Best Diet and Exercise Weight Loss Plan - Easy New Year's Resolution Ideas

Stepping on the scale . . .
Stepping on the scale . . . | Source

Diets do not work!

Many people who have "dieted" soon learn that diets do not really work--at least not for the long term. Sure, any short-term diet, especially fad diets, will help the weight drop off, but how often is the progress long-term?

How many people continue to experience yo-yo dieting, as they gain and lose, gain and lose throughout their lives. Yes, I see you out there raising your hands. Mine is in the air, too.

I haven't dieted in many years. After trying dieting and exercise to meet weight loss goals over the years, one thing has become clear to me. For permanent--and healthy--weight loss, diets simply don't work.

Do you diet?

Do you struggle with losing weight?

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Trying to lose weight

A diet that promises quick weight loss is just too good to be true. That's exactly right. Any fad diet that promotes fast weight loss may work--temporarily. Any crash diet does work since the body is starved of calories. But anyone who has been on a fad or crash diet knows that the weight comes back on twice as fast once a person starts eating normally. That's because the metabolism has been slowed since the body thought it was starving when diet restrictions were imposed.

And what about low carb diets such as Atkins and others? How can low or no carbohydrates be good for the body? How can denying the body of any fruit or vegetable because it has too many carbs be healthy? Well, that kind of diet just can't be healthy for a prolonged period of time. High protein diets are hard on the organs and can't be maintained long-term. We won't go into that here.

Let's look at other programs such as Weight Watchers. And Nutri-System? Sure, these weight loss programs have worked for a lot of people, but what happens after the program is over and the person has to maintain on his or her own? Once the food from Nutri-System is no longer delivered, how does one make his or her own food choices?

Weight Watchers does allow one to choose real foods by counting how many points the items are worth. I've heard followers of this program, however, tell me that this process of counting causes them to obsess about food. Not good. I've been there. It's a horrible trap to be in.

Let's face it. A true lifestyle change is the only thing that will last for the rest of one's life. After years of yo-yo dieting--or refusing to diet at all after seeing how diets backfire--a lifestyle change that I can work on in increments is the only thing that works for me.

Lose weight the natural way

I'm a firm believer that the only way to really lose weight and to keep it from creeping back is to commit to a lifestyle change. You've got to choose changes you can stick to. For instance, cutting out chocolate or french fries or pizza for the rest of my life is not a lifestyle change that I can live with. I want to lose weight and get in better shape, but I also want to enjoy the things that I enjoy.

So, here we go. I've chosen three things that I plan to commit to for the rest of my life--three things that will have health benefits regardless of my losing weight or not.

What are they? Exercise, water, and vitamins. Why those? Read on. I'll tell you about the steps I've decided to take. You may choose some totally different options.

6.6 lb. weights
6.6 lb. weights | Source

Carry a 5-pound Weight Set When You Walk

Exercise at least 3 times per week

Now, wait! I didn't say you had to make this a resolution, something you have to do in order to lose weight. Exercise must be put in a different box--the lifestyle change.

We know that exercise is just a healthy practice, and so I have been finding a way to make it happen, no matter how much I may dislike it.

I finally just decided to commit to exercise since it is a healthy thing to do. No matter if I never lose that 20 pounds, I will still exercise. I decided not to even think about exercise in relation to diet or to overeating. You know how when you blow your eating habits for the day, you are tempted to blow off exercise for the day as well? Why bother, right? Accepting regular exercise as a part of one's lifestyle helps to separate it from the thought of having to do it for weight loss, something which totally takes away my motivation.

When I started working out at a women's gym several months ago, I put it in my head that I would keep up an exercise routine. I would do this forever because it is healthy. It helps my heart. It helps my blood pressure. It is slowly building muscle and toning my body. It is good for me no matter what.

Your thing might not be joining a gym. It might be daily walks around the neighborhood. For a while, I got into lifting my 6.6 pound weights three or four times per week. In just a few months, I felt stronger. I was even slimmer, as my metabolism evidently increased. Whatever exercise you decide to try, make it a habit, not a means to an end in pursuit of that often elusive weight loss.

Drink plenty of water!

My 32 oz. water bottle. The cats are curious, of course.
My 32 oz. water bottle. The cats are curious, of course. | Source

Drink more water

Why is it important to drink water? We've all heard of how water has so many benefits. It's good for the kidneys and other organs, including the skin, and is said to help aid in weight loss.

That sounds good to me! I know I feel better when I keep up with my water intake. It is said that water makes a person more energetic, and, from personal experience, I tend to agree.

Sometimes I just get busy and forget to drink water. Then, when I'm working out, I notice how thirsty I am. What has worked for me in getting into the habit of drinking water is having a bottle handy that measures out the water for me. My goal is to drink 64 ounces per day (8 8 oz glasses). I have a 32 ounce bottle (see picture) that I sip on at home or in the car. When it empties, I fill it once more for the day and drink that. It's not too hard to drink two of these. In the beginning, I had to remind myself, but it has gotten more routine over time.

Vitamins and pill organizer
Vitamins and pill organizer | Source

Take vitamins

Over the years, I've been inconsistent with taking vitamins. There are conflicting recommendations on whether or not vitamins are actually even helpful. Well, the consensus as far as I can tell is that taking them is better than not taking them. As long as the amounts aren't taken in excess of the recommended daily allowance, I don't see how taking vitamins could hurt. A dietitian friend of mine recommends taking them since it is so hard to get all the vitamins and minerals we need in foods during the course of the day.

People I know who are more consistent than I at taking vitamins report increased energy after taking vitamins on a daily basis, so I'm all for it. I've just got to get into the habit of taking them every day in order to see and feel results.

The best I have ever done with taking vitamins regularly was when I used one of those pill organizers. I've picked them up free at various conferences I've attended. At the beginning of the week, I would put the pills into a slot for every day of the week. It worked, and so I've got to get back to that.

I'm not going to tell you which vitamins to choose. That's dependent on your age, your health, and it is probably something to discuss with your doctor, just to be safe. Once you figure out what kind of vitamin regime to be on, these handy pill organizers can help you to keep a regular schedule.

Make your goal visible

If you have a goal you want to reach, such as getting back into a certain pair of jeans, then make that goal visible. I hang a certain pair of cropped pants and cute shirt hanging in my bathroom. If at my ideal weight, I should be able to wear that just fine. Right now, the outfit is too tight. I try it on every now and then to see if I'm getting closer.

I don't buy clothes, either. I'll admit I'm getting tired of looking at and wearing the same ole things all the time. A great reward to look forward to might be a splurge on a new outfit.

Correction--I do buy workout clothes! But those can be used indefinitely, even if they get loose.

Make your own choices

There might be some other goals that you want to set, goals that make more sense to you personally. Some other ideas:

  • Eat smaller portions
  • Eat more veggies.
  • Eat fruit three times per week. (if you want to make your goals more specific)
  • Walk the dog three times per week.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.

The key is to choose whatever works for you and incorporate it into your life. Just saying, "I'm going to lose ten pounds in January" is a resolution without specifics--and it doesn't become a part of your lifestyle. Incorporating permanent changes into your life is what will help you succeed in the end. Plan to start with a few steps; then you can continue to add more things.

How to measure your progress

I would recommend NOT to become obsessed by the scale. I have done that before. Weight can fluctuate several pounds in one day, and weighing daily is setting yourself up for failure--or at least, depression. If you do feel the need to weigh, don't do it more than once a week.

I don't step on a scale at home. Maybe I should. At the doctor's office, the nurse knows not to say the number out loud. One of these days when I think that hearing that number won't bother me, perhaps I'll get on the scale. For now, I'll just see how my clothes fit.

Regardless of achieving weight loss, incorporating healthy changes into our lifestyles will make us all healthier. If weight loss comes as a result, then I'm fine with that, too, but I'm making my goal to be daily--at least most days--healthy living.

Are you going to make some healthy changes in the new year?

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Georgie Lowery profile image

Georgie Lowery 4 years ago from Slaton, Texas USA

Great information! Taking vitamins and drinking a lot of water are very important! I've lost close to 80 pounds this year, and I didn't do any calorie counting or jumping on the scale. I just quit eating crap and started walking a mile a day. Good luck to anyone who is making losing weight a New Year's resolution.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Georgie, for sharing your story. That is great input! That is what I'm trying to do, just make some healthy changes. I don't want to count calories or count pounds. Yes, I do want to lose weight, but I'm going to focus on being healthy. When my clothes start getting looser, I'll know I'm doing something right! Now, excuse me, I'm still on my first bottle of water! :-)

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I have never had a weight problem and I'm fully aware of how lucky I am. Still, I need to pay attention because it is not getting any easier to stay in shape. :) Good tips.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Yes, you are lucky, Bill! It sucks being a 5' 4" woman sometimes--with an appetite of a man! LOL. Seriously, it's a burden for many, many people, which is why I think we should focus on just being healthy and exercising, and perhaps the rest will come. :-) Thanks for reading, my friend!

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

Lots of good tips here and realistic. I love reading about any kind of getting in shape. I have been trim all my life because I made the commitment to be that way. I always think before I eat something...And I have my splurges. I probably will gain about two or three pounds during the holidays...Can't resist all the time..But it will come off..I hate to go on a diet..just eat healthy and carefully all the time...It is just as easy to do as say.. Great hub. I am going to link it to one of my hubs.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Vee......Hey girlfriend..."No, I'm just not interested in living healthier??!" LMAO. WHO would check that one? That's a nasty slow way to commit suicide, but hey, whatever works, I guess.

This hub is AWESOME and absolutely chock full of the right ATTITUDE.

What works for me.....follows quite similar to what you have written about. I found a simple fact that, if kept in mind at all times, seems to work extremely well......We all know the expression, "Every Penny COUNTS."....Well, we can simply apply this to calories in and calories out....right? It's the little things that add up that matter. Every time you choose your foods and portion size, think healthy and small.....every activity is "burning" calories...think often and consistent.

Thanks for the common sense education in a healthy life style to keep the weight off!...There was a time when I had 3 closets for all 3 of my different SIZE clothes!! more..........UP+++

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

carol--it sounds like you have more control than most people. It's hard for me to be that careful. I want to snack at this and that, have a few glasses of wine, snack some more. I have a huge appetite; it's not easy to say no. That's why there's nothing about food in my goals, as that is too tough for me to control. But I'm working on the exercise, water, and vitamins. We'll see how that goes! Thanks for the input! Which hub are you linking it to? I'll have to check yours out. :-)

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Hey,Effer, I bet you're awesome with healthy living. I'm still trying to get there. LOL. I have several closets of clothes, as I'm trying to get back down into them. I haven't gotten rid of anything and can't wait to try on some of the cool stuff again. I wear the same stuff all the time. I'm hoping my new health habits will kick in. Worked out today and drank a lot of water. Problem now is that I'm drinking wine, which makes me hungry. LOL. Vicious cycle! :-)

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Solution: Don't drink wine!! ROFLMAO....I don't live a REAL healthy lifestyle. I have a few very bad habits. Just to be honest!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Effer, but I LOVE the wine! At least I am drinking water and exercising, huh? So, what are your bad habits, girlfriend????

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Oh....I could tell you, Vee....but then, you KNOW I'd have to kill you.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Effer, very true. I'll let you know when I'm ready to hear it. LOL. :-)

rfmoran profile image

rfmoran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

Victoria, the best thing about this excellent hub is that it comes at a time when we're all thinking about New Year resolutions that we are likely to break. Your common sensical approach is excellent. My wife and I find that the book Eat this, Not That is excellent for easily shaving the small points. Voted up and useful.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

rfmoran--Thanks for that great feedback. I am not good at "resolutions," but I can make some changes little by little. That book sounds interesting. I may have to look into it. Thanks again! Happy New Year!

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great job with this topic! There is no magic weight loss solution, but it's important to keep in mind that it's occurs through lasting life changes, not lose weight quick diet fads. You've outlined a lot of great ideas here. rfmoran is right that the New Years timing for this article is awesome, too!

Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Very useful information at the right time with so many parties in sight and excuses to binge. I agree with you diets do not work, everything in moderation is best way to go.

dilipchandra12 profile image

dilipchandra12 4 years ago from India

Good ideas. Very good hub, i like it. Well written, Keep it up

catgypsy profile image

catgypsy 4 years ago from the South

I totally agree with you about diets. In fact, I think most of them are downright unhealthy, in the long run. You have to be able to enjoy what you're eating and be able to splurge once in a while on the "bad" foods. Good luck with your new ideas. I think you've got a good handle on how to do it right!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, random! Fads don't work. Lifestyle changes is the only way I know how to make good habits stick! Happy New Year!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Vellur, that's what my mom always said--everything in moderation!!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

dilipchandra12--Glad you like it! Thanks so much!

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very inspiring hub, especially for those who run the diet program. I think exercise is the best for me. It works, LOL. I also had an experience with vitamins and I took them regularly, it's too instant for me. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up and Happy New Year,


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

catgypsy--I think you're exactly right. Any time I would restrict myself too much, it would lead to pigging out on something! Thanks for the input. Now, wish me luck!!!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

prasetio--We all have to find what works for us. I do wish vitamins would be more "instant" when I took them. I can't tell a difference right away. I think that's why I usually stop taking them. I'm going to try again, though. Thanks for y our input. Happy New Year!

Betty Johansen profile image

Betty Johansen 4 years ago

I think your choices - exercise, water, and vitamins - are excellent. And your approach isn't overwhelming. I'm inspired! Thank you.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Betty--I'm glad that you are inspired! I hope I can keep my inspiration throughout the year--or at least most of it. haha Happy New Year!

DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

I've been trying to drink a lot more water. I usually am good about exercising and eating right, although I've really fallen off that bandwagon over the holidays. Time to break out the new Jillian Michaels DVD I got in my stocking!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Great advice and ones that I follow every day. I didn't believe that exercise, eating right and drinking lots of water worked until I actually started practicing this daily. Thanks for the refresher and advice.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Deb--Me, too! The holidays got me off my exercise schedule (and I ate too much!) as did teaching and end of semester stuff. I bet the Jillian Michaels DVD is kickin'! You should write a hub reviewing it!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

teaches--I just hope I'm disciplined enough to do these daily. I'm going to try!

Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I really enjoy hubs about realistic lifestyle changes. I do read the diet posts, because I like to glean useful tidbits from them. And once in a while I will go on my own version of a diet to help kick-start my body when it is necessary. But I find that lifestyle changes like these are what works best for the long term. This is a great post!

Having your cats in the picture of the water is clever! Pets always make pictures more interesting!

Just to let you know, you have a header "Health Benefits of Water" with nothing related under it.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Kathryn--Thanks for all the great comments. A lifestyle change is the only way that I can stick with it--and I still have trouble! Thanks for the compliments about the cats. I agree; they make things more interesting!

Thanks, too, for the heads up on the empty capsule. I'll try to fix that as soon as I can. The edit tool hasn't been working for me lately. Not sure what's going on. Thanks!

CarNoobz profile image

CarNoobz 4 years ago from USA

Diets are stupid. Been there. Done that. lol

helpful info. Voted up

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

haha, CarNoobz. I hear ya! Thanks!

Kasman profile image

Kasman 3 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

Very informative and wonderfully written hub Victoria. I couldn't agree more with you about it being a lifestyle change. It has nothing to do with fad diets or denying carbs and all that mess. You're also right about keeping tabs on how much water you drink. I lost a ridiculous amount of weight within 6 months by doing exactly what you suggested, lifestyle change. Voting this up, I'm sharing this big time because too many people are on silly diets and need to see more common sense methods!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Kasman--I'm glad you agree! I haven't done GREAT with my lifestyle changes, but I've been pretty consistent with the exercise, fairly consistent with vitamins, and randomly consistent with water. :-) I'm still trying with my lifestyle changes! Yes, people need to stick to common sense methods that they can stick with--not fad diets. Thanks for your input!

fzraomcgyj 3 years ago

Came clueless, left worried. Thanks for the post. Im astounded by people who want to know the universe when its hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.

svdcazvpjn 3 years ago

I do not know the things I could possibly have implemented without these methods shown by you over such a area of interest. T

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

fzramocgyj--??? Could you explain further? :-)

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

svdcazvpjn--Thanks for the comments. Glad it was helpful!

BillB 3 years ago

Victoria- thank you for a great article. I am an ex pro athlete and totally agree with you on "diets" don't work. You have to change your mindset and think "healthy" for the long term. My wife and I have changed our lifestyles by eating organic and taking supplements and walking or hiking. It has been amazing the change in energy, stamina and health. I can' think of any other way to live now. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted but now that I am in my 50's, no can

Thanks again for a great article. I am listing my site if you don't mind. Feel free to remove it if you don't liste URL's. Just so you know, it is my site on weight loss for Brasil and is in Portuguese. Passion of mine.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

BillB--Thanks for the input! I'm still working on being consistent with good habits such as working out and drinking plenty of water. It's a process with me. I looked at your site. It's interesting. I could read a lot of it, as much of it is similar to Spanish, which I have a background in. Thanks again!

passionate77 profile image

passionate77 3 years ago

hmmm so nice and realistic plan you mentioned to stick with, its really very difficult to stay on track with unrealistic weight loss plans and hard to follow rules. to be honest first time i am reading a post about weight loss plan that seems so realistic with acceptable lifelong changes and determination. thanks for sharing and blessings victorialynn!

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

passionate77 Thanks for your comments! I have to be realistic as following diets just doesn't work for me. This is something I can at least do on most days!

Mel 3 years ago

Thank you for posting this.

I have been struggling to find something that works for me for the last couple years. I always knew what the right thing to do to lose weight was, but somehow could never commit to it. (I call it laziness.) I tried to follow many diet plans, but I just cannot stick to anything. Your post keeps it realistic and achievable, and I thank you for that.

I feel like this is something I can do, thank you for sharing.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author


I'm glad you appreciated the article. It's hard for me to commit to any type of diet plan, so coming up with simple things like this is all I can do. Good luck with achieving realistic goals! That's what I'm going to try to do! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

Excellent exercise and diet tips! Every one could use a bit of assistance to shake up their healthier living routine. Or at least use the tips to start a routine! :)

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Sunshine! I hope so! And I hope to take my own advice. Sometimes I do!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

This is a perfect example of an Evergreen hub! It is just as important now as it was when you wrote it two years ago. Common sense and good advice will take us a long way.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, tillsontitan! I hope so! And I should take my own advice more often! Sometimes I do; sometimes I don't. :-)

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