make your weight loss and health-related resolutions stick this year!
The festive season is often a time of indulgence…in everything! Once the ball drops and dust settles, put this plan into action to get back in shape.
Instead, we’ve got three sensible steps to help you take control of your meal plan, exercise routine and health in 2013.
1. Pack on the protein.
This macronutrient should be included in each dish or snack you sit down to, whether you nosh on lean animal sources or opt for plant-based choices such as nuts, seeds, beans and legumes. And, this rule couldn’t be more vital than when eating in the AM. “Protein at breakfast really sets the stage for the day as it increases metabolic rate and fires up your fat burning engines,” says Joy McCarthy, holistic nutritionist and health expert for Global Toronto’s The Morning Show (www.joyoushealth.ca). “Eating a nutritious breakfast keeps insulin levels in check and balances blood sugar, which is at the root of preventing cravings and keeping hunger at bay.” Pair proteins with dark berries, apples, pears or any and all vegetables, plus good fats such as avocado, organic plain yogurt, goat cheese, and olive and coconut oils.
2. Don’t skip meals.
While this may sound like common sense, many people drastically cut calories in hopes of shedding holiday pounds. “Skimping on calories earlier in the day backfires as it fuels your appetite hormones,” explains McCarthy. “You will actually eat more later on than if you had consumed a balanced diet.” Plus, hunger can also affect the types of food that you desire: “You’ll crave more starches and sugars when deprived of food because they are the quickest source of energy. When you eat an excess of carbs, the additional sugars not required for energy convert to fat and end up on your belly, hips and thighs.”
3. Think baby steps.
Slow and steady wins the race. Instead of striving to overhaul your entire life, McCarthy suggests implementing one change per week. “Try drinking freshly squeezed lemon with water each morning on an empty stomach, or consume a balanced, delicious smoothie for breakfast. The following week, add another habit, such as walking daily or ensuring that vegetables cover 50 per cent of your plate.”
Brent Bishop, a Toronto-based personal trainer, fitness expert for CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show and president of Think Fitness Studios (www.ThinkFitnessStudios.com; www.IamBishop.com), says that being unrealistic when goal-setting can be detrimental to your workout routine: “Often, people will make elaborate goals at the beginning of December as a way of justifying taking a month off. When it comes time to putting your New Year’s plan into action, it can become very difficult to live up to those goals after getting so far off track.” Bishop suggests 30 minutes of exercise two to three times per week for those who are either starting out or getting back to their routine. “You can always ramp things up as you develop some momentum and consistency.”