We've all heard it. We've all groaned when we've heard it. Crash diets don't work. That two-week grapefruit-only diet won't keep you thin. Neither will those diet pills you paid a fortune for over the Internet. The only way to truly lose weight and keep it off is to change your eating habits. (Cue dramatic music here. ) Yes, the dreaded lifestyle change. Yes, you have to eat healthy forever. Yes, you have to work out.
But it's not all bad. If you've been cringing at your body during the holidays and the long, “fleshy" winter season and want to make a change, the New Year is a perfect time to make that change permanent. After all, when you've spent months eating, drinking, and completely overindulging, you'll feel ready to put away the chocolate and candy canes and break out a salad.
A New You for the New Year
The first step in making the changes to help you start the New Year off fresh and healthy is, of course, the legendary New Year's Resolution. How many of these have you made and broken in a lifetime? How many times have you wondered if New Year's Resolutions actually curse your goals to failure?
But there's a way to write a New Year's Diet Resolution that will stick. The key is to start small, to pick a diet that's doable. Instead of breaking out that permanent marker and writing an ambitious “I will never eat unhealthy again starting January 1" or “I will only eat 1,000 calories a day, " take the time to examine your current habits first. What do you eat that is particularly unhealthy? What could you add to you diet to make it healthier? And start there.
When planning your New Year diet, it's important to plan changes that you are not only able to do, but able to sustain. At the risk of being repetitious: this is a lifestyle change. Eating nothing but grapefruit is not a lifestyle- it's insanity. So get out a pen, get out a pad of paper, and really examine what you could change.
Tips for New Year Diet Planning
When it comes time to plan your diet for the New Year, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Your plans are for you and you alone, and you know what you're capable of and what you are not. Do you think you can work out for an hour every day for the rest of your life? If not, don't commit yourself to doing that, as it'll only lead to frustration and disappointment. Don't think you can give up your favorite treat completely? Don't say you'll try.
Below, you'll find some guidelines for writing a New Year's diet plan that you can stick to:
1. Make small changes. Instead of saying you'll eat nothing but salad for lunch everyday, give you're self some wiggle room. Say you'll have that light salad three times a week. This will allow your body to adjust to new eating habits instead of resisting them.
2. Don't overwork-out. Start with an exercise program that you can maintain, and slowly raise the intensity and frequency. Don't commit to a daily workout that you can't finish. Start with a day or two a week, then, as you adjust, work out more.
3. Think healthy, not thin. You want to see amazing results, quick. Though it's possible to get that sometimes with crash diets, it's not actually healthy. And though you of course want to be slimmer, you should also want to be healthy. Eat certain foods because they're good for you. Replace that butter with olive oil, axe those trans fats, cook at home. Consider your lifelong health.
4. Allow treats. Don't berate yourself for eating a Snickers bar on a Saturday afternoon. Allow yourself a few treats on occasion. Hey, that cheeseburger will taste five times as good if you only have it once a month.
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