At this point in time, you are likely into the 3rd week stretch of any lifestyle changes resolved at the stroke of midnight for 2013. How's it going? Still pushing forward or falling back? Are you frustrated? Cruising along fine, but wondering if you can make your end goal?
Here are a few thoughts about those New Year diets and some others to contemplate or to consider fusing into your current plan.
1. Perfection isn't Important: Keep in mind that no one is perfect, whether at love, work, or a fitness/diet plan. Be able to realize that you make slack off here and there. Marjorie Nolan, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was recently quoted, "A cheat day can help you stick with a plan the rest of the week." Don't cheat everyday, but realize that if you must or you will, make it one day and savor it. Too many times, we forget to enjoy the things we have constantly in our lives. Perhaps, when you are restricting what types of foods to eat in order to stay fit, when you do decide to have a "cheat day", you'll enjoy that food even more.
2. Fast and Furious: Fasting is another way to take a break, but perhaps in a more severe direction. This new trend in dieting requires a 12 to 24 hour of fasting -- no eating during that period. These are then followed by high calorie feedings after the fast is broken. The science around fasting is that the break of food intake for these short periods of time will increase the sensitivity of the body's insulin and conversely reduce the levels of glucose in the body. This should be taken under the watchful eye of a health care professional that can make sure that it is undertaken safely and not over used as a means to shed pounds. However, keep in mind that you may already be practicing a form of fasting, its the time that you sleep. You finish your last meal around 6 or 7 p.m. and then don't eat again until the following morning at 7 or 8 a.m., you've fasted for about 12 hours as you slept.
3. Write it Down: Another method to stick to your dieting and fitness plan is to create a daily diary. It can be on your phone, computer, or on a pad of paper. Write down what activity you did, what exercises, how many, how long. Jot down your food intake, then at the end of the calculate your total consumption of calories, fat, and/or carbs. If you write it, it will be more concrete and will help to maintain a sense of accomplishment, even if you fall of the wagon for a few days.
4. Downsize: Review what a cup or better yet a half-cup of cereal, berries, or other food looks like. It's easy to imagine that you're only eating a cup, when you actually are consuming 2 cups. A nerdy trick perhaps, but consider getting smaller bowls and utensils to keep your portion sizes in check. Once you begin to visualize how much you actually are eating, you'll be able to keep that measurement in your mind for future eating ventures.
5. Realize this is a Long Haul: Don't get upset with minor set backs, be ready to re-sync several times during your fitness/diet goals. Your focus should be on long term results, not the few pounds that you may lose or gain when you first begin. Your overall health, well-being, and nutritional fitness are the end goal and will take a lifetime to achieve. The journey should be enjoyed as much as it may be an endurance.
Above all else, don't give up and keep on progressing forward. Make your goals and keep working each day toward completing them...then set more!