Best Diet and Exercise Weight Loss Plan - Easy New Year's Resolution Ideas
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?
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.
Resources: Making Lasting LifeStyle Changes
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.
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!
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.
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.
Hope for the New Year
- Another New Year's Eve - Hope for the New Year Poem
This New Year's Eve poem captures an evening not going so well. Is there hope for the new year? Just another auld lang syne?
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.