If you’re making 2017 New Year’s resolution goals, chances are your resolution has something to do with weight loss or your health. Losing weight was the top New Year’s resolution for 2017 and staying fit and healthy was the fifth New Year’s resolution.
With the continued rise of global obesity and health problems, more and more people are trying to make their health a priority.
The challenge with New Year’s goals is not sticking with your resolution within the first few weeks but how to make your new habits stick beyond January.
Only about 8% of people are actually successful in achieving their resolution (1).
Jump starting your weight loss efforts in the right way can help you gain momentum and focus to help keep your new habits stick throughout the year.
#1 – Make changes that will be for more than 6 months
Jump starting your weight loss efforts begins in the planning stage.
Everyone wants changes that are easy with fast results, but the reality is your weight loss goal could take some time and consistent dedication.
Don’t fall into the trap of weight loss plans or supplements that promise quick weight loss while not changing your eating and exercise habits.
Instead, determine what changes you can make for at least 6 months that will put you on a long term success plan.
Statistic Brain (2) reports 75% people can maintain their New Year’s resolutions for a week.
This drops down to just over 70% for more than 2 weeks and about 64% for 1 month. Less than 50% of people maintain their New Year’s resolutions for 6 months.
With this in mind, go into your New Year’s resolution goals with a marathon mentality instead of a sprint.
Recognize the healthy changes you are putting in place should be for the long haul, not just for January.
#2 – Increase your volume of food
For many people, weight loss or eating healthier can mean eating hardly anything and feeling deprived most of the time.
However, this does not have to be true. In fact, healthier, more sustainable weight loss should include filling up on food, as long as it is the right quality.
Cutting calories way back for weight loss is recommended sometimes, especially under medical surveillance.
However, by drastically restricting your food intake, you can lower your metabolic rate and may increase risk for rebound weight gain later.
By filling up on nutrient dense foods, you increase your volume of food you eat which means you feel satisfied and full: not semi starving.
The idea is to eat nutrient dense foods that provide high amount of nutrients for a lower amount of calories.
Examples of nutrient dense foods to fill up on include: fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and lean proteins.
To jump start your weight loss, how can you shift your volume of food?
How can you get more nutrient dense foods in your diet while cutting out higher calorie, lower nutrition foods?
By filling up on satisfying foods, you will be more set up for successful long term results.
#3- Ramp up your exercise smartly
If you are looking to jump start your weight loss, having an exercise plan can play an important role.
Most people are well aware of the health benefits associated with exercise; the hard part is fitting it into our busy lives.
Fitting in exercise in anyway can be helpful: taking walk breaks at work, taking steps instead the elevator, parking your car far away, etc.
While these are all important habits for long term health, just doing these things probably won’t lead to significant weight loss.
A 2014 review (3) suggests unless exercise training is very high, just exercise alone probably won’t lead to significant weight loss.
There are many health benefits with exercise, but significant weight loss from exercise takes time, dedication and consistency.
One the other hand, dramatically ramping up your exercise program too fast can be a set up for injury or burnout.
No matter where you are at fitness and health wise, come up with a plan to ramp up your exercise in the best way for your body.
Getting the advice from your medical care team and/or an exercise specialist can help ensure you are ramping up your exercise routine in a way that is best for you.
#4 – Make a routine to stick with
How can you ramp up your exercise plan or plan to eat more nutrient dense foods?
These may sound like good ideas, but how can you actually incorporate them into your life?
You need to come up with a plan. Make a routine you can stick with for the long term, not just for a week or two.
Start with a few steps you can tangibly incorporate into your life.
How can you get more exercise?
Plan and schedule in your day when you will fit it in, don’t just say you will go when you can.
How will you get more fresh foods in your diet? Plan when you can go grocery shopping and prep for meals ahead of time.
It may seem overwhelming when you first start new goals, but sticking with your routine makes it easier to stay with in the long term.
#5 – Eat more slow foods
What are slow foods and why are they important?
The idea of eating slow foods is more than just a trendy idea. The idea of eating slow foods means you are eating natural foods and cooking them; you are not just eating convenient, pre-packaged food.
The problem with eating so much pre-packaged food is they are usually high in calories, additives, sodium and other artificial ingredients. And, we can eat these high calorie packaged foods without putting in any work.
Maybe cooking more isn’t your top idea for jump starting weight loss. However, putting more effort and energy into making food can mean you are naturally getting more nutrient dense foods and cutting out higher calorie, nutrient devoid foods.
There are almost limitless websites, recipes and books for suggestions on how to get more slow foods in your diet.
Start incorporating a few steps into your routine.
When those become routine, see what else you can add for making food slower.