I wrote this last month for LaModeDallas.com, but I think it really applies with maintaining a healthy balance during the entire year and focusing on healthy living rather than weight loss and bikini season. My one resolution for 2013 was to not be pregnant, but as you can see, I already bombed that one (AND I LOVE IT).
“In the busy Emergency Room I work as a nurse, the main problem I’m confronted with is people with chronic health problems expecting immediate results from their emergency care. Patients have a problem substituting emergency medicine for family health practice and they are often disappointed with the results. The same problem applies to the gym. I have clients who are desperate to lose ten pounds in only three days, or are trying out the “Diet Coke and Cigarettes” diet (where they only drink Diet Coke and EAT cigarettes to keep from getting hungry) to lose weight quickly. The results are the same – disappointed patients and clients.
We are part of a generation who wants instant gratification.
It is terrifying to think that way for several reasons:
1) You never get what you want when you want it.
2) Your health and emotional stability suffer when you try to force it.
3) The people around you pay the price for your temporary insanity.
As the New Year quickly approaches, I always hear people talking about their New Year’s Resolutions (NYR) – what they want to change about themselves, how they want to lose weight and be healthier, what areas of their lives need rapid change and improvement to make the next year the best one yet. Initially, they come out of the holidays with contagious motivation. I love to teach fitness classes at the beginning of the year for this very reason. Everyone is so determined to work their hardest and be the best they can be. However, Spring rolls around and classes thin out until you have just the ‘regulars’ left – the individuals who are always in your classes like clockwork. Rain or shine, they come to your classes to exercise and be healthy. They put in the time and they see results. Not as quickly as some would like, but the results they see actually last. The NYR participants get frustrated when they look at the ‘regulars’ and see their dedication, hard work and motivation. They have a hard time remaining consistent with their resolutions because the good, healthy habits haven’t been formed quite yet. They then give up and fall back into crash diets and occasional workouts when they need to look good for an event or vacation.
The challenge I want you to walk away with is this: resolve to be consistent. Start your resolutions now. Christmas is an excellent season to implement change and new beginnings. Take one healthy decision at a time to prepare you for a new year full of opportunity and potential.
1) Make one small change every month. Example: for the end of December and all of January, give up fast food. In February cut out alcohol (minus wine; I’ll always allow wine). In March cut out refined sugars. Each small healthy choice leads to big changes come next December.
2) Serve others. You can burn some mega calories by volunteering and helping others. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter to sort cans or stack food boxes. Go to your local nursing home and give manicures to the sweet ladies who remind you of your grandma. I’m convinced that putting others before yourself helps increase happiness in your life. This increases serotonin and therefore, decreases cortisol (meaning that you burn fat and make someone else smile).
3) Move around for 30 minutes every day. I say this every blog, find something you enjoy and commit to it. Make small changes. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Find a fitness DVD with your favorite love-to-hate trainer and perform 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Browse Pinterest for ‘at home’ workout ideas that you can do while watching TV. Those calorie-burning sessions add up quickly.
4) Recruit friends. Get the girls in your office to sign up for a half-marathon with you. Make your boyfriend do a sprint triathlon with you. Utilize Groupon for cheap deals on new workouts or yoga classes and buy one for you and your mom. You’ll stick with any commitments if you know someone is counting on you to be there.
5) Go easy on yourself. You’re not committing to your health the easy way, you’re committing to your health the long-lasting way. You’re going to screw up a few times and that’s okay. The goal is to make changes that will be around next New Year’s, so you’re not resolving to lose those last 10 pounds or eat a healthier diet. Be proud of the changes you stick with and remember how far you’ve come.
Enjoy the new year and a fresh start. It’s easy to lose focus of our healthy lifestyles when the season of over-stuffing and over-indulging ourselves is right in our faces (or in some cases, has settled in our rear end). The key to maintaining any healthy habits is making sure you set yourself up for success and don’t beat yourself up when you occasionally slip. Just remember, there is no time like the present to resolve to be healthier. I’m right there with you.”
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