What better time than the start of a new year to write about something everyone can appreciate: losing weight and having more energy. It’s the No. 1 New Year’s resolution — “This year I’m going to join a gym, eat better and get in shape,” or something along those lines.
It’s the perfect time of year to recharge that resolution. If you reside in a colder climate, walking, running, cross-country skiing, or hiking are great for cardiovascular health and circulation (rosy cheeks). You will also be getting a good dose of vitamin D. The one great thing about being physically active is that you will eat less, feel more energetic and make better food choices.
The most important thing to consider about changing your lifestyle now is that it will increase your quality of life. Stop and think about what foods you’re consuming. Are you grabbing highly processed refined foods? Foods high in sugar or high-fructose corn syrup? Foods high in saturated fats and omega-6’s? What you eat now has a direct correlation with how you’ll age and feel in 10, 20, 30, or more years. You need to also look at how your children eat. How do you want them to age once they enter into their 40s, 50s and so on? Now is the perfect time to throw out the junk food and fill your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy fare. Aren’t you and your family worth it?
The best way to stay in control of your eating is to always be prepared. Never let yourself get hungry, and always have a healthy meal or snack prepped and ready for consumption. When you’re caught unprepared with low blood sugar is when you’ll reach for just about anything. Most of the time it’s something processed and unhealthy because it’s fast and you’re famished.
When you have your meals ready to consume it will keep you from having cravings and hitting “the wall” at that 3 to 4 p.m. witching hour.
Don’t let others derail your progress. I know friends can be supportive, but some will try to discourage you by saying, “Oh, you look good now — you don’t need to lose weight!”
The take-home message is this: If you envision a different body or if you want more energy, then commit to making the change. Everyone has it in them to achieve their personal best. You have to want it bad enough. You have to block out all the background noise from friends and family saying you don’t need to. The proper mind-set can deliver you results, regardless of your goals. When you channel the right attitude, success is attainable.
It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. My personal mantra is this: “It’s never too late to feel great — you hold the power.” Take charge now and achieve the body you want.
Linda M. Stephens MS is a clinical nutritionist, IFBB Figure Pro, and NASM CPT. For more info, visit www.figurefitnesstraining.com.