Don’t repeat last year’s resolution failures by falling into the old New Year's Resolution weight loss trap. Following the newest quick-fix, fad diet sets off a cascade of harmful metabolic effects, leaving you more hungry then when you started, with intense cravings, and an extra 10 pounds of rebound weight gain that you weren’t expecting.
Instead of making 1 large, grandiose New Year's Resolution that you will give up on before the end of January, work on implementing smaller, more achievable nutrition goals over the next 12 months.
Research tells us that it takes 21 days to successfully implement a new habit. Resolve to master each monthly habit before moving onto the next one. This way, when you look back and reflect next year, you will be 10 – 20 pounds lighter and empowered by the 12 new healthy habits you have integrated into your life.
January: Eat a protein rich breakfast within 1 hour of waking up. When you delay or avoid eating breakfast it signals to your body to store incoming food as fat for later use. Include 15 – 25 grams of lean protein with a high complex carbohydrate like a piece of sprouted grain toast or ½ cup of high fiber cereal.
February: Have a vegetable serving every time you eat. Vegetables are best eaten raw or lightly steamed and are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The average serving size for vegetables is 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked. Make a list of your 10 favorite vegetables and rotate them daily.
March: Enjoy an afternoon snack. It’s vital to your fat loss success that you keep blood sugar levels stable. Plan to have your snack between 2-5pm. If you eat a late dinner, have 2 smaller snacks. Research shows that blood sugar levels dip during these hours of the day. Include a fruit about the size of your fist with a good quality fat or lean protein, like nut butter or cheese.
April: Stop eating 2 hours before you go to sleep to aid in good digestion. Sleep is for rejuvenation and cleansing, not digesting food eaten late at night. Plus, consuming calories later in the evening will not aid weight loss.
May: Fiber it up! Aim to get between 25 – 35 grams of fiber in your diet per day. Fiber helps to keep you feeling full, maintain stable blood sugar and pulls out the LDL (bad) cholesterol from your body. By adding ½ cup of beans or lentils plus 1 cup of blackberries you have just increased your fiber intake by 16 grams per day.
June: Stick to 2 fruits per day. Eat the whole fruit instead of drinking the juice, even 100% juice made with real fruit. Dark coloured fruits are filled with vitamins and antioxidants. A portion of fruit is the size of your fist or a softball.
July: Increase filtered water consumption to 8-10 cups per day. During the summer heat it’s important to stay properly hydrated. Thirst often masks as hunger and cravings, signaling to your body to take in fluids. If you find you are unusually hungrier, then try adding in more non-caffeinated clear fluids during the day.
August: Limit alcoholic beverages to 1-2 and only on weekends. It’s easy to go over board with all of the summer fun, especially at BBQ’s. Bring a healthy appetizer or side dish to the BBQ.
September: Gain some lean muscle mass. Muscle burns an extra 50 calories per pound. If you gain an extra 5 pounds of lean mass that means you will be burning an extra 250 calories per day doing nothing because muscle is metabolically active. Change up your gym routine by implementing a moderate to intense resistance training program.
October: Reduce the portion distortion. During Thanksgiving it’s important to stick to proper portion sizes. Swap out your big plates for smaller ones. Eat off the smaller plates for the entire holiday season.
November: Make soups. As the weather changes so do our cravings for heartier and heavier foods. Allocate 1-2 hours per week for cooking and preparing 1 dish wonders and soups made with root vegetables and lean protein, including lean grass fed beef. Soups make for a great side dish or main meal.
December: Never go to a party hungry. Plan out your ‘cheats and treats’. This is the hardest time of year to stick to your weight loss goals. Consume about 100 – 200 calories of lean protein or good quality fats before going to any holiday party. The snack won’t ruin your appetite, instead it will help you keep to your portions and avoid overeating.