Friday, December 31, 2010
5 Tips to Lose Weight in the New YearThe holidays are over, and we’re all a little fatter for it. Throughout the month of December, I ate and drank more carbohydrates and empty calories than during any other month of the previous year. The closer Christmas loomed, the looser my dieting rules became.
One week, I ate sandwich cookies. Oh, the shame.
And many of you probably did the same. So the press is on to work out and lose weight. It’s only a few months until spring and all that it entails (namely: bathing suits). Tick-tock, tick-tock.
So here are five tips to lose weight in the new year:
1. Set a fun fitness goal. Your fitness goal might not even entail losing weight, but doing something active that would get you into shape. For example, if you set a goal of skiing every weekend this winter, or practicing to run a marathon in the spring, it would provide you with something fun to do that will get you into shape, rather than an onerous weight-loss goal. And it’s more fun to get out and do something than it is to sit in a gym counting reps over… and over… and over… After a year of that, I was bored stiff until I discovered boxing.
2. Fix your eating habits. Toss the holiday cookies. They’re stale anyway. Quit eating a 12-ounce steak with big scoops of mashed potatoes and mac and cheese for dinner. Eat whole-grain breads and cereals. Stop eating canned and processed foods. Eat small meals (a few hundred calories) every few hours, rather than enormous meals three times per day and a bunch of junky snacks in between. You can track your calories with our calorie counter.
3. Do cardiovascular exercise. A rough estimate of your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. A more accurate maximum heart rate can be determined by a doctor with a stress test (and that is the suggested way of doing it – you should talk to a doctor before starting any exercise program). So do a challenging activity (running, hiking, climbing, boxing, fast swimming, ice skating, jumping rope) for a sustained time (15 to 45 minutes at least every other day) that raises your heart rate to 80% or so of maximum. Do cardio for three months and see how much better you look.
4. Stop drinking empty calories. This includes soda, beer, cocktails, diet soda, sugary fruit drinks, Snapple, all of it. It all contains sugar, empty carbs, or things that will keep you craving sugar. Drink coffee or tea without sugar, water, or seltzer. Also beware of sports drinks, which also have sugar. Unless you’re in the middle of playing a strenuous sport, odds are you don’t need to be drinking a Gatorade.
5. Find activity partners. Get your friends or significant others to work out with you. It can be easier to stay focused if you’re active with people of a similar skill level. If you run 11-minute miles, find a running partner who runs 11-minute miles. Or: Find an instructor you like to teach you a sport that you enjoy, or have always wanted to try.