Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and improve your health? You aren’t alone. According to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans make new year’s resolutions. The number one resolution of 2015? To lose weight.
Even celebrities fall into the category of those striving for weight loss and optimal health in the new year. Elizabeth Hurley reportedly resolved to focus on eating for health and exercising more. Real Housewives ofNew Jersey firecracker Teresa Giudice resolved to eat fewer carbs in her pursuit of health in 2015, although how she will manage that in prison is anyone’s guess.
Unfortunately, the reality of weight loss isn’t as simple as people hope in the optimistic, possibly champagne-induced haze of a new year. According to Forbes Magazine, only 8 percent of people who set new year goals complete them by year end. As the months pass, resolve gives way to temptation, and no single day in the early months of the year offers more temptation than Superbowl Sunday.
Superbowl Sunday when everyone’s new years resolution goes down the drain!
— david leonard (@leonardice10) February 1, 2015
New Years resolution going strong pic.twitter.com/DGQD2XFhPF
— caroline (@carolinefsavage) February 1, 2015
But before you give in to despair and the mountain of tortilla chips and guacamole calling your name, consider reviewing and renewing your new year weight loss and health resolution.
Keep it Simple, Specific, and Realistic: Weight loss takes time and hard work, but you’ll never hit your weight loss and health goals if they are unrealistic right out of the gate. Rather than striving for a 50 pound weight loss, try breaking it into smaller, mini goals that you are more likely to achieve, such as a 10 pound weight loss by spring. Instead of trying to hit the gym seven days a week right away, try two or three days and slowly build on that accomplishment. Resolutions are about giving yourself guidance for the entire year, not the first month.
Make Sure it’s Healthy: Do you know how many calories you should be eating a day? Do you know how many calories you eat now? These are vital bits of information, not just for weight loss, but health in general.
Forgive the Slips: You are going to encounter a brownie. You are going to want a beer and a bowl of chili on Superbowl Sunday. You are going to want something chocolate on Valentine’s Day, whether or not you are in a relationship. The moment you accept these facts, you can start planning for them so that an indulgence doesn’t turn into guilt and ruin your weight loss and health resolution. The goal is to make the habits you pick up from these resolutions part of your life — nobody wants to spend the rest of their lives thinking they can’t indulge every once in a while. By the same token, reward yourself when you do well, but focus on rewards that aren’t related to food. Remember those mini goals? When you meet the first one, why not treat yourself to a massage? When you successfully pass the midway point of your overall weight loss and health goals, why not splurge on something you’ve been reluctant to spoil yourself with?
Make a Plan: Your teachers may have told you “if you fail to plan, then plan to fail,” well it’s just as true for weight loss and health resolutions. The most effective way to health and weight loss is a combination of a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise. Squeezing in a few hours of exercise a week is usually manageable, but too often people with weight loss resolutions turn to deprivation diets. These types of diets aren’t sustainable in the long run and may leave you feeling too fatigued to go to the gym, dooming your weight loss and health resolution to fail almost immediately. Combat this by planning your meals ahead of time. Keep a standby list of healthy and nutritious foods to keep in your house and keep the junk out.
And, above all, remember that any new year’s resolution is as much about the journey as it is the destination.