Jan 032013
 

Five Ways to Blow Your New Year’s Resolution 

Often, we associate New Year’s resolutions with drastic health or lifestyle changes that we feel determined to stick to in January – but weeks or months later, we burn out. Why? Because we try to bite off more than we can chew.

This week, we’ll share five common mistakes that lead to resolution burnout, and provide you with realistic tips that encourage long-term success.

“Just one more bite… My diet starts tomorrow.”

On New Year’s Eve, you might have enjoyed an extra helping of sausage balls because, like millions of others around the world, you resolved to eat healthier in 2013.

The next morning, you woke up ready to hit the health food store circuit – but not before ridding your refrigerator and pantry of anything processed, non-perishable or laden with saturated fats and sugar. (…Or salt. Or dairy.)

As you combed the aisles for nutrient-rich, fiber-packed oats to replace your usual sugary cereal, you shared a knowing nod with the shoppers around you and said to yourself, “This feels good.” A few hours and hundreds of dollars later, you’ve replenished your recently emptied fridge with all-natural, organic, wholesome eats and drinks from the best health foods stores in town.

And for the next two weeks, it does feel good – until the abundance of fresh produce you bought is not-so-fresh, and it’s time to replenish. You’re feeling good, sure. But your wallet is hurting. Nonetheless, you remain committed – and head to the grocery store for a fresh batch of resolution food. 

One month later, your bank account and your appetite are hungry and the thought of steaming fresh kale, beans and tofu for another  supper is starting lose its luster. That notion arrives just as the Wendy’s sign on the way home enters your view, and minutes later, the Junior Bacon Cheese combo you ordered has you saying to yourself, “This tastes good.”

“Everyone gets a cheat day,” you tell yourself that day – and the next, and the next… and the next hundred days or so. For the rest of the year, tasting good trumps feeling good – and your wallet agrees.

Resolution burnout strikes again.

How to: Eat healthier without starving your appetite or your wallet

Update – don’t overhaul – your diet

For many, healthy eating resolutions imply the need to detox, cleanse or completely overhaul one’s diet. But healthier long-term eating habits might start with a few simpler steps. Rather than wiping your entire cupboard clean, identify and clean out a few particularly unhealthy items you’re willing to forego moving forward (sodas are a good place to start). Then, introduce a few nutrient-rich staples in their place. You’ll begin to introduce your body and appetite to a more well-balanced diet, while allowing you to still enjoy foods you love. Pair new eating habits with an increase in physical activity, and you’ll feel even better.

Strike a budget- and portion-friendly balance

A healthier diet can also benefit from a change in routine: namely, where and how you eat. More cooking-in nights and fewer dining-out nights will not only save money, it’ll keep your waistline in check. And keeping a closer eye on your portion size both in and outside of the home means a dollar stretched – and an inch or two saved.

Happy eating!

 

 

 

 

 

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Jan 022013
 

Five Ways to Blow Your New Year’s Resolution

Often, we associate New Year’s resolutions with drastic health or lifestyle changes that we feel determined to stick to in January – but weeks or months later, we burn out. Why? Because we try to bite off more than we can chew.

This week, we’ll share five common mistakes that lead to resolution burnout, and provide you with realistic tips that encourage long-term success.

Think back on the holiday parties you attended over the past few weeks. What did you talk about?

Work? Obviously.

Kids? Definitely.

Pirate Football? What a comeback, so close.

What if you had a new topic to bring to the table? Broadening your interests and knowledge base is a great way to increase motivation, happiness and overall well-being.

So this year, you might consider adding the pursuit of a new hobby, skill or project to the top of your 2013 New Year’s resolution list.

It might look something like this:

  • Your goal: Actually create some of the Do-It-Yourself craft ideas you see on Pinterest or HGTV. Your plan: Making my own coffee table from scrap wood and glue can’t be all that hard, right?
  • Your goal: Master playing the guitar. Your plan: Tutorial DVDs will definitely make me the next Eric Clapton. I only need to devote 15 hours a week to practicing, they say. Totally doable!

Fast-forward to March: You’re on your fifth, failed DIY picture frame project, and after one too many failed attempts at “Layla”, you’re a far cry from Eric Clapton.

The high expectations you’ve set for yourself have taken all the fun out of what used to be your free time, and your big ideas go back on the shelf. Another New Year’s resolution bites the dust.

How to: Find a new niche that complements – but won’t demand – your free time

Be realistic

Rather than implementing deadlines and regimented schedules to achieve goals, set realistic expectations that factor in your free time and existing commitments first. This will take the pressure off – and leave the fun in – as you gradually chart your progress.

Flex Your Creative Muscle

Consider an arts-based hobby vocational therapy. Enrolling in an art class or signing up for music lessons can relax and inspire you, while also helping to utilize those parts of your brain that don’t get used from 9-5.

Remember: Life is stressful enough. Don’t allow a new hobby to turn into another obligation. The whole point is to break away from your routine and improve your mental state. So have fun, and enjoy the benefits. If nothing else, your guitar-fail stories will make you a hit at parties.

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 012013
 

New Series: Five Ways to Blow Your New Year’s Resolution

Often, we associate New Year’s resolutions with drastic health or lifestyle changes that we feel determined to stick to in January – but weeks or months later, we burn out. Why? Because we try to bite off more than we can chew.

This week, we’ll share five common mistakes that lead to resolution burnout, and provide you with realistic tips that encourage long-term success.

Happy New Year! The calendar has turned, and the stress of the holidays has passed. Now that you’ve been home from work for a few days, you’re getting restless. And maybe a little ambitious.

“This is the year I’ll finally do it,” you say to yourself. “I’m going to get in shape.”

So, you head to the gym, renew your membership and join the resolution regiment filling up group fitness classrooms.

For the several weeks that follow, you’re in it to win it. “All or nothing,” you tell yourself, fighting the urge to hit “snooze” each morning before the alternating sessions of spin and boot camp classes you signed up for.

Then one morning in February, everything changes. 5 AM starts blaring, and the thought of facing that perky spin instructor before sunrise suddenly looks a lot less attractive than the blinking snooze button. You’re tired, cranky, and unmotivated. After all, you’ve only lost two pounds since adopting your hardcore new fitness routine.

“I’ll sit this one out,” you say that morning… and the next few hundred mornings that follow.

Resolution burnout has claimed another victim.

How to: overcome weight loss resolution burnout

Be realistic – and diligent

While many have P-90Xpectations for total body transformations in mind, achieving a healthy weight begins by setting realistic long-term goals. So, February rolls around and you’ve only lost two pounds. Guess what? That’s two pounds less than where you began – and you’ll lose more if you stick with it until next February.

Remember, slow and (most importantly) steady wins the race

For the everyday people with real lives and demanding schedules, the Biggest Loser extreme approach might not be feasible.  So, when considering new fitness routines as part of your weight loss resolution, try to visualize your get-fit journey as a marathon, not a sprint. (Think: daily walks or jogs, to start.) Gradual improvement is the surest way to achieve your goals – and overexerting yourself from the outset is the quickest way to burn out.

Remember these tips and you’ll still be going strong as the gym crowd begins to thin out in a month or two.