With Christmas behind us, our thoughts now turn to the new year, which is just a few days away. Maybe you’re making big plans for New Year’s Eve to say goodbye to 2021 or thinking about ways to make changes in 2022 that will improve your life and your overall happiness – the so-called New Year’s resolution. If you’re doing the latter, it’s worth noting that, whatever the resolution, the majority of us break it by early February. Change is hard, after all, and a simple rolling over of the calendar doesn’t change that fact. The reliable, go-to resolutions are, of course, to lose weight, get fit, exercise more or some combination of those ideas. There are many reasons why people bail on these types of resolutions, the biggest of which is that they didn’t see results they hoped for fast enough. In a culture with thousands of diets, supplements and exercise programs promising quick results, it’s easy to give up when the scale doesn’t move. But if losing weight is your resolution in 2022, you can avoid breaking it by taking the right approach when you’re making it.
Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook fitness and weight management manager Chad Hodson says there are some strategies that can help you become a “successful loser.” “Start by making short-term goals that are achievable,” he said. “Try setting bi-weekly weight loss goals of 3-5 pounds. Losing 3-5 pounds in two weeks doesn’t seem as daunting as losing 50 pounds in three months. Long-term goals are good, but the short-term goals are more important for keeping you on track,” he explained. “Next, have a plan to achieve those goals. Get an exercise plan that’s designed to fit your needs, know how many times you are planning to exercise each week and have a general idea of what you will eat each day. These simple strategies do wonders in keeping you on track. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail,” he added.
“You want to avoid making diet plans that are unrealistic,” Hodson continued. “I’m sure that the latest fad diet is great, but if it isn’t helping you achieve your long-term goals, why not follow something more realistic that will work with your lifestyle? This way, you can get to your ideal weight and maintain it. Also, consider joining a gym. Lots of people buy home gym equipment with the best intentions, but the equipment just sits there collecting dust and taking up space. Joining a gym gets you into a routine of driving there, walking in, changing clothes and doing a workout,” he explained. “Getting something into your routine is critical toward making it stick,” he said.
Hodson says it’s also important to start slow. “If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, remember to ease into exercise,” he said. “Five days a week of a full hour of intense exercise will be too much if you’ve been inactive for an extended period of time. Start with as little as 20 minutes of exercise three days a week, and try to build on that each week. Before long, you’ll be breezing through 45-60 minutes of exercise each session,” he said. “And don’t get discouraged. Remember that it takes about three months to see significant results. However, by the three-month mark, your routine has likely become a habit, and you won’t be able to imagine skipping a workout session,” he added.
Finally, Hodson says it’s important to reward yourself, but to do so carefully. “Life is too short to constantly deny yourself foods you love, so the occasional cheat meal is okay,” he said. “Aim for eating right 80-85 percent of the time, then save the other 15-20 percent of the time for snacks, treats or other things you enjoy. However, some foods aren’t worth the mega calories. Be cautious when dining out because you can wind up with a day’s worth of calories in one meal. For example, a personal-sized Chicago deep dish pizza can pack up to 2000 calories, which is enough to derail anyone’s weight loss efforts,” he explained. “Remember, weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. These simple strategies can help you along the way.”