Make 2013 a Healthy Year

By Sara Scheler

January 16, 2013

Is “eat healthier” or “lose weight” part of your New Year’s resolution? Now that the holidays are over it is time to buckle down and commit. However, you want to make sure your resolution will last past the end of January.

Extreme goals like cutting out all junk food are not very realistic and usually unsuccessful. Going “cold turkey” is very difficult and extreme diet changes can be quite stressful. Instead, focus on a few things you can work on to slowly form healthier eating habits that will last throughout the year.

1)   Snack less. Snacking is a dangerous habit and it is very easy to consume a large quantity of calories when you are not paying attention. Sit down at a table to eat your meals rather than eating in front of your TV or computer. Establish a set time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in between classes, studying and work. Irregular meal times cause your blood sugar to spike and drop, making it difficult to last until your next meal. If you eat three regular meals a day you are less likely to require snacks in between.

2)   Exercise more. You don’t have to run four miles to get exercise. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of driving and spend time outside and being active whenever you have the chance. Simple exercises like lifting weights, push-ups and yoga build muscle if done regularly. Muscle cells use more energy than fat cells, so if you increase your muscle density you will burn calories more quickly.

3)   Limit your sweets. The less sugar you eat, the less you will crave it. Sweet treats are often loaded with fat and calories. Keep track of how many sweets you eat each day and limit yourself to one serving per day. Choose to have dessert after lunch or dinner but not both. If you are craving something sweet, grab a piece of fruit instead.

4)   Drink more water. Giving up soda or juice will dramatically decrease your calorie consumption and may help you lose weight. It is initially very difficult to give up sugary drinks but start by replacing one drink a day with water and work your way up as you are ready.

New Year’s resolutions are notoriously easy to break and hard to follow but if you set realistic expectations for yourself and work your way up to your goal, you will have a greater chance of success.