Every January we eagerly set our New Year’s resolutions, the majority of which center around losing weight. We vow to never eat another cupcake again and cannot wait to indulge in a new spring wardrobe. But despite our best intentions (and toll on our pocketbook) 80% of resolutions are broken by February. But this does not have to be your fate. Set yourself up for success by making 2018 the Year of the Undiet.
How many of you have tried countless diets and yo-yoed back (or surpassed) your starting weight? My hand is up too ladies. I cannot tell you how many years I invested time and money in the latest diet craze and ended up confused, frustrated and worse off than where I started. But I have achieved success for myself, Gatsby and my clients by focusing on incorporating lasting lifestyle changes over time.
Here are my top twelve lifestyle tweaks that you can easily implement into your daily routine. I encourage you to start by trying one or two that appeal to you. When you feel like you have it down, add another one in and so forth.
Develop a Morning Ritual: The first thing I do every morning is make some warm water with ½ lemon. This not only alkalizes my body but it puts me in a healthy mindset. No reason to feel bad about that extra glass of wine last night; today is a new day. I then get moving with Gatsby on our morning walk, enjoying my time with him and setting positive intentions for the day. I encourage you to develop your own ritual and include your doggy. After all, he or she is the best motivator in the world.
Love Your Veggies: A great way to crowd out the junk is by eating your daily allotment of produce each day. The added fiber creates a feeling of fullness so you will not have room to pile in unwanted junk. Plus eating clean adds years to your life and makes your skin glow. Strive for 5 servings of vegetables (2 cups of greens, ½ cup broccoli, ½ cup bell peppers) and 2 servings of fruit (1 cup berries, 1 medium orange) per day.
Green Smoothies Rock: A simple way to get a serving of vegetables and fruits in is by starting your day with a green smoothie. You can easily sneak a cup of spinach in and will not be the wiser. In fact, a green smoothie is a terrific addition to your morning ritual. I love to make a berry smoothie and share some strawberries with G!
Power Up with Protein: Be sure to include lean protein at every meal and snack. Protein keeps your metabolism firing and energy levels up all day long. It is also satisfying so you will be less likely to overindulge in unwanted calories.
Healthy Fats are Essential: The old adage fat makes you fat is an old wives’ tale. Monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (Omega-6 and Omega-3) have a positive effect on your health. They are extremely beneficial in reducing cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetes, depression, ADHD and cancer. Specifically, Omega-3 fats (salmon, flax seeds, walnuts) are known to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and those pesky wrinkles we all get from aging. Strive to eat 2-3 servings each day in moderation (10 raw nuts, 1 tablespoon unsweetened nut butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil, 1 tablespoon chia seeds or flaxseeds).
Ditch the White (as in Sugar and Flour): Did you know that sugar and white flour have the same addictive properties as tobacco and cocaine? The more sugar you eat, the more you need to satisfy your cravings. Think about how tough it is to eat just one slice of bread or a cookie. Focus on eating whole grains which digest slowly and do not spike your blood sugar. There are lots of yummy grains, breads and pastas on the market so you will not be deprived of your favorite foods. Be sure to check the ingredients list for added sugar; the less ingredients the better.
Balance Your Plate: At least half of your plate should be filled with colorful vegetables and greens. The rest of your plate should consistent of approximately 4 oz. of lean protein. Watch your serving size when you include whole grains (1/2 cup grains, 1 splice bread). If you are at a party or having a special night out, choose one food item that you cannot live without (chocolate cake or mac-and-cheese) and then fill the rest of your plate with protein and vegetables.
Move: Exercise is key to improving the quality of your life. It stimulates various brain chemicals that give you an emotional lift and compliments a healthy diet, enabling you to reach your health and weight loss goals. As RDMs the best exercise buddy is your doggy. Be sure to get in some cardio and strength training for optimal health. Click here for are a few ideas on how to kick it up a notch.
Fit in the Foods You Love: As I tell my clients, no food is inherently good or bad. Some are just more healthful. Having the occasional splurge is beneficial for your mental state. You never want to deprive yourself or you will end up falling off the wagon. A big part of life is socializing and having fun. I cannot live without the occasional girl’s night and Neapolitan pizza. When I am indulging I pair it with a salad and couch it in between a healthy lunch and workout session to start the following day.
Find Your Accountability Partner: You cannot go it alone. The best way to develop new habits and change your lifestyle is by surrounding yourself with positive people (both two-legged and four-legged). Get a group of RDMs together and form your own wellness group. You can also join an online community (like our private one) or hire a wellness professional. Logging your food and exercise in an app can also be super helpful. Above all do not forget that your doggy is your biggest cheerleader. When I am craving junk food after a hard day at work, I take a stroll with G to unwind and share some veggies and hummus.
Catch Your ZZZ’s: Think about how you feel after a sleepless night. You pump up the caffeine to stay awake and crave salty or sugary fare all day. On average, you need 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. When you are sleep deprived, you disrupt the hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the go hormone that tells you when to eat, while leptin is the stop hormone that tells you when you are full. Thus, more ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain and a slowed metabolism.
Make Time for You: In this crazy age we all need to take a moment to slow down. Between work, family, social commitments, email and social media it can be difficult to take a breath. Set time aside each day to do the things that destress you. Spend time with your doggy, read, take a bath, go to a yoga class, mediate, cook, garden…whatever gives you a calm smile. An hour break can do wonders for your soul.