board-1108403_1920Every January millions of Americans start the new year off with one goal in mind: to lose weight. The problem with this resolution is that it’s too vague. Starting the year off without a plan or specific goal in mind will only lead to disappointment in the end. People often have an “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to weight loss. This will lead to burnout and a feeling of deprivation, ultimately leaving you feeling worse and probably weighing more than when you first started.

When you’re in a self improving mood after the holidays, it’s natural to want to change everything at once. This rarely works for long term success, however. This year, pick one thing to focus your attention on for a month.

It might take longer than this, but once you’re confident it’s part of your normal routine you can add something else in.

There are reasons other than unhealthy eating and lack of exercise that make you gain weight or prevent you from losing weight. Lack of sleep, dehydration, chronic stress from work, toxic relationships and financial worries are just a few factors that can contribute to weight gain. Remember, a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body! Of course whole foods and regular exercise are important when it comes to losing weight and your overall health. But if you’ve used these as New Year’s resolutions in the past and always find yourself in the same place come December, then it’s time to try something else. Below is a list of other New Year’s resolutions that can positively affect your mind and body, getting you one step closer to your weight loss goals!

Overall Health

  • Get a Health Check Up- getting a yearly check up can detect slight or major changes in your health. Remember, it is much easier to reverse conditions if detected early!
  • Go for a Daily Walk- get some fresh air and Vitamin N (Nature) in your life. The effects can be very therapeutic.
  • Get Off Prescription Drugs- are some of your medications related to lifestyle choices, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar? Make it your goal this year to lower the dosage or better yet, get to a healthier lifestyle where you don’t need any medication at all! Be sure to consult with your prescribing provider to see if this is an appropriate goal for you. Remember, do not make any changes to your medication without your provider’s instruction.
  • Drink More Water- dehydration can make us fat, sick and tired. Make sure you are getting at least 2-3 liters of water a day, or 8-12 cups.
  • Take Your Daily Vitamins and Supplements- make sure you get a high quality supplement. There is more value in a supplement that comes from a food source rather than a synthetic source. Ask about the Metagenics products at your next visit.
  • Get More Sleep- adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep helps you feel less hungry throughout the day and increases the body’s ability to burn calories.
  • Quit Smoking- talk to your doctor if you are having trouble doing this on your own. There are many programs, products, medications and phone apps to help you along the way!

Diet

  • Stop Eating Fast Food- there is absolutely nothing good about fast food. The excess amount of fats, sugars and chemical additives make it addictive and difficult to avoid. But if you want to lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, now is the time to stop. You will feel better in just a couple short weeks.
  • Stop Drinking Soda- the excess amount of high fructose corn syrup leads to a myriad of health problems. Many people will start losing weight just by making this one change. One can of soda contains more added sugar than you should consume in one day. Make sure you don’t swap soda for juice, sports drinks or energy drinks though, as these contain nearly as much sugar as soda.
  • Stop Eating Candy and Sweets- or at least decrease the amount you do eat. Enjoy yourself once in awhile of course, but do you really need that donut every morning? Swap your refined sugar for fruit and watch your energy level rise higher than the sky!
  • Cut Back on Alcohol- alcohol is fermented fructose and can have many damaging effects on your brain and body, not to mention weight gain. Even cutting back just a little can be beneficial to your health. Check out this blog for all the ways alcohol is preventing you from reaching your ideal weight if you need some extra motivation to cut back.

Mind and Mood

  • Start Meditating- you might find this difficult at first but don’t give up. If you’re finding it hard to focus it’s probably because you have all the worries of today, tomorrow and next week racing through your mind. But keep practicing and you’ll find this to be one of the best (and fastest) ways to manage your stress.
  • Stop Judging Yourself- it’s easy to be hard on yourself but has any good ever come from that? If you’re doing the best you can then ease up a little. Make a list of all your accomplishments and things you are happy about with yourself. Start putting the focus back on the positives.
  • Stop Worrying About What Others Think About You- judgement is often nothing more than underlying insecurities and jealousy. Just focus on yourself and what makes you happy this year.
  • Stop Procrastinating- we’re all guilty of this but at some point we just have to make certain things a priority and make time for them.
  • Start Journaling- keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing stress or anxiety. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve the problems and, in turn, reduce stress. Journaling also provides an opportunity for positive self-talk.
  • See a Therapist or Join a Support Group- there is nothing wrong with seeking help if you need it. Life’s full of challenges and a trained therapist can offer advice on how to handle them. A support group is an excellent reminder that you’re not alone. Members of a support group can talk about their experiences, share ideas and provide emotional support to one another.
  • Stop Being So Negative- no one wants to be around a Negative Nancy. It’s time to view the cup as half full! Here are some helpful tips on how to switch to positive thinking.

Technology

  • Stop Playing Farmville and Candy Crush- as well as any other addictive game that you aren’t benefiting from. Log your time to see how much you actually spend playing these games and then use that time to do something more productive.
  • Spend Less Time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest- try to start thinking about social networking as a way to keep in touch with people you don’t see often. If you’re spending more time on these sites than with people you do see everyday then it’s time to check out for a bit.
  • Actually Do Something or Cook Something Off Your Pinterest Boards- you’ve spent hours pinning to who knows how many boards, but how many recipes or projects have you actually completed? Pick some of your favorite recipes to cook or a few projects to complete for a more accomplished feeling than scrolling through the site for hours.
  • Watch Less TV- the average American watches 5 hours of TV a day, or 35 hours a week! Think of all the things you could do with this time. Surely, we could all fit 30 minutes of exercise somewhere in those 5 hours, no?
  • Put Your Phone Away After a Certain Time- spend time with your family or roommate in the evening. Talk, laugh and connect with each other again.
  • Stop Texting While Driving- too many lives have been taken as a result of this. Not only is it dangerous but it is also unnecessary.

Financial

  • Establish a Budget- this can help you organize your spending and savings which can prevent you from overspending and going too far into debt. In other words, it can help prevent stress. So take control of your money this year!
  • Look For a New Job- do you feel undervalued and underpaid at your current place of employment? If so, update your resume and start looking for a place that will see the value in you.
  • Focus More on Getting Out of Debt- debt can be a huge weight on your shoulders which causes stress, loss of sleep and the inability to live in the moment and enjoy the good things going on around you. There are many books, videos and classes on how to eliminate your debt. Develop a plan and be sure to stick to it!

Family and Support

  • Appreciate the People in Your Life More- and let them know! We often take those around us for granted but just letting them know how much you appreciate them once in awhile will help strengthen the relationship.
  • Reconnect With an Old Friend- life is busier now than it’s ever been and sometimes this causes people to drift apart. If you’re missing an old friend then reach out. I’m sure they’ll be happy to hear from you.
  • Have More Family Time- with everyone running in different directions it’s easy to forget about the importance of family bonding. Family dinners, game nights, bowling, hiking or going to a sporting event can all be fun ways to bring the family together.
  • Go on a Date- rekindle the romance in your relationship. Set and stick to date nights to keep things exciting and help remind you why you fell in love in the first place.
  • Get a Mentor- If you’re working towards a specific goal, find someone who has already achieved it and see what you can learn from them. Don’t be too shy or too proud to ask for advice. This is a big shortcut to getting what you want!

Personal Growth

  • Travel- traveling allows you the opportunity to relax and disconnect from your busy everyday life while creating valuable memories. Planning a vacation will give you something to look forward to during stressful times.
  • Learn A Language – this will help you converse with more people of different cultures while keeping your brain sharp. It’ll also make traveling to another country that speaks the language a lot easier!
  • Go Back To School- whether you’ve been thinking about a career change or are looking to further your education in your current field, there’s no better time than now!
  • Recycle More- trying to be a little greener this year? Check out Chicago’s recycling programs to help do your part.
  • Learn to Cook or Take a Cooking Class (also a great date night!)- it’s hard to cook and prepare healthy meals if you don’t know where to start! This is a great opportunity to try your hand at different ethnic cuisines as well. Check Groupon or Dabble Chicago for some great deals.
  • Find A New Hobby- don’t know where to start? The wonderful community of Wikipedia has made a long list for you here. If you see something that interests you, check Dabble to see if there are any upcoming classes in your area.
  • Read More- how many hours a week are you devoting to the latest Netflix series or scrolling through facebook? Reading has been linked to stress reduction, memory improvement, stronger analytical thinking skills and improved focus and concentration among other things. These are just a few good reasons to pick up a book or your favorite E-reader.
  • Volunteer- according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, “recent research established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.” That’s a good enough reason for me!

Remember, weight loss should be taken one step at a time to ensure lasting results. Slow progress is still progress and certainly better than no change at all!

At Olivera Weight Management we strive to help you achieve your weight loss goals.  We offer an Integrative Program, a Primary Program, Individualized Nutrition Consultations, Lose It (an 8-week program to kick-start your weight loss) as well as other services.  Please visit our website for more detailed information and  pricing.  You can also send us a message or call us today at 773-327-6624.