Around this time every year, millions of people spend time reflecting on the previous year, and plan their steps in moving forward and making positive changes in life. These New Year’s Resolutions are a widespread tradition, and two of the most common are to lose weight and get healthy.
Unfortunately, these two are also among the first resolutions to be broken in the New Year, only to be set forth again once it comes to a close. Most often the second mistake in this ongoing cycle is the attempt to take on too much, too soon. By drawing up an unrealistic plan to achieve both maximum weight loss and optimum health, it becomes much too easy to feel overwhelmed and to give up. The first mistake? Thinking of weight loss and health as separate goals. The truth is that weight loss and health are so closely related that, most often, taking a step toward one will naturally bring you closer to the other. This simple understanding is the first step toward making this your year of success in achieving these goals, and following these four guidelines below will bring you even closer.
1) EAT WHOLE FOODS
Jack Lalanne made a great point in saying, “if man made it, don’t eat it.” Basing your diet as much as possible on foods delivered straight from nature is one of the simplest ways to maintain a balanced, well-functioning metabolism. Discovering just how great these foods taste and how good they make you feel when compared to their factory-enhanced counterparts will provide all the motivation you need to make this a lifelong habit.
2) EXERCISE OFTEN
This doesn’t mean it’s mandatory to become a gym rat. Regular exercise in any form makes the perfect complement to the aforementioned whole-food eating, and simply engaging in some sort of physical activity during most days of the week is enough. If a gym environment is intimidating or off-putting, begin with neighborhood walks and basic, at-home workouts — these can be every bit as effective, and even more fun.
3) MINIMIZE STRESS
To be clear, we’re talking about physical and mental stress factors, produced by both internal and external sources. As important as it is to incorporate relaxation into your day and maintain a friendly work environment, it’s just as important to avoid processed foods, excess caffeine and alcohol, and to manage time spent in front of the computer.
4) PRIORITIZE SLEEP
Although very simple, sleep is probably the most underrated of the practices listed here, and as such, this guideline may be followed the least. All current research, however, makes it clear that sleep represents much more than idle time, and appreciating this is the first step in taking your nightly sleep beyond mere rest and into actual rejuvenation. Taking the time not only to sleep, but to develop and refine good sleeping habits, will produce a difference you can feel. The goals of losing weight and becoming healthy aren’t nearly as separate as many make them out to be. Best of all, by treating health and weight loss as two sides of the same coin, it’s much easier to see them as one goal, which means you feel less overwhelmed, more in control and more sharply focused to last throughout the year. That means that this holiday, you can make your New Year’s Resolution truly unbreakable.