calories at a higher rate for far longer after a strength training session. Cardio like running on the treadmill or using the elliptical also has benefits. However, the caloric burn doesn’t last long as compared to strength training.
Instead of trying out random weight machines at the gym, divide your workout. Start with leg day, where you just work out your lower body. The next day, focus on push-motion exercises involving the chest, triceps, and shoulders. On the third day, concentrate on pull exercises, which engage the back, biceps, and forearms. This way, one set of muscles is in use each day, and the others can rest and recover.
5. Stay Away from Screens
When you’re eating less food and cutting down on treats, you’d better enjoy every bite. One way to do this is not to watch television while eating.
If you’re alone, savor your food by paying attention to your meal. When you eat in front of a screen, you don’t realize how much you are consuming. You may not feel full, as you weren’t paying attention to your plate. Before you know it, you’re reaching for seconds because the show isn’t over.
If you’re eating with family, make dinnertime more about conversations than cartoons. Discuss your day and catch up on family news. Enjoy your meals rather than rushing through dinner fighting over the remote.
Whichever of these weight loss tips you choose to try, just be consistent. You shouldn’t expect overnight miracles, but with persistence these practices will pay off. You may find that achieving your New Year’s weight loss resolution won’t be that hard after all.