As a persistent dieter and a former resolution-enthusiast, I understand the desire to have a New Years resolution focused entirely on your physical appearance. Maybe you’re a Mother of three, just desperate to lose that last 10-20 pounds so that your husband may be more attentive. Perhaps you’re a college student, eager for a fresh start to conquer the 10 pounds you gained while cramming for your winter finals. You may even be anxious for a spring/summer vacation you’ve planned, and know that the extra weight could help you to feel more confident about strutting down the beach in a swimsuit. No matter the motivation, I get it.
As a law student, a pageant competitor, and a community volunteer, I have numerous hobbies, and always seem to be interested in taking on a new one. But regardless of the chaos and change I experience on a daily basis, there is always a constant: stress. Not just over school, finances, or lack of time, but rather stress due to a life-long struggle with maintaining a healthy body. While men spend excessive amounts of time daydreaming about sex, women mentally obsess over how thin they are (in order to look good for sex). So, naturally, the majority of women will waste another New Years resolution by focusing entirely on “losing weight.” However, chances are good that a resolution like this is going to fail miserably, and therefore there are a few things you should consider in order to revamp your normal “weight loss” resolution.
(1) Be Realistic! This is often harder than weight loss itself. If you watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and it depressed you, you’re already behind. Accept the fact that your body will never look just like a supermodel’s, and realize that even Adriana Lima doesn’t really look like that. On top of excessive makeup, expensive lighting, and digital retouching, the truth is that it’s their job to nearly starve themselves, and unfortunately their bodies will pay for it eventually. Stop pinning up magazine pictures. It’s unrealistic, mentally unhealthy, and if you have children you are conditioning them to feed into this unhealthy over-glorification of stick figures. Look at your own body and measure your progress by the way your clothes fit, and not by how you compare to another slender female. You are not her, get over it. Love the skin you’re in!
(2) Be a Planner! Look at your weekly schedule, and adjust your food preparation and exercise time accordingly. Your weight loss is at least 80% determined by your diet, and therefore the proper time must be set aside for grocery shopping, meal-planning, and cooking. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It is important you have a weekly meal-plan laid out before you hit the grocery store. I usually do this on Sunday afternoons. I spend 30-45 minutes setting up my meals for the week, and then plan my grocery list accordingly. Without a plan, I am more likely to throw everything the cart. Therefore, I always plan, and I also never go to a grocery store when I’m hungry.
(3) Be Proactive! This is hard. A gym membership is a big commitment, but it’s worth it. Check on websites such as Groupon or LivingSocial, which often have great deals for trying out a fitness center for a trial month, and also have cheaper prices on fitness boot camps. Take a look at all the gyms that are close to either your home or your work. Don’t bother to look at anything that takes more than a 5 minute drive because after a month you’ll find yourself using the distance as an excuse to ditch. I personally look for a gym with spinning or aerobics classes. It is vital that you incorporate weights into your exercise regimen, but I find that I have a hard time forcing myself to do so alone. Therefore, strength-training classes are a good way for me to include such into my routine. Whatever interests you, find a gym that offers it. Many women love Zumba. Call around and see if you can try a free class to see if you like it too.
(4) Be mindful! If I kept chips or cookies in my pantry, it would be extremely easy for me to eat it all in one sitting while watching my favorite show. This is why I never keep chips or cookies around. Don’t tempt yourself. Get rid of the crap in your fridge and pantry, and start from a clean slate. Otherwise, you’re opening yourself up to a binge. Don’t punish yourself before you even start to eat clean. If you have kids, part of your problem might be eating the food meant for your children. If the food your kids are eating is keeping you fat, you can probably be sure it is also slowly making them fat. Feed your family healthy, clean food. There are tons of alternatives to kid favorites, and check Trader Joes or your grocery store’s health food section for better choices. Moreover, be aware of what you’re putting into your body. After reading Julia Cameron’s book, “The Writing Diet,” I began to keep a journal. If you really want to get healthier, keep yourself accountable on a daily basis.
(5) Be an advocate for moderation! I happen to love Jackie Warner, and her book “This is Why You’re Fat (And How to Get Thin Forever).” She is one of many fitness experts who understands the social aspect associated with food. I believe it is this aspect that has led to an obese America. However, I love dining out, and I imagine you do too. Therefore, allow yourself to cheat on the weekends only. Try eating clean Monday-Friday, and then give yourself two cheat meals on the weekend. You may find that pizza sounds repulsive after a week of healthy eating, but at the very least this weekend freebie will help you to reconnect with your friends or spouse.