January 05, 2004
We’ve all had the experience of making a strong start on our New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get in shape — only to find our enthusiasm flagging (and extra flesh sagging) by about mid-year. How to avoid getting side-tracked or discouraged on the path to a healthier life and higher self-esteem? We like the approach organized in these four “A’s.”ATTITUDE –
Resolve your will, and results will follow.Set up a support system of incentives and encouragement.Join a structured group like Weight Watchers.Get a diet buddy to share trials and triumphs.Set benchmarks to meet on your way to your goal, and celebrate their passage with long-coveted rewards, like a beauty accessory, a piece of sports equipment or a day of indulgence at the local spa.If you miss a mid-way mark or mess up on your plan, take the long view and get back on your program.Read the inspiring story
of how one teen replaced bad habits with exercise and healthy habits to lose 121 pounds in 18 months.APPETITE –
Weight loss is ultimately a matter of math: calories in vs.calories out.Since fruits and vegetables have fewer calories and more fiber pound for pound than most other food groups, substituting them for higher calorie snacks and meal options can help you cut calories while still feeling full.However, if you’re piling up your plate with fruit or soaking your salad with dressing without making other changes in your diet — guess what? You’re going to gain weight, not lose it.So be honest with yourself about your food choices, find ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in order to feel healthier and help avoid hunger as you cut back on the higher calorie items.
Know the difference between a healthy weight loss plan and a fad diet.Here’s a thoughtful rating of popular diet books on the market: CSPI Rates the Diet Books
Need help in curbing sugar cravings? Here’s some helpful advice — and practical tips.
I Crave Sweets — Help!
10 Ways to Cut Back on Sugar
ACTIVITY – Even if weight loss is not your goal, improving your fitness is key to strengthening your heart and warding off disease.New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on appearance, but the fat that’s the most dangerous to your health isn’t the kind that dimples under your skin but rather the intra-abdominal fat that lies around the organs.Exercise is key to reducing this deeply deposited and detrimental adipose tissue.
Click here to read more.
If you need the extra push, find a regular exercise partner and help each other stick to your fitness commitments when your motivation flags.Or if you crave solitude, choose activities like walking and running that give you a “time out” with your workout.Most importantly, don’t ask yourself if you want to go to yoga or the gym — tell yourself that you will.Click here
to see how to make sure your fitness resolutions don’t dead end.ACCOUNTABILITY –
Accountability means taking responsibility for our commitments and actions.When it comes to over-consuming and/or under-expending calories, our bodies have a way of taking us to account by manifesting the consequences of our excess on our waists and thighs.Yet the mind has a way of mitigating the uncomfortable tug of our too-tight clothing by blaming our size on heredity, on metabolism, on the food industry — or by denying the problem altogether.
While it’s true that complex factors have contributed to an environment in which it’s easier to eat more and move less, it’s also true that healthy foods, opportunities for exercise and sources of information exist in abundance — but it’s up to each of us to make that choice.