Tag Archives: New Years

8 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

2015-2016We all have good intentions when we set New Year’s resolutions. We intend to make a change for the better. We want to reach our goals. We plan to make them happen. Yet, only about 8% of people achieve their resolutions.

So, how do they do it? Here are 8 tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions this year:

Keep it simple
We tend to get a little gung ho about the new year. It’s easy to end up with a resolutions list that looks like a grocery list. When you set your expectations too high, it makes it easier to fail. Try to limit your list to two or three resolutions you intend to keep. You’ll maintain your focus and efforts with just a few resolutions.

Make it realistic
You may want to lose weight as one of your resolutions. You need to set a tangible, realistic goal. For instance, you may want to lose 50 pounds. However, it may take you over a year to create a healthy routine that allows you to shed the weight and maintain your results.

Create a plan
One way to help keep your resolutions and meet your goals is to create a plan. If you want to lost weight, you can set weekly goals for changing your eating habits and establishing an exercise routine. For instance, the first week you can go through your cabinets and eliminate the less healthy food choices. Create a grocery list of nutritious food options. You might also decide to walk for 30 minutes 4 or 5 days a week. When you have short-term goals, you are more likely to stay committed and on-track for the longer term.

Be passionate
Make sure you choose resolutions that you really want. Put some careful thought into it. You may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with your work-life balance. Take some time to think about how you can create more harmony between these two parts of your life. You can make an effort to shut work off in the evenings after 6pm and all day Saturday and Sunday. You may want to work on your relationships with family. Develop a plan to do one fun activity with your spouse and/or kids once a week.

Track it
Tracking your progress will help you stay accountable and keep the resolution in the front of your mind. If your goal is to exercise, write your achievements on a calendar where you can check it regularly. Or, put a gold star on the calendar when you do something as a family. Seeing your results will encourage you to work even harder at maintaining your goal.

Celebrate your successes
You deserve to acknowledge a job well done. Think about ways to treat yourself when you reach the milestones you’ve set. Just be sure it’s a positive reward that will help you on your journey to a healthier, happier you. If your goal is to get your finances in order and pay down debt, then going on a shopping spree may not be a good reward.

Believe in yourself
Your biggest fan has to be you. No matter how much friends or family may support you, it comes down to you. Breaking down a big goal into smaller steps can help you build up your belief that you can do it. Once you see you can make small changes in your behavior and habits, you will be inspired to do more.

Forgive yourself
Don’t give up if you slip up here and there. No one is perfect. It’s how you handle the setbacks that matter. If you go out with friends and eat too many fried, fattening foods topped off with a big dessert, then get back to your regular routine the next day. Getting off track every once in a while shouldn’t deter your from continuing toward your goal.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and more balanced 2016! Have you set any New Year’s resolutions? What will you do to increase your chances of keeping them?

8 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Untitled-1We all have good intentions when we set New Year’s resolutions. We intend to make a change for the better. We want to reach our goals. We plan to make them happen. Yet, only about 8% of people achieve their resolutions.

So, how do they do it? Here are 8 tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions this year:

Keep it simple
We tend to get a little gung ho about the new year. It’s easy to end up with a resolutions list that looks like a grocery list. When you set your expectations too high, it makes it easier to fail. Try to limit your list to two or three resolutions you intend to keep. You are able to maintain your focus and efforts with just a few resolutions.

Make it realistic
You may want to lose weight as one of your resolutions. You need to set a tangible, realistic goal. For instance, you may want to lose 50 pounds. However, it may take you over a year to create a healthy routine that allows you to shed the weight and maintain your results.

Create a plan
One way to help keep your resolutions and meet your goals is to create a plan. If you want to lost weight, you can set weekly goals for changing your eating habits and establishing an exercise routine. For instance, the first week you can go through your cabinets and eliminate the less healthy food choices. Create a grocery list of nutritious food options. You might also decide to walk for 30 minutes 4 or 5 days a week. When you have short-term goals, you are more likely to stay committed and on-track for the longer term.

Be passionate
Make sure you choose resolutions that you really want. Put some careful thought into it. You may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with your work-life balance. Take some time to think about how you can create more harmony between these two parts of your life. You can make an effort to shut work off in the evenings after 6pm and all day Saturday and Sunday. You may want to work on your relationships with family. Develop a plan to do one fun activity with your spouse and/or kids once a week.

Track it
Tracking your progress will help you stay accountable and keep the resolution in the front of your mind. If your goal is to exercise, write your achievements on a calendar where you can check it regularly. Or, put a gold star on the calendar when you do something as a family. Seeing your results will encourage you to work even harder at maintaining your goal.

Celebrate your successes
You deserve to acknowledge a job well done. Think about ways to treat yourself when you reach the milestones you’ve set. Just be sure it’s a positive reward that will help you on your journey to a healthier, happier you. If your goal is to get your finances in order and pay down debt, then going on a shopping spree may not be a good reward.

Believe in yourself
Your biggest fan has to be you. No matter how much friends or family may support you, it comes down to you. Breaking down a big goal into smaller steps can help you build up your belief that you can do it. Once you see you can make small changes in your behavior and habits, you will be inspired to do more.

Forgive yourself
Don’t give up if you slip up here and there. No one is perfect. It’s how you handle the setbacks that matter. If you go out with friends and eat too many fried, fattening foods topped off with a big dessert, then get back to your regular routine the next day. Getting off track every once in a while shouldn’t deter your from continuing toward your goal.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and more balanced 2015! Have you set any New Year’s resolutions? What will you do to increase your chances of keeping them?

10 holiday diet mistakes to avoid

Eat healthy balanced diet during holidaysI am feeling pretty guilty after attending many scrumptious feasts over the Thanksgiving holiday. I ate a little bit of everything and then had some more.

Like many Americans, I am now in panic mode as Christmas and New Year’s approach. These holidays bring more opportunities to overeat and make poor food choices. Not to mention, I will meet up with friends and relatives I don’t see very often, and I want to look my best.

At times like this, many of us turn to diets and less than healthy eating habits in hopes of looking and feeling better by the next round of holiday gatherings.

Here are 10 diet habits you should avoid and tips on what you should do instead:

Skipping breakfast
While skipping breakfast seems like a good way to cut calories, it can sabotage the rest of your day. Eating a healthy, filling breakfast that is high in fiber and protein can help you feel more full throughout the day. Studies show that breakfast can jump-start your metabolism and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Ignoring food groups
Different diet plans call for avoiding different types of foods. The latest fad may mean leaving out gluten, carbs, meat, dairy, sugar or fats. Yet, we need all of these nutrients for a balanced diet and for our bodies to work properly. Even dairy may help our bodies burn more fat by supplying calcium.

Forgetting about snacks
We often consider snacking a bad habit, but eating healthy, nutritious snacks actually helps  control hunger and aids in weight loss. Snacking on a handful of nuts, a cup of yogurt or some veggies can keep you on track and make those bad choices less appealing.

On the other hand, too much nibbling can be detrimental to your good eating habits. You grab a pastry and iced coffee at the morning meeting. You snack on pretzels at your desk. You finish your child’s chocolate shake. All of these extra calories can add up throughout the day.

Drinking diet sodas
It can be tempting to fill up on diet sodas. The fizzy drinks make you feel full and can taste good, too. Diet sodas may actually be sabotaging your weight loss. It has been found that artificial sweeteners may be linked to weight gain.

The answer: drink more water. Water is essential for burning calories. If you become dehydrated, your metabolism slows down. When you drink eight or more glasses of water a day, you burn more calories.

Starving yourself
When people want to lose weight fast, they tend to think that eating less will get the best results. By drastically reducing your calorie intake, you actually send your body into starvation mode, and it starts storing fat to get you through the lean times. A better approach is to make a modest cut to calorie intake and then maintain that level for a long period of time.

Cutting out the fat
It isn’t so much the fat we eat that causes weight gain as much as it’s the total amount of calories and bad fats that lead to health problems. We need to cut down on the trans and saturated fats found in meat and processed foods. We still need to include good fats in our diets, such as those found in olive oil and fatty foods.

Thinking good calories don’t count
We think because some foods are good for us, we can eat as much as we want. However, you still need to keep your total calorie intake in mind. Just because whole grains, beans, chicken and cheese are good for you, doesn’t mean you should eat 10 tacos in one meal. Even fruits and veggies eaten in excess can be converted to fat.

Leaving out exercise
When we get busy with preparing for the holidays, it may be easier to drop your exercise routine so that you can fit more into your busy days. Yet, if you keep up your exercise routine, you can eat more of the things you enjoy and still lose weight. Exercise can also help you relieve the stress brought on by the hectic holiday season.

Setting unrealistic goals
Deciding you want to lose 30 pounds between now and Christmas is probably unrealistic. You need to set a more realistic goal, such as planning to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. You should also set other goals, such as running a mile without stopping or swimming a certain amount of laps in the pool. You will feel pride and accomplishment without relying solely on weight loss.

Using a diet at all
For the most part, I feel like “diet” is a bit of a four-letter word. Any time you are being deprived of food, you are more likely to fail in your eating habits. It’s more important to change your lifestyle and create a balance among all of the aspects of living a healthy life. You need to make healthy eating, exercising, getting enough sleep and relieving stress into habits that you can live with every day.

7 “Get Healthy” New Year’s Resolutions

new years resolutionIt’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. And that means it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions. Every year, I say I won’t make any new resolutions, but then I do it anyway.

This year, I am focusing on what I want to become and how I want to “be” in 2013.

Here are 7 healthy, active, fit and proactive things we can “be” this year:

Be Active
Make a plan to be more active this year. Set goals for your exercise plans and get moving. If you are a couch or desk potato, start walking. From combating depression to preventing heart attacks, just adding three 10-minute walks a day can make a difference in your overall health. If you already exercise on a regular basis, challenge yourself. Sign up for a 5K run. Try something new – start hiking, mountain biking or rollerblading. Just get out there and do it!

Be a Healthy Eater
Take a hard look at your eating habits. Do you skip breakfast? Do you work through lunch with plans to eat more for dinner? Make it a point to eat three healthy meals a day. Eating consistent, well-balanced meals helps you maintain your energy throughout the day, have better concentration and have more regular digestion. And, eating several small snacks a day can help you control hunger and lose weight. Keep fresh or dried fruit, raw veggies, nuts (pistachios, cashews or walnuts), natural cheeses, or dark chocolate on hand. Snacking helps keep your metabolism in high gear, especially if the snacks are protein-rich.

Be Financially Fit
For many of us, money worries can be a major source of stress. Sit down and make a plan to get a handle on your finances. Create a budget and resolve to pay down any outstanding debt. You may need to take a hard look at this past year’s purchases and decide what you can cut down on and live without in 2013.

Be Social
Start a new tradition to go out with friends once a month. Have a family night every week. Do something fun. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget to nurture your relationships. Our friends and family make our lives more fulfilling. Relax, unwind and make some great memories.

Be Adventurous
Decide to try something new in 2013. It may be as simple as taking a class on something you’ve always wanted to learn about or as bold as making a career change. You can learn a new language, take up photography or go skydiving. The important thing is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Be Giving
Think about giving of yourself in the new year. You can draw upon your own unique talents or skills to help others. You can volunteer to feed the homeless, spend time with nursing home patients who don’t get visitors, clean up the environment, take meals to shut-ins, or read to children. Simply look around your community, and I bet you can quickly make a list of ways to help others. Think about doing more with your church. Or, look for ways to help your friends and family. It’s also a good time to donate clothes you no longer wear and any household items you don’t need.

Be Thankful
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life and to want things we don’t need or can’t afford. Take time each day to be thankful for what you do have. Every night when I go to bed, I think about all the reasons I am thankful. Even if my kids have fought, whined and bickered all day long, I am so thankful they are mine and that they are healthy. I am thankful for my husband who is my best friend. I am thankful to have friends and family in my life. If I have been stressing over something silly, I can quickly put it into perspective when I focus on the good things.

Now, how do you keep those resolutions?
Be realistic. Choose things you know you can do. Be selective. I would only pick two or three resolutions. If you make too many, you will quickly become overwhelmed and give up on all your resolutions. Be positive! You can do it if you set your mind to it.

Do you typically make New Year’s resolutions? Do you have tips to help keep them? Share your 2013 New Year’s resolutions and advice with us!

Is holiday weight gain a myth?

holiday weight gainYou may have heard the statistic that the average American gains 5 to 10 pounds over the holiday season. The truth is that we actually gain closer to 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to an often-cited article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

While this is great news, there is still cause for some concern. The problem is that we are more likely to keep that 1 extra pound of weight, which means we are slowly adding weight over the years.

It is also much harder to stick to our healthy eating and exercise routines during the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. I know I find myself eating more and exercising less. I am busy shopping for gifts, planning parties, preparing for guests, cooking, cleaning – the list goes on. Then, I am stressed by the to-do list and possibly even losing out on much-needed sleep.

If we only indulged on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, we would probably avoid any weight gain. However, there are many parties and events to attend with more fattening foods. We eat on the go while shopping and running errands. Our exercise routines are pushed to the back-burner to get everything else done.

Here are some tips to help you avoid weight gain during the holidays:

Plan to maintain your current weight
The holiday season is probably not the best time to try to lose weight. It is a reasonable goal to simply plan to maintain your current weight. You can still indulge in small amounts of your favorite goodies at holiday events and parties. Then, keep to your usual eating habits during the rest of the season.

Make it a point to exercise
It is definitely more difficult to stick to your exercise routine with back-to-back holiday parties and family gatherings. So, start a new holiday tradition. Encourage friends and family to take a group walk after dinner. You can admire the fall leaves at Thanksgiving, or make a game of judging the neighbors’ light displays at Christmas. For the more adventurous, you can challenge the kids to a game of tag or hide-n-go-seek. They will be thrilled, and you will all make wonderful holiday memories.

Think about your feelings
For many of us, the holidays can be emotionally trying and can stir up old memories. You may have had unpleasant holiday experiences in the past. Or, you may be missing loved ones who are no longer with you. If you recognize that your feelings and emotions could lead you to overeat, you can be prepared to change this habit. You can start a tradition of everyone telling a happy or funny story from past holidays. You can also take a moment to remember loved ones.

Eat more slowly
By eating more slowly, you can enjoy the company and conversation of those around, and you are more likely to notice that feeling you get when you’re full. In addition, if everyone else is done eating, you are less likely to have the urge to go get more food.

Grab a smaller plate
It may seem silly, but if you use a smaller plate you are less likely to eat too much. First, you will have less room to load up your plate. And, if you go back for seconds, you typically don’t fill your plate as full as the first time. So, in the long run, you will end up eating less.

Just say no
You can say no to the food pushers. My mom is the culprit at our house. It makes her happy to see everyone eat. I know she has spent countless hours in the kitchen preparing the food. So, when she says, “Here, try this,” or “Have some more, there’s plenty of food left,” I feel obligated to eat it. You can say no. Just say you are too full to eat any more right now, but you will try it later. Or, offer to take some food home.

You can maintain your weight during the holidays and enjoy the great food. You will also feel good when you stick to your healthy eating habits. Do you have any tips for staying on track during the holiday season? We would love to hear from you!

For more information about balancing healthy eating, exercise, stress, sleep and good habits – even during the holidays, check out the book A Completely Balanced Life.