Half way through the first month of each new year, many of the well-meaning resolutions we make to eat healthier and lose weight have all but faded away. We all want better lives, but changing ourselves requires changing our bad habits, and developing new good ones.
Can You Pinch an Inch?
Stand in front of the mirror. Can you pinch an inch around your waist? Then you, like 1.5 billion people on the planet today, are probably overweight. Carrying around extra pounds can interfere with our self-esteem, drain our energy and cut our personal effectiveness. Getting lean will decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Here are five specific things you can do to discipline yourself into developing a habit that will translate into better health and a slimmer waistline in the future:
1. Eat and Drink Mindfully
If you’re not paying attention to what you’re putting into your body, how will you know if you’re really eating healthily? Nourishing your body should be an experience you take the time to enjoy. When you eat and drink, take the time to do so mindfully. Instead of eating or drinking in a rush, savor each sip and bite. Chew your food properly and savor the flavors. Consider taking the time to mindfully prepare your own meals instead of settling for fast food.
Click on to MyFitnessPal.com and set up an account, or download the smart phone app. Record all your meals, snacks and drinks every day for a week. This will give you an understanding of portion sizes, calorie content and nutritional information of the foods you eat every day. You will be surprised to find out exactly what you’re putting into your body.
2. Drink Water Instead of Sodas and Juice
When it comes to putting on extra pounds, sugar is our number one enemy. Liquid sugar is the sneakiest culprit. Just drinking one 16 oz bottle of Coke per day can translate into 20 extra pounds of fat in just one year. Start saying no to sweetened beverages. Instead of drinking sodas, juices and sports drinks, fill up a one liter bottle of water every morning and take it with you. Refill it once during the day. Do it for 30 days and see how you feel.
3. Cut out the Starch
There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Our bodies do not know the difference between a spoonful of rice and a lollipop –they both get converted into glucose in the bloodstream. Eat less rice, pasta and potatoes; share your dessert, trade your morning cereal for an egg or sardines, give up bread and have tomatoes or cucumbers instead. Eat more healthy protein at meals to end snacking. Cut down on eating unhealthy carbohydrates and stick with it for 30 days. You will feel better and weigh less.
4. Set a Goal and Write It Down
Get a physical done. Find out what your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are. Calculate your body mass index (BMI) using this BMI Calculator. Find out if you’re in the healthy range and how you compare to other men or women of your age. Set a goal for yourself and a time frame you want to do it in. It could be to lose two inches off your waist, to fit into your favorite pair of jeans again, or to get into the healthy BMI range, but write it down and set yourself a deadline.
5. Weigh Yourself Once per Week
Willful ignorance keeps many of us from realizing that we are gaining weight and becoming unhealthy. We dread getting on the scale, because deep down, we know that we will not like what we see. Make it a habit to weigh yourself at least once per week, if not every morning. Keep track of your progress by entering your weight on MyFitnessPal.