First and foremost, don’t make a resolution make a decision.
Yes that’s right; don’t make any resolutions at all. None, zilch, zero. We’re human, meaning none of us are perfect and setting lofty resolutions can just set us up for failure. Saying “I’m going to be down 25 pounds by the end of January” or “I’m not letting chocolate touch my lips again and I’m going to hit the gym six days a week without missing a day this year” is ridiculous. Then we just beat ourselves up and throw in the towel before we ever see any real results.
So mistake #1 is we make the resolution in the first place.
Now don’t misunderstand me, I think healthy goals whether they pertain to your career, love life, health, or financial planning are terrific. In fact you must set goals and make a plan to achieve results and success but it’s important to set realistic goals and not unrealistic resolutions. There is a difference between making a decision about something that can make a life-altering difference in your world and stating a resolution that is often short lived. To decide is to make a choice. “I choose to be healthier,” is a statement that can bear sustainable results. When we choose we feel more in control of ourselves. It makes us the boss again and that’s a good thing. It’s empowering.
For example decide to clean your pantry out and replace the junk food with whole fresh foods. Pitch the processed, boxed stuff from the holidays and replace it with whole food; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Decide to call a friend three times a week to take a walk or hit the gym. Decide to get up 45 minutes earlier during the week and work out at home and make a healthy breakfast. Decide to drink half your body weight in ounces of plain water daily.
Write down your decisions too, seeing things in writing makes them real and they are good reminders when you look at them daily.
So let’s make some healthy sustainable decisions not short lived resolutions.
Mistake #2 is a misconception about the basics of weight loss.
In the words of Dr. John McDougall, M.D, one of the foremost medical doctors in the world who has helped thousands reverse disease and drop weight with diet and lifestyle choices for decades, states, “The Fat You Eat Will Soon Be the Fat You Wear.” So, get the fat out of your diet. Of course there are healthy fats that we need to consume daily for healthy brain and organ function but there are also unhealthy fats that are dangerous to our health. Such unhealthy fats that cause weight gain are found in oils: canola oil, peanut oil, grape seed oil, even olive oil. If you consumed two extra tablespoons of olive oil a day in any dish you’d put on an extra 36 pounds by this time next year. There is no nutritional value in free oils and they do nothing but damage the lining of your blood vessels and put fat on your body. Instead, choose a tablespoon of fresh ground flax seed or unground chia seed daily and just add it to a smoothie or whole grain, unrefined cereal. The flax seed or chia seed will provide you with omega 3 fatty acids and give you the good fat your body needs, not the deleterious fats such as free oils. Other sources of good fats include olives, organic nut butters, nuts, seeds, and avocado. But keep in mind that these whole foods contain a lot of fat per serving so try to keep them as a snack or side and not as a main dish. Sprinkle a teaspoon of seeds on your salad, put two slices of avocado in your whole grain veggie filled wrap, but don’t eat a huge bowl of fresh guac if you are trying to lose a few pounds.
Mistake #3 is not drinking enough water. Did you know that 75 percent of the people in the US are dehydrated? We simply do not drink enough plain water daily. Dehydration affects our moods, digestion, elimination, and thinking to name a few. Our body runs on plain, filtered water. I’m not talking coconut water, vitamin water, cucumber water, or water with lemons and limes floating in it. Your body begins the digestion process when there is anything in your water so keep it simple and keep it plain. Consume half your body weight in ounces daily and you’ll keep your machine running smoothly. Think of each of your cells as mighty factories and they can’t operate without plain water.
Mistake #4 is what I call, nocturnal nibbling. Now if you are diagnosed with a disease, have diabetes, or are under the care of your physician for a specific condition and must eat prior to going to bed this is not a substitution for your physician’s care. But, if you are not under the care of a physician then this may be one of the biggest health and weight loss tips that will guide your way to zipping up those skinny jeans: stop the nighttime nibbling. Go back to our first mistake don’t make resolutions, just make a decision to not eat after a certain time. Set a time when you are done consuming food each day. This time should be no later than 7 or 7:30 pm. If you are hungry reach for healthy, whole foods like a bowl of fresh raspberries or even make a cup of tea with some almond milk. And be sure to stay hydrated, because often when we feel hungry we are actually thirsty.
Mistake #5 is people try getting healthy alone. Losing weight, toning up, and eating better is easier with a buddy. No champion goes to the big game alone. Get a friend to work out with you and be sure it is someone who is making the same decisions you are making around healthy food. It helps to work out with someone on a regular basis and humans are communal creatures, we’re social!