10 Diet & Fitness Resolutions To Make

Lose weight. Eat healthy foods. Exercise daily. If you're like many people, you made these or similar pledges during the annual New Year's Day ritual of resolving to improve our health. Of course, resolutions are easy to start; the challenge is sustaining them. Now, during March National Nutrition Month, have you held true to your good intentions? Statistics show that, at the end of January, some 64% of resolvers are still hanging in there; six months later, that number drops to 44%. Making resolutions is the first step, but, experts say, you need a plan and a healthy dose of perseverance if you want to succeed.
* 1. Have a Realistic Eating Plan
Have an eating plan that has plenty of variety, yet is simple, interesting, and tastes good -- such as the Mediterranean-style diet with its "good carbs" from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; healthy fats from nuts, fish, and olive and canola oils; and lean protein. According to a new study published in the journal Obesity, including protein from lean sources of pork in your diet could help you retain more lean body mass, including muscle, while losing weight. Purdue University researchers found that a reduced-calorie diet with a higher but healthy amount of protein – about 30% of total calories including 6 ounces of pork on average per day – helped overweight women preserve more lean mass while losing weight compared to women who consumed the same amount of calories but ate less protein.
* 2. Believe in Yourself
Seeing is believing; once you see you are capable of making changes in your behavior, it inspires confidence. Imagine practicing a particular behavior change two weeks out, two months out, two years out. If you can’t do it, then re-evaluate to make sure the goal is doable. Breaking down a lofty goal into smaller steps is often what is needed to gain the belief that you can do it.
* 3. Get Support Studies show that social support is critical, especially after the first few weeks when your motivation flags. Seek out someone who will be there for you long-term.
* 4. Spell Out the Details
Devise a sensible plan for how you'll shop, cook, and fit in fitness. Think through how you'll deal with cravings, but don't deprive yourself. If you give yourself permission to eat what really matters to you, it puts you in control (instead of the diet), and empowers you to make a healthy decision.
* 5. Set Mini-Goals
Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds, but you'll be more motivated to succeed if you celebrate every 10 pounds lost. Realistic resolutions are ones you can live with. Setting the bar too high can be demoralizing. People who set attainable, realistic goals are more likely to succeed, says Norcross.
* 6. Manage Your Cravings
Cravings for foods are caused by swings in your blood sugar. If you eat the right kinds of foods and snack strategically, you can eliminate cravings.
* Women who ate the higher protein diet experienced increased measures of “global pleasure” from pre- to post-study, which may be related to their increased feeling of fullness compared to the normal protein group. The overweight women in the study who increased their dietary protein, with pork as the only source of meat, also experienced greater satiety or the feeling of fullness during dieting, decreasing cravings.
* 7. Control Your Environment
Stack the deck in your favor by eliminating tempting, fattening treats from your surroundings. Instead, stock the pantry and refrigerator with plenty of healthy foods. Surround yourself with people, places, and things that will help you change your behavior. Avoid those that invite problems, like going to happy hour or eating at a buffet restaurant.
* 8. Do the Opposite
Counter-conditioning: one needs to do the opposite of the problem behavior. The opposite of sedentary behavior is an active behavior. It is not good enough to diet; instead, you need to replace the unhealthy foods with more nutritious foods.
* 9. Reward Yourself
Reward yourself all along the way for continued motivation and success. Figure out what will work for you, and reward yourself whenever you achieve a mini-goal (such as losing 10 pounds or exercising every day for a week).
* 10. Anticipate Slips, and Deal with Them Constructively
Don't let a slipup derail your resolve to improve your health. Setbacks are inevitable; it's how you respond to them that matters. Successful resolvers use slipups to help them get back on track, serving as a reminder that they need to be strong.


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