We've all been there before... "It's the new year for a new me!" It's no surprise that the number one New Year's Resolution is to lose weight according to statistics from statisticbrain.com. What was surprising to me is that "Staying Fit and Healthy" was number 5 of this top 10 list.
But did you know that your resolution might be setting yourself up for weight-GAIN instead of weight-LOSS? For most, weight-loss is approached through going on a calorie restricted diet or through dreaded workouts or both. But let me propsose to you that this mindset sets yourself up for failure.
Having the mindset that every time you need to lose a few pounds (or a lot of pounds) means you need to hit the gym 5 days a week and eat healthy, taste-less food is setting yourself up for failure. Yo-yo dieting, which is the notion of losing and then gaining weight through irregular diets, is actually making people heavier and contributing to increased risk of diseases and stress. This is because people have an “all-or nothing” mindset. Yes, most people can go on a diet and drastically change their eating habits for a couple weeks and lose weight, but this isn’t sustainable. Overtime, they return to their old way of eating and gain their weight back. The added stress and feeling of failure coupled by metabolic changes, may even cause more weight gain than what was originally lost.
Instead, successful weight loss is achieved through the mindset of small, additive lifestyle changes. This is a marathon - not a sprint! You are the tortoise, not the hare to put it in popular fable terms.
Here are 3 weight loss tips without the "diet":
1) Don’t do anything or eat anything you don’t like! One reason why diets don’t work is that they force people to eat things they don’t like. If the kale smoothie didn’t go down so well the first time, what makes you think that the 10th day of it is going to be any different? You want your food to be enjoyable. So if they kale smoothie isn’t working out for you, try sautéed kale, kale chips, or better yet, ditch the kale and try spinach, collared greens, swiss chard, or another vegetable. Don’t be afraid to try different seasonings or ways of cooking - you’ll be sure to find something you like to eat that is healthy for you too. Need inspiration? Subscribe to a healthy foodie blog or plan a healthy cookbook rotation with your friends. Don’t like to go to the gym or running on a treadmill? No problem. Sign up for a Zumba class or better yet, grab a friend or your kids and start a dance party!
2) Nutritious Superswaps! Make nutritious superswaps, which is substituting something of lesser nutritional value, for something of greater. Now I don’t mean substituting cookies for organic cookies, but rather every day at every meal ask yourself, “How can I make this a little bit healthier." This could be substituting spaghetti squash for spaghetti (42 vs 221 calories per cup), cauliflower mash for mashed potatoes (70 vs 120 calories per cup), kale chips for chips (50 vs 160 calories/cup), or collards/lettuce wrap for a tortillas (30 vs 300 calories per 2 wraps). The list is endless as pureed fruit makes (9 calories per 2 tbs) a good substitute for pancake syrup (104 calories/2 tbs) and brewed chai tea (0 calories) or turmeric golden milk (127 calories) makes a good substitute for an overly sweetened chai latte from Starbucks (240 calories). Not only are these swaps lower in calories, they have nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that your body needs. In addition, they may be higher in protein or fiber that keeps you satiated for longer and improves your mood and energy - goodbye diet angst!
3) Bridge your willpower gap. The average person makes over 200 decisions about food each and every day! Even the non-food related decisions adds to decision fatigue, making it difficult to eat the healthy choice. Planning your meals ahead of time or establishing a prep day can mean the difference between failed good intentions and lasting behavior change.
A prep-day can look differently for different people:
Using your high-willpower moments to power your low-willpower moments takes the guesswork out of "What's for dinner?" and helps you stay on track. Take a minute or two each week to plan out healthy meals before your stomach makes the decision for you. Don't have time to plan? There are several food services that do the planning for you. Checkout The Dinner Daily, for as little as $4 a month, you will be sent customized recipies, shopping list, and coupons for your local grocery store based on what's on sale each week. So you end up saving money, time, and eating healthy each week - win, win, win!
Perhaps this New Year, you will rank "Staying Healthy and Fit" higher and let weight loss be a biproduct of living your exciting, energized life!