Set Realistic Goals
For most of us, the number one New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. We all would like to like to lose 10 pounds by next month, better yet by Friday, but that’s not attainable for most of us. Try to set short terms goals (such as weekly) for yourself. Ease into exercise by scheduling 30 minutes 2-3 days a week, commit to taking a class a few times a week at your local gym, or if your budget allows, hire a personal trainer for a few months. If you are new to exercise or have not exercised in a long time, you will only burn yourself out if you try to do too much, too soon. Also, try not to pay too much attention to the scale–it can potentially be discouraging. How you feel (and eventually losing inches) is much more important than pounds lost.
In addition, set a daily goal to make small changes in your diet: you will see great improvements in the way you look and feel by cutting back on sugar, sodium and alcohol, by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, and by drinking water instead of juice or soda. Also, do treat yourself to the occasional decadent dessert or slice of pizza. Going cold turkey will only wind up with you bingeing-never a good idea!
“If it’s not there, you won’t eat it” is the rule to live by. I make a conscious effort to not bring dairy, white carbs, or any junk food into my home. If I have a cheat meal (or day–yes, sometimes it’s like that!), I make sure to get rid of everything before the next meal or day. For those of us with children and/or spouses not down with the program, instead of bringing home chips and cookies, baby carrots, celery sticks, and fruit are healthy options. There are also a ton of healthy dessert recipe options to choose from to make them not feel like they’re giving up anything. Also, meal preparation saves a lot of time and effort in looking for something healthy to eat. When meals are prepared in advance, you are less likely to deviate from a healthy nutrition plan, and you’ll save some money as well.
Keep A Record Of Your Progress
A great way of keeping up with your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions is to keep track of what you eat, your workouts, and water intake. MyFitnessPal and MyPlate are great, simple apps that can be used throughout the day without thinking too hard about it. For instance: if your calorie intake goal is 1800 calories a day, both apps let you know you’re getting close or have gone over your goal. They also let you know the nutritional value of the foods you eat. You will think twice about eating that donut if you know it will take you over your calorie limit.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
As stated earlier, it’s more than okay to treat yourself every once in a while, or skip a workout every once in a blue moon, but sometimes there’s that occasion where you’ve gone a bit overboard with those Oreos or potato chips (who can eat just one?), or skip a whole week of exercise (life happens). Don’t beat yourself up–it’s not the end of the world. Your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions are about progress, not perfection. Slow progress is still progress. After you dust off that box of Oreos, or that whole huge bag of Utz potato chips (my fave), just jump right back into your nutrition plan as your next meal or if it’s one of those epic cheat days, the next day, and make a commitment to get back on your exercise plan (never skip a Monday is my rule). A healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination, so give yourself some slack.
Angelique Miles is a fitness enthusiast and 25 year music industry veteran who also loves good food and wine, doing it all up in Harlem, New York City.