Nearly half of all people in the world make New Year's resolutions. And, according to nielsen.com, the top two resolutions in January 2015, accounting for nearly 70 percent of all resolutions, were to stay fit and healthy, and to lose weight.
Yet, ironically, time.com reports that losing weight and getting fit are also the top two most commonly broken New Year's resolution. According to List25.com, most people who resolve to lose weight return to their unhealthy routines after just a few weeks, and most new gym memberships go idle as early as February. So what is it that makes the top two most sought after goals among the most difficult to achieve?
Tom Hanks may have said it best in the movie "A League of Their Own" when he said, "If it were easy, everyone would do it."
Another reason, according to Dr. Christine Whelan, faculty member at University of Madison's School of Human Ecology, is that change is a mixed bag for people.
"It's exciting and scary, and might seem like a big effort to undo so many of the habits we've created over the years," she said.
But if losing weight and improving your overall health and fitness is a goal you are determined to achieve, it is important to remember there are no shortcuts. The only way to achieve lifelong weight loss is to make permanent lifestyle changes. Start by striking the word "diet" from your vocabulary and focus instead on healthy foods and regular exercise. Here are some tips that may help:
Stock your kitchen with healthy whole foods that are readily available. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on you counter and a bag of chopped vegetables in your refrigerator. Make salads in advance and store in single-serving containers for a quick go-to lunch or snack.
Just say no to the extra food that accumulates throughout the day — a sample here, a cookie there — and think twice before you take that bite and decide if you really want it. Also, skip the baking; who can resist that hot, gooey treat fresh out of the oven? Instead, give non-food gifts and offer to bring a healthy snack to the party.
Always eat your food on small plates to give the illusion of larger portions without the extra calories. Remember to chew your food thoroughly and to eat a proper meal at the table; mindless noshing in front of the television is a surefire way to sabotage your goals.
And never eat snacks out of the bag; use a plate or bowl to dish up a single serving.
Be sure to eat three healthy meals each day and to include protein in your breakfast. Research shows that a high-protein breakfast can help suppress appetite and reduce subsequent eating throughout the day.
Finally, be sure to hydrate — ideally consuming 64 ounces of water each day — and make exercise a top priority. Schedule your workouts just as you would any other appointment and be uncompromising in guarding the time you've designated for exercise.
Be sure to get 30 minutes of physical activity at least three days each week, and enlist a friend to workout with you. According to abcnews.go.com, "Sharing goals can make us more successful in reaching them."
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