I will be joining the millions of people making the New Year resolution to lose weight. Actually I want to improve my strength and flexibility, but weight loss would be a bonus for me. Even though I’ve already returned to my pre-pregnancy weight, shaving a few additional pounds would be nice. Because I want to improve my fitness level, I need to focus on exercise for this year.
However, what if your New Year resolution is weight loss? Do you focus on dieting or exercising? My answer to this common question depends on how much weight you want to lose, your current exercise routine, and how healthy are you eating.
New Year resolution to lose 10+ pounds
If you want to lose more than 10 pounds, then the main focus of your new year resolution have to be your diet. It doesn’t matter how much you exercise if you cannot control how much you are eating. An hour of intense exercise will only burn off the calories from two candy bars. You are not going to be able to lose a large amount of weight from exercise alone without changing your diet.
If you are only willing to change only one thing about your diet, figure out your trigger food and avoid it. All of us have a trigger food. A trigger food usually leads to rampant bingeing that leaves us emotionally drained after we are done indulging. The keyword word associated with a trigger food is “emotionally drained.” Emotional eating is real and all of us do it to some extend.
My trigger food is that perfect blend of fat and sugar called ice cream. When I have ice cream in the house I cannot stop obsessing over it until I finish the entire carton. My siblings and I fought over ice cream our entire childhood. We only get a small carton once a month and when divided between 4 children, well, there just never seem enough. Ice cream is also associated with a simpler time in my life when I was happy with little responsibilities and loved unconditionally. And after bingeing on ice cream several days in a row when I have a carton in my house, I am left feeling emotionally drained and guilty for not having more self-control.
If your new year’s resolution is weight loss, figure out your trigger food and ban it from your house. You need to focus on your diet and get rid of the emotional baggage you have with eating and your body. You are not destined to be fat, but the inertia to stay fat is hard to resist.
New Year resolution to lose less than 10 pounds
When you are trying to lose less than 10 pounds, the weight loss hill is much easier to climb. In most cases, you’ve just let sloppy eating habits slide into your life or over-indulge during the holidays.
It is easy to unconsciously pander to sloppy eating habits because everyone around you does. For example, when eating with a group of friends, it is much easier to order a drink (hello extra calories) because all your friends are doing the same thing unconsciously. It is easier to give in your husband’s request to have hamburgers for dinner than to argue over the merit of steam vegetables and baked salmon. It is these small things that lead to sloppy eating that add extra pounds to your body over time. If corrected quickly and consciously, you can halt the slow weight creep. When you are trying to lose less than 10 pounds this New Year and you notice that your weight gain is mostly due to sloppy eating, then consciously correcting sloppy eating should help you lose the weight without much exercise over the course of the year.
Or you can add in moderate exercise, if you do not have an exercise routine already, to speed up the weight loss. If you currently exercise, you need to increase the intensity or figure out if you are exercising correctly for your body type.
My New Year resolution
With my desk job and the natural tendency for a ruler body type to have tight hamstrings, I am as flexible as your average senior. My New Year resolution is to be able to touch my toes and hold that position for 5 minutes. I would also like to work on strengthening my back, shoulders, and chest muscles to improve my posture. Nursing and carrying an infant is taking a toll on my body and increasing the steady forward shoulder creep that is indicative of bad posture. I want to correct this while it is relatively easy to do so.
What is your New Year resolution? What is your plan for achieving your goals this year?
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