Consider these tips to help you keep your new year resolution. Not all of them will apply to you, but they are direct pieces of advice that can help in your journey. Try them out, see what works, and take stock that little victories–like tracking foods or exercising 3 times in a week–are more important than the scale. After all, you need to change your behaviors before you can change your wardrobe. And doing so will keep you motivated and inspired for the long haul. Start small to win big.
JUMPSTART WEIGHT LOSS
If you’re struggling to lose weight, don’t eliminate any single macronutrient (proteins, carbs, fats). It’s a recipe that makes sticking to your diet harder than it needs to be. However, replacing some carbs and fat for protein will help jumpstart your weight loss. Why? The process of digesting protein burns significantly more calories and keeps you fuller.
Not sold on the protein thing? How about this: When you bump up your protein intake, you eat fewer calories, says University of Missouri researchers. Doesn’t mean you just need to eat protein, but make a conscious effort to include more in each meal, or as a replacement for a carb source like pasta. Try eating any of these protein-rich foods: eggs, chicken, fish, protein powders, cottage cheese, pork, Greek yogurt, or turkey. If you don’t like meat or dairy, go for tofu, seitan, beans, lentils, quinoa, and nuts/nut butters.
Some people love eating 4 to 6 meals per day-it’s a perfectly healthy diet strategy. But it doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, research shows that snacking actually causes cravings. So if you struggle to control your appetite, it might be better for you to eat larger meals, less frequently.
Do you hate exercise? Maybe try taking caffeine. Research indicates that taking caffeine (coffee works) makes exercise seem more enjoyable.
Not a caffeine person? Then bring your iPod to the gym (or ask your FT trainer to hook it up to the speaker system). Here’s why: The bad music at the fitness center can actually make your workout feel worse, according to the journal Perception of Motor Skills. So do yourself a favor and play the music you love. It’ll make a difference and help the time pass, whether you’re lifting, running, or just going for a walk.
SLEEP THE FULL EIGHT
Seriously, it’ll make a massive difference in your appetite. When you’re tired, scientists have found that it’s harder to resist foods that are loaded with calories. The more tired you are, the less control you have over your hunger. So don’t place yourself at a disadvantage.
EAT REAL FOOD
Listen, a lot of trainers enjoy protein shakes (we know, weird). But there is nothing magical about the powder before, during, or after your workout-or at any time of the day, for that matter. Actually, whole food sources are ALWAYS a better option. Powders are just lower quality. So reach for the real protein sources first. But if you’re in a bind, go with the powder over fast food or a meal that completely lacks protein.
TRACK YOUR CALORIES
Use a website like LiveStrong or our new 360FT integrated nutrition tracking program to track your calories. It works, and here’s why: Even when you exercise, you can’t eat whatever you want. Research shows that we overestimate how much we exercise and underestimate how much we eat. So by logging your foods, you have a built-in system of accountability that helps prevent you from making mistakes that will crush your weight loss goals. But the added bonus: When you log foods, you actually start learning serving sizes. It empowers you to take control of what you eat no matter where you are, and you learn what foods are bad for your health and what you should avoid. It all starts with education.
Stop doing crunches and situps to lose your belly. It doesn’t work, and science proves it. A better way: Lowering your calories and starting a workout program with a direct goal. We’ve found that weight training is the most efficient way to drop pounds, but walking or playing sports is a great way to start being active. The crunches will only frustrate you and possibly hurt you.
Try some or all of these out and stick to your resolution in 2012!
Fitness Together programs provide a 360 degree approach to weight loss, for more information on our Personal Training Sessions, or our new economical Group Sessions, go to FTGetsResults.com