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Weight Loss Resolution? No Way!

Resolve to Change Your Habits
  -- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietician
Do yourself a favor this year…Do NOT resolve to lose weight.

Instead, pick two or three habits (encourage healthy eating and improved fitness) that could easily result in weight loss. Don’t know what to focus on? Well you have just enough time to find out. For the next week, faithfully use the Sparkpeople Food and Activity Tracker. Record the following:
Once you have finished your record keeping, it is time to analyze the data. Hopefully you will make some startling discoveries about yourself and be ready to make some really informed decisions regarding the changes you will make in 2007.

Analysis #1: Do you meet your nutritional needs? Sparkstep: Including a variety of foods in your diet daily will provide your body with the numerous benefits of over 50 different nutrients. Keeping your body energized and strong will help you to stay motivated and encouraged. For many, using the Food Tracker on a daily basis and sticking to a calorie goal is extremely beneficial to weight loss.

Analysis #2: How are your foods prepared? Sparkstep: Overloading your body on these types of food can add unwanted fat, cholesterol, salt, sugar, and calories to your diet. Some small changes in this area can benefit not only your weight but also help lower the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure. 

Analysis #3: What beverage choices are you making?

Sparkstep: Keeping your body hydrated is key to your health. Try to drink 8-12 cups of water daily. 100% juice does contain some nutritional benefits, but the fiber has been removed, therefore, limit yourself to 1/2 Cup daily. Sweetened juice drinks, punches, fruit cocktails are loaded with sugar and unwanted calories, so avoid these whenever possible. Coffee, tea, and diet beverages are not the best sources of fluid for the body and should be used in moderation. Limit these to 1-2 choices daily. <pagebreak>

Analysis #4: What activities are you doing while you eat?
Sparkstep: Doing another activity while eating can be a problem for many. When you become engrossed in the other activity you may lose track of how much you are eating. Calories count whether you are standing, lying in bed, or in front of the sink. Try to make eating a deliberate event, focus on the taste and mouth-feel of each bite, and enjoy every morsel.

Analysis #5: How quickly (or slowly) do you eat your meals?
Sparkstep: It takes about 20 minutes between the time you eat and the time your brain gets the signal that you are full. If you eat very quickly, it is easy to overeat, especially if you are with slower eaters and you continue to nibble until they are finished. If you eat most of your meals in 20 minutes or less, this could be a problem for you. Try to slow down. Chew more slowly. Take a drink of water between bites. Put your fork or spoon down between bites. <pagebreak>

Analysis #6: What is your mood before, during, and after eating? Sparkstep: For some people, certain feelings can lead to eating and overeating in the absence of hunger. When eating is triggered by an emotion, it is usually unplanned and frequently uncontrolled. And that means you can add a lot of extra calories to your food intake for the day. Try to determine if feelings trigger you to eat. If so develop a plan. Can you avoid the situation, go for a walk, paint your nails, take up a hobby, do a craft, or take a bath? Have an idea list ready and posted at all times.

Analysis #7: What Meal Patterns do you notice?
Sparkstep: It is important to distribute your calories throughout the day to stay nourished. Studies actually have found that you lose weight faster when calories are distributed throughout the day. By planning eating times throughout the day, you are less likely to get hungry and less likely to go on an eating binge. Try to have 3 smaller meals and 1-2 mini-snacks daily.

Analysis #8: How many minutes of Physical activity do you get each week?
Sparkstep: Physical activity can help you to lose weight by burning additional calories. It helps you to tone your body and lose inches. Exercise also raises your metabolism so you burn more calories even when you are at rest. Find out where you currently are with your fitness routine and build from there. The goal is to include 30 minutes of exercise at least 4 day each week.

Resolve to Make Realistic Resolutions
Now select the two or three  items you want to improve this year and write a "realistic resolution" for each. Be as specific as possible and make sure your resolution can be measured and tracked.
Happy New Year!