According to data from a recent Nielsen survey, losing weight continues to be one of the top New Year’s resolution; unfortunately many give up along the way. Whether because of lack of time, lack of a plan, or simply stress, there are so many reasons for not sticking with that goal. I hope the following tips will help you succeed:
- Make exercise a habit: Exercise will not only help burn calories—it will lift your confidence. I can assure you that when your self-esteem is high, you are more motivated to keep your fitness goals. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise. Let’s aim for a starting goal of 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Find easy and enjoyable activities that fit your personality; perhaps dancing (bachata, merengue or hip hop), walking at the park with a friend, or practicing Zumba.
- Go easy: Concentrate on small and realistic goals that are achievable. For instance, instead of targeting 20 pounds of weight loss in a year, plan to lose one or twopounds per week. Don’t try to eliminate all your favorite treats. Allow yourself one or two indulgences a week. By making small gains, you will build the confidence needed to make your resolution a reality.
- Make rest a priority. When we sleep soundly, we feel refreshed, invigorated, and ready to take on any challenge. Research shows that sufficient sleep plays an important role in weight management. Studies have revealed that sleep deprivation can alter certain hormones, such as ghrelin, which is known to increase cravings for carbohydrate foods
- Choose fiber. Epidemiological studies have shown that fiber-containing foods may help combat obesity. There are so many reasons to incorporate this usually forgotten nutrient in our diets. Fiberous foods require more chewing, have less calories, aid with digestion, and help us feel satisfied. For breakfast, have an oatmeal with apples; enjoy chili with beans at lunch; and finish with a delicious quinoa dish or barley salad for dinner.
- Disconnect at times. Studies have indicated that there is a link between long periods of time spent in front of TV, computer and other devices and weight gain. Resolve to get moving throughout the day! For instance: try to spend less than two hours in front of the TV a day. And instead, take your pet for a walk, go bicycling with your kids or do some gardening.
- Practice moderation: as a registered dietitian, I am always encouraging my patients to enjoy a variety of foods without restricting themselves. This is where portion control allows one to enjoy one’s favorite food and drinks. For example: if you like soda, choose a mini soda can with only 90 calories.
With these tips, I hope you will be able to achieve your goals for 2016. And don’t forget to be kind and patient to yourself. As they say, Rome was not built in one day; it may take several attempts to get in tune with your new routine, but you’ll get there.
Ximena Jiménez, MS, RD, LD
About Ximena Jimenez
Ximena Jimenez is a licensed and registered dietitian. She is currently a National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Past Legislative Chairperson of the Miami Dietetic Association and Florida Dietetic Association Public Relations Team member. Ximena holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition, and a Master’s Degree in Communications from Florida International University. She is a consultant for the Coca-Cola Company and provides practical nutrition information on behalf of the Company.