Take the right approach for success in your weight loss and wellness resolutions this time around.
Each year, millions of people make New Year's resolutions. According to a recent survey, living healthier and losing weight make up the vast majority of them. Some achieve their goals. Some give up quickly. Some (most?) do well for awhile, then struggle, eventually give up, and lose the progress they made toward losing pounds.
While it's admirable to make New Year's resolutions to lose weight, in the end, only 8 percent report to be successful. The secret to making healthy New Year's exercise and/or diet resolutions is to rethink the entire concept of resolutions, and to take a healthier approach to your body, in general—not just focusing on quickly losing weight.
Setting the Right Resolutions (or Set Anti-Resolutions)
At dietDirect, we believe sometimes the best New Year's resolution you can make is to not make any resolutions at all. If you're already in full-resolution mode, keep it in mind throughout the year. By starting to make small changes to your diet and exercise outside of the pressures of large goals January 1st, you can see success in any month- whether it's March or July- or by starting in December to already have some momentum. It's a "start now" attitude, and "now" can be anytime.
Making resolutions to lose weight—and trying to keep them—just because everyone is can be extremely stressful. So don't.
Set a Resolution, Not Resolutions
New Year's Resolutions start with the promise of a blank slate. It's Day 1 of 365 days full of opportunity to personally improve in so many areas we have been putting off; whether it's finances, losing a few pounds, eating healthier, quitting smoking, etc. Quickly, our blank slate fills up to an impossible list of things to accomplish, no matter how good our intentions. Here's how to set a list for success:
- Pick one resolution and focus on it.
- Set specific goals, not large, general ones. The more specific, the better. Think "lose 20 pounds by April" instead of "go to the gym more" or "lose weight."
- Consider setting several smaller, periodic goals over time that you can achieve such as "lose 8 pounds by February 15th".
- If your focus goal is daunting, you can break it down into several easier to achieve goals. This is recommended if its your first real attempt at a weight-loss resolution, or if you've had difficulty being successful in the past. Lifehacker offers these examples:
- "I'm going to log my eating and workout habits."
- "I'm going to change one thing about my eating habits each month."
- See more examples like these and tips on resolution setting at Lifehacker.com
Boost Success with Healthier Habits, Not More Goals
While we advise not making a list of huge goals, you can still support a focused goal by changing related habits that are simpler, but healthy. It might be the New Year, but you don't have to call these goals “resolutions.” And don't worry about marking up your calendar, competing with your friends or family, or fighting the lines at gym, either. Start implementing these instead:
- Get more sleep—Go to bed at a decent hour and get up at the same time every day. Start hitting the hay a half hour earlier each night until you hit your optimum bedtime. Adjust your alarm clock until you find a combination that doesn’t leave you feeling exhausted in the morning.
- Eat better—Start planning your meals around the food pyramid and work towards eating three meals each day. If you’re not currently eating breakfast on a regular basis, start. Gradually replace sugary drinks like sodas and pricey coffee drinks with water, and try to limit snacks or desserts to special occasions.
- Exercise—Start with something enjoyable and doable, such as walking, and start slowly. Work up to at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week. Later, add some bike riding. Or swimming. Or light jogging. Consider joining a gym or, if the crowds there are too crazy or intimidating, working out along with the thousands (and thousands) of workout videos available for free on YouTube or downloadable apps.
- Lose weight—This last task is important and may ultimately be your focus goal, but it's not so much a task as it is a byproduct of the first three tasks. Don't try lose a bunch of weight as quickly as possible. Aim to lose a few pounds at a time. Focus on getting healthy first, and if you do that, this last one will take care of itself.
It should be noted that you don't have to implement all of these changes at the same time. You can adopt them gradually. Perhaps it would be best focus on sleep for the first couple of weeks, then your diet, and then your exercise regimen.
Your Diet and Exercise Toolkit for Success
Setting the right goals for success is half the battle! Now, you just need to find the right gameplan, foods, and support resources to give yourself the best shot at success.
Choosing the Right Meal Plan
The start of a new year reinvigorates our commitment to go all-in to our personal goals, such as weight loss. There are hundreds of "lose weight fast!" or "quick and dramatic results!" schemes that try to take advantage of these desires. The truth is, however, a diet that requires little effort or drastic change is likely ineffective at managing weight over the long-term and may not be nutritionally balanced. Ultimately, it may have you finding yourself in the same place next January with the same resolutions as this year.
WonderSlim offers the type of plan that takes a more holistic approach to dieting that's designed for the long term. WonderSlim's weight loss plan is a program that uses medical-grade meal replacements, supplements, and nutrient-rich grocery foods in a healthy-habit forming design that's helped thousands for over a decade. Learn how it works here.
Kimberly Tessmer, a registered dietitian who has reviewed and recommended the program, hails the WonderSlim Diet Plan's incorporation of "pre-portioned, nutritionally designed WonderSlim diet products along with real foods to help create a program that is easy to follow, nutritionally balanced and highly effective for both men and women."
Kimberly also notes the comprehensive approach the plan takes, saying "The Program is specifically designed to keep a person eating higher protein foods, every 2 to 3 hours, which can aid in hunger and satiety issues. The WonderSlim Diet Plan is designed to teach people how to maintain weight once they have reached their healthy weight loss goal." Click here to see sample meal plans
WonderSlim foods and wildly popular meal replacement shakes are highly rated due to their delicious flavor, variety and excellent value. Diet Kits are offered in 3 unique plan levels (see chart below) depending on your budget and amount of variety that works best for you. Diet Kits feature multiple customization options for women and men in size (2 or 4 weeks) and you build your own meal options selecting protein-rich foods and flavors for each meal, directly on the website. WonderSlim's Premium diet kits offer the most meal categories and extensive selection list (including diet desserts) to choose from.
You can get a better idea of how and why the plan could work from you by hearing it directly from WonderSlim customers that have found success. Watch some of their stories by clicking here.
WonderSlim Diet Kits Overview
Always check with your physician before starting any weight loss and/or exercise program.
〉 Select & Customize: BASIC Diet Kit | CORE Diet Kit | PREMIUM Diet Kit
Not ready to commit? We also offer the WonderSlim 3-Day EasyStart Plan out to get a feel for the plan for a weekend and taste the difference.
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Keep Your Tracking on Track
While achieving consistent progress toward improving your overall health should take precedence over setting and achieving big, challenging weight-loss goals, it's still important to be able to track your progress.
Keeping track of your weight is fairly easy. You can step on a scale, jot down the number, and compare it to the previous day, week, month, or year. Your weight is only one measurement of progress, however. There are numerous other ways to tell how you're doing. As you step up your better sleeping, eating, and exercising efforts, keep an eye on these indicators:
- How many inches are you losing around your waist?
- Is it getting easier to exercise? Has your speed improved and can you last longer while doing it?
- Is your coordination and form improving?
- Are you needing less time to recover after a workout?
- Do you feel better?
Accountability can also be a key to success. Consider telling a few close acquaintances you can trust to keep you on track.
- Having a workout buddy be a great motivator.
- Many rely on the assistance a personal trainer can provide.
- Be mindful of choosing a workout buddy; they can also contribute to an unhealthy level of competition, while some personal trainers can be too demanding—not to mention too expensive.
- Be discerning on your personal or social accountability group. Don't share with everyone and be mindful of why you're asking for help and the reason you're asking. Learn more about sharing your ambitions to achieve more in this TED talk by Derek Sivers.
Find the Right Tools
If you visit a gym any January, you'll feel like you're waiting in line for a ride at Disney World. According to research, come back in February and it's almost half as full of these new members. Wait until June and 65% of have given up. Unfortunately, by the end of the year you'll see rows of open treadmills as it's estimated only 1 in 10 have kept their exercise resolutions (source: Ocala StarBanner).
The traditional approach of getting a gym membership and weekly planner may work perfectly for some, but statistically speaking the reality is that it won't stick for most.
But fear not! With more affordable exercise tracking devices (including many built right into your existing smartphone) and dozens of quality health apps, there is likely one out there that will meet your needs.
Whether you're undertaking your fitness journey with someone else, a trainer, or by yourself, these apps can do everything from help you set goals, track your progress, and even help motivate you when you need it. Many apps feature social functions which allow you, your friends, and family to share your progress and cheer each other on, and most work with popular fitness wearables so you can easily load all your workouts and track eating activity in a single dashboard.
The tech-addicted team at dietDirect has put together a list of our 16 absolute favorite health apps and where you can get them. Click here to find the one(s) that might be right for you.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
While you can expect to slip up occasionally once you get started on your new fitness and weight-loss journey, it's important to avoid some common dieting pitfalls before even getting started. Keep these tips from the folks at Health.com in mind as you start your journey:
- Use protein, but use it wisely. Protein is a terrific way to help speed up metabolism, burn fat and keep hunger at bay (see our Protein 101 guide). Just be mindful of balance, as your body stores excess protein as fat, and many high-protein items on store shelves are also high in sugar and fat. Browse our extensive high-protein diet foods store to find the right, balanced choice made from high-quality protein for you. Also, if you must snack, high protein versions of your favorite snacks are a better choice.
- Bypass the binging. A successful workout is not an excuse to stuff your face. The more you do it, the more you'll want to, ultimately sabotaging your overall efforts.
- Don't bypass the veggies. We're supposed to eat 2.5 cups each day, and most of us don't come anywhere close to that. Add salads to your meals or veggies to your entrees. Browse a few of our healthy recipes here for some ideas.
- Juice is not a meal. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and simply having a big glass of juice for breakfast. Juice raises your blood sugar, which causes your body to produce more insulin, which causes the munchies later. Opt for eggs, whole-grain toast, or other protein- and fiber-filled items to start the day.
- Switch things up. Walking or running the same routes can get boring. So can eating the same foods or doing the same exercises. Add some variety. Not only change what you do, but the frequency, intensity, and time you spend doing it. Need some ideas? Check out our post on why you should exercise outdoors in winter, for example. Also, discover a new walking/running route near you or while traveling with our favorite route-finding app, WalkJogRun.
- Know when to (and not to) sleep. Don't let fatigue get in the way of your workout. Exercise will energize you, and if you commit to doing just a little, chances are you'll want to do more. On the flip side, make sure to get enough sleep. Stick to your bedtime even if you aren't tired. If you don't, you'll likely feel extra tired tomorrow, and will also be less inclined to stick to your fitness plan.
Motivation and Breaking Through the Wall
There's first couple of weeks of your weight-loss efforts might feel like a raging success. “Wow,” you might say to yourself, “if things keep going at this rate, I'll reach my goals in no time!”
The fact is, however, that your initial weight loss often consists largely of carbs and water, and there's a very good chance that you simply won't keep losing pounds at the same rate. Don't be discouraged. It's called a “weight loss plateau,” and you can break through it. Expect it, and plan accordingly.
Should you get discouraged, don't worry. It's never too late to get back to it. Find encouraging stories, books, or even quotes like these. Sometimes you just need a short "reset" to get back into the habit, like WonderSlim's 3-Day EasyStart Kit. It's low-commitment, but has everything you need to regain your motivation and reboot your diet, perfect for breaking a weight loss plateau.
While your weight loss may see ebbs and flows, you're getting healthier, stronger, and more toned. If you stay on track, you'll start losing weight again in a matter of weeks.
Everybody is different, and losing weight is not a race. But if it was, slow and steady would win it, as the saying goes. Here's to a slow and steady 2016!
Also, if you slip up on any of the above—either shortly after getting going on some or after you started on all of them—don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens to everyone. Just keep going. If you do, chances are you'll continue to see progress long after everyone else falls off the wagon.