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Many women make the same New Year’s Resolution almost every year. “This year, I’ll lose ___ lbs,” or “This year I’ll lose the weight.” The fact that they make that same resolution each year probably means that they’ve been going about reaching their goal in an unsustainable way.
What do I mean by unsustainable? When we go on a ‘diet,’ by definition it is a temporary change. No one goes on a diet for life, right? Diets are restrictive, and eventually just as one goes ‘on a diet’ they’ll soon go ‘off the diet.’ It’s the same story with trying to stick to a commitment to work out for 2 hours per day. This extreme type of commitment just won’t be possible for anyone for the long term. These types of unsustainable diet and fitness regimens might lead to some weight loss at first, but it will probably all come back in the not too far future.
So, this year instead of going on yet another diet, and instead of making the focus of your year to ‘lose weight,’ what about making a New Year’s Resolution that’s based on sustainable healthy living? Sustainable means a change that you can make for the long term, one that will work for you for life. While the focus and purpose of these types of healthy changes might not directly be to lose weight, these important factors will help the weight come off and stay off in the long term.
Here are 5 possible health focused resolutions for the New Year that are sustainable for the long term. Resolutions like these will help you reach your overall weight loss, health and fitness goals. Whenever possible, add in your own specific measurable goals as part of your resolution. Measurable goals are much more likely to be met!
Although it may not seem so important to many of us, more and more studies are showing that sleep is crucial to our overall health as well as to weight loss. In fact, even the ‘healthiest’ people often fall short in the sleep arena. A recent study showed that people who got 8.5 hours of sleep lost 65% more body fat than people who got 5.5 hours of sleep. An additional study showed that women who slept more than 7 hours per night were 33% more likely to succeed in their weight loss efforts. Lack of sleep raises levels of several hormones that increase appetite including leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and orexin. This year, resolve to get 8 hours of healthy sleep each night! For suggestions on how to change your sleep habits, check out this post.
Rather than thinking about starting yet another new diet, or deciding to cut out food groups to lose weight, try focusing on what you should be eating more of – tasty, healthy veggies! Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will support your overall health. They’re important for just about every aspect of health including cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. They are extremely low in calories, yet help you feel full thanks to their high fiber and water content. To get more veggies into your diet, make a goal like “I will eat two servings of veggies with each meal,” or “I will eat a total of 5 to 6 servings of veggies per day.” Track yourself for a few weeks until eating the extra veggies becomes second nature.
3) Decrease Stress Levels
High stress levels can have a huge impact on your health and weight loss due to a chemical called cortisol. When cortisol is too high, it can lead to weight gain or cause great difficulty in losing weight. There are a wide variety of ways to work on decreasing your overall stress levels. First, begin with sleep (see #1 above). Then, schedule (yes, schedule) adequate down time to participate in activities you enjoy. If you’re like most women…busy with a million social, family and work responsibilities, try to set aside an hour or at least a half an hour per day for relaxation. During this relaxation time, instead of watching television, you might read, knit, meditate, sit outdoors if the weather permits or partake in any other down time activity you enjoy. If you can, schedule an appointment for a massage, acupuncture, a manicure or another relaxing treatment once per week.
Whether your goal is to drink less of other things (like soda or juice) or to simply make sure you’re staying hydrated, drinking more water is a healthy resolution. Water helps your overall health by flushing out toxins and helping your organs to work properly. It helps weight loss by helping manage appetite and being free of calories. It’s always a better choice of beverage than any other. Shoot for about 64 ounces (or approximately 8 glasses or 2 liters) of water per day. If you sweat hard, add in a little bit more.
5) Get Stronger
Instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale, consider making your fitness resolution related to growing stronger. While individual goals should be based on your current fitness level, goals to consider might be things like “complete 3 sets of 12 squats with ___ lbs,” or “hold a plank for 1 minute,” or “complete Athlean-XX for Women glutes workout with advanced modifications and no rest.” Strength goals also might also be based on more subjective measurement since you might feel yourself getting stronger or notice some of your muscles beginning to pop. In choosing a strength goal, start small and reassess your goals regularly.
If you’re looking to make a positive change for health this year…one that is a true, sustainable lifestyle change, start your year off on a positive foot with Athlean-XX for Women. Our nutrition plan is definitely NOT a diet. Instead, we’ll show you how you can eat 5 – 6 small, healthy meals per day AND lose weight. There’s no measuring or counting here, and in fact you don’t even need to follow our 90 day meal plan if you don’t want to. We offer the alternative to make up your own meal plan using our long lists of healthy foods in each of the food groups. Once you learn to eat healthier and more frequently, you’ll find that this flexible way of eating can fit seamlessly into your life forever. Our fitness plan will have you well on your way toward that “Get Stronger” goal without you having to spend hours per day in the gym. In fact, our workouts are only 30 minutes long and can be done either at home (with our DVDs – one per each muscle group) or at the gym (with our workout cards – two per each muscle group). This year, resolve to make positive changes for your health and fitness rather than obsessing over the scale. Join us on Team Athlean today to find out how great sustainable lifestyle changes can feel!
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