Here’s how to stay on track with three of the most common resolutions: losing weight, getting fit, and reducing stress.
Concerns about weight are almost inevitable after a holiday season of overindulgence.
Eat a balanced diet
- Have lean protein at every meal to help you feel full for longer periods. Choose organic sources where possible, and be sure to include fish or other omega-3 fats regularly.
- Aim for seven to 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day. Start by adding an extra handful of carrots to your diet today!
- Choose low-glycemic, high-fibre grain sources; read the label and look for at least 4 g of fibre per serving. Explore delicious nonwheat options such as spelt, quinoa, and kamut to add variety to your diet.
Keep a food diary
Food diaries have been shown to increase and support weight loss.
- Create your own paper-based chart or download one to print.
- Consider online, PDA, or smartphone-based options for convenience. Additional tools such as daily nutrient intake calculations and goal-setting support are available with electronic tracking options.
- Update your diary whenever you eat. Relying on memory at the end of the day or week will ensure that those extra lattes or snacks are forgotten.
Here are some ways in which you can support your commitment to exercise.
Personalize your plan
If you’ll do anything to get out of a gym workout, plan to attend a class instead, or sign up for an organized sport. If you love the outdoors, join a hiking club or organize excursions with friends. The best exercise is the one that you enjoy doing and will keep coming back to.
Change it up
Choose a variety of activities so that you have exercise that supports your endurance, strength-building, and flexibility.
A little at a time…
Experts recommend 60 minutes of exercise every day. If an hour of daily exercise feels daunting, think of achieving this goal 10 minutes at a time. Strive for activity throughout the day: get off the bus early to extend your walk home, take the stairs, walk to errands, and have car-free days.
High stress levels undermine your hard-won health successes, silently but surely.
- Keep a time log. Much like a food diary, a time log will cultivate a new awareness of the way your time is spent. Paper records or online trackers can help you see areas where change is needed.
- Differentiate between tasks that are “urgent,” requiring your immediate attention, and “important,” essential for achieving your professional and life goals. Offset future crises by re-emphasizing areas that are important yet not urgent (relationships, goal-setting, self-care) and let go of any that are neither important nor urgent.
- Plan your day’s activities in advance, prioritizing as needed.
- Work on difficult or undesirable tasks first.
- Try to recognize the time-burning pitfalls of perfectionism.
- Work through a task from start to finish, noticing factors that interrupt you regularly (text and email notices, co-workers, last-minute tasks).
Calm the mind
Meditation is an ancient practice that can be used to improve our handling of modern stresses. Simply sitting quietly for a few minutes while focusing on the movement of the breath in and out of the body can be a powerful and calming experience.