For many, the start of a New Year offers the opportunity to make a fresh start at practicing a healthier lifestyle. If you are interested in seizing this time to establish some New Year’s resolutions, I would like to offer the following suggestions based on my personal experiences and several years of helping people open pathways to lifestyle changes.
- Don’t expect to drop a ton of weight quickly (I know you want to, but you really should not try this if you want to sustain your weight loss). Replace foods that are high in sugar and non-nutritious fats and increase vegetables and fruits. Reduce portion sizes of the more calorie dense foods (US Dietary Guidelines).
- Avoid extreme diet programs and make sure you continue to eat the foods you enjoy.
- Take time for your meals and eat mindfully. Avoid doing other tasks while eating such as driving, talking on the phone or working. Make your dining experience pleasurable.
Increase physical activity:
- Walking is an ideal form of exercise and safe for most fitness levels. If you would like to create an exercise routine for yourself, follow the recommendations of the US Physical Activity Guidelines.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time.
Clear away clutter:
If you are surrounded by piles of paper, boxes that you never unpacked since your last move or too much furniture, you are living in a congested environment that depletes energy. Clear these items away and free up space for your renewed energy.
If you believe you don’t have enough time to take care of yourself, consider how you are allocating your time.
- Do you devote your energy to the things that are most important to you? Is your health a priority?
- Explore barriers that are preventing you from improving your health. Do you overeat for emotional reasons? If so, what feelings are you attempting to numb or soothe? Are you feeling worried or even angry? Are there more productive ways of dealing with these feelings?
Pursue activities that inspire you:
Are you satisfying your intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs? Boredom is a common cause of overindulgence in food. Are there meaningful projects that you wish to take on, but have put off because they require a lot of effort and time? Set your intention to invest your energy toward these pursuits. Creating or listening to music, engaging in movement, art or sports are a few examples.
Spending time with friends, making new friends and engaging in stimulating conversation with like-minded people are important to most people.
Making lifestyle changes is a challenging process. Give yourself time to find your way.
I welcome your feedback in the comment section below.