How to keep a New Year’s fitness resolution

2012 is almost here, which means (after gorging ourselves on holiday food) it is nearly time to make resolutions again.

How many of you followed through on last year’s list?

A significant percentage of the population will list losing weight as a goal, and, for the first few days or even weeks of the new year, you’ll work towards it, but the majority of that percentage will be off the plan by February. 

Why? How can you change this pattern?

Simplify, and get SMART

  • Specific – Stating you want to lose weight is not specific. Assign a number, or a performance goal.
  • Measurable – How will you know if you are on track to achieve your goal? Are you able to run a mile/ run a mile faster, or is the scale reading lower?
  • Attainable – Do you have the means and the time to make your goal happen? Check your resources so you have no excuses.
  • Realistic – Unless you live on the “Biggest Loser” ranch, a safe weight loss goal is about a pound a week.
  • Timely – Set short-term goals within a long-term goal so you can check in regularly with your progress, and assign your goals to a certain number of weeks or months.

A SMART fitness goal will help you stay on track, in addition to providing smaller, more manageable milestones along your journey you can feel proud of.

Set up a rewards system for the small milestones. Treat yourself to massages, a new kitchen appliance, clothes, a trip, etc. so you have something to work toward at each step.

Sticking to a health and fitness goal requires a lifestyle modification; however, if you go too extreme, you are less likely maintain it. If you start out eating perfectly and exercising everyday, you might give up after one indiscretion. If you schedule breaks and cheat days, you’ll be less likely to fall off the wagon. Having said that, if you do fall off, get back on. You’re not going to strike out. This is your health; your life; not a baseball game.

The phrase, “lifestyle change,” sounds overwhelming. It brings to mind giving up things you enjoy. Rather than cutting out all the food you like and going to the gym instead of relaxing, just aim to do something. Make one change a day. That could mean walking to the store instead of driving, or having an apple as a snack instead of chips. One healthy swap each day can make a big change over time. And, one healthy change typically leads to another.

When you sit down to make your list of resolutions this year, make them SMART, and remember, something is better than nothing.

Happy New Year!

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5 Meals to get you back into your pre-holiday jeans

Over the past week, we’ve spent a lot of time cooking, and even more time eating.

What’s more?  It’s only the beginning of our holiday season eating extravaganza that ends with New Year’s resolutions meant to undo the damage.

That rattling in your closet is all of your buttons shaking in fear of what you intend to consume over the next month. 

I’m not going to ask you not to eat at parties or enjoy the many holiday treats that will surely show up at your home or office this season. Instead, I’m going to suggest some meal options for the days in-between the butter, cream cheese, sugar, mayonnaise, icing, eggnog-laden gatherings.

Below are five meals you can feel good about. Not only are these dinner ideas healthy and tasty, they are also easy. You’ve already slaved over a turkey. Now you’re off the hook for the rest of the year.

After the holidays, I will absolutely help you get back in shape even if you break every rule in my book; but, success will come sooner and easier if we can temper the damage on the front-end.

What’s for dinner?

1) Meatloaf (using oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs) with cauliflower mash instead of taters

For the meatloaf, use 1 lb of lean ground meat, 2/3 cup of oatmeal, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, 1 drained can of diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp of worcestershire and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Mix and bake at 350 for 40 mins, top with Heinz 57 and bake for an additional 10 mins.

For the cauliflower mash, steam or boil fresh or frozen cauliflower until tender, then process with your favorite mashed potato ingredients.

2) Lentil sauce over quinoa

Cook 1/2 lb of sausage or ground meat in a pot with 1 tsp of olive oil. Once the meat cooks, add 1 can of lentil soup and 1 can of Rotel. Heat through so some of the liquid evaporates, and serve over quinoa.

3) Taco salad

Cook ground meat with 1 tsp each of the following: chili powder, onion powder, paprika, garlic salt, cumin and red pepper. Add 1/2 cup of diced onion and cook until translucent. Serve over torn up lettuce and top with grated cheddar, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, a dollop of plain yogurt (greek is best because the flavor mimics sour cream) and a sprinkle of crushed tortilla chips.

4) Steak and salad with blue cheese dressing

Marinate steak in 2 Tbsp worcestershire, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp of orange or apple juice and 2 tsp pepper for at least 30 mins. Grill to desired doneness, and serve with romaine, diced red onion and a dressing made of the following: 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of yogurt, 2 tsp chopped onion, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, splash of red wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp of blue cheese – process till smooth and salt & pepper to taste.

5) Roasted chicken and veggies

Heat oven to 400F. Mix juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 Tbsp freshly chopped herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary or sage will work) and 1 tsp minced garlic. Baste chicken breasts, and use the rest to toss with vegetables of choice (broccoli, carrots, onion, fennel, sweet potato chunks, bell peppers, cauliflower, etc.). Bake chicken and vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until done.