Thursday, December 27, 2012

Making your New Year's Resolution Stick


Let’s face it, New Year’s Resolutions aren’t hard to make, they’re hard to keep. In fact, 50% of Americans make NYRs and 78% of them fail according to a 2008 study on adherence conducted by psychologist Richard Wiseman. So what can you do to make sure you are in the 22% of people who achieve their New Year’s Resolution? Follow these 7 steps to ensure a successful healthy goal.



1. Set a goal. According to Psychology Today, if you make a specific resolution, you are 10 times more likely to succeed the desired outcome. So write your resolution down in detailed terms. (ex: I will lose 15 pounds by June 1st. I will quit smoking using the patch by March 15th, I will eat two fruits and four servings of vegetables every day.)

2. Be reasonable. Just as important as setting your goal is making sure that your goal possible and something that you want to achieve. If eating more fruits and veggies does not appeal to you on any level do not make it your resolution to eat more fruits and veggies just because you know it’s good for you. If you want to lose weight, remember that you can only safely lose 1-2 pounds per week, so don’t make your goal to lose 100 pounds by February 2013. Setting unrealistic goals like this will just ensure another failed NYR. Find something you can be passionate about and stick to and go for it.

3. Have a game plan. Sure, you have your ultimate end-game goal, but knowing how you’re going to get there is super important. Think baby steps. If your resolution is to lose those extra 30 pounds, aim for 1-2 pounds of weight loss a week until you reach your goal. Or if you want to get 8 hours of sleep a night, you could back up your bed time by 10 minutes every couple of days until you are snoozing for 8 hours.

4. Tell the world. This is an important step in the road to NYR victory. Tell your friends, co-workers, family, even the cashier at the grocery store that you are vowing to quit smoking, lose 10 pounds, or get to the gym 4 days a week. When your will wanes, the peer pressure that you’ve created for yourself will help you keep on track.

5. Be positive. Ever heard of the Little Engine that Could? With her mantra of “I think I can, I think I can I think I can..” she accomplished her goals. Even though the mountain was steep and took a lot of hard work, she kept positive with her eye on the prize.

6. Become a journalist. No, not the kind that goes out and gets “the scoop,” but the kind that writes everything about your progress in a journal or on your phone or wherever. Studies show that people who keep a running tab on their progress are 50% more likely to succeed at their goal than those who do not. It doesn’t have to take much time…just a sentence or two each day (that’s like 15 seconds of your time). For example: I went to the gym today, lifted weights for 25 minutes and ran for 30 minutes on the treadmill. Weight today: 175…I’ve lost 2 more pounds!

7. Don’t be your own worst enemy. Many times, people fall off the NYR bandwagon because they experience a set back. Maybe they missed a session with their trainer, had a cigarette at a party or ate half a pan of brownies. No matter what your goal is, you will experience a relapse from time to time. Write it down in your journal and then move on. No beating yourself up…just get back on track.

Remember, your NYR should be flexible. If you start working on a goal and find that there might be a better goal or better way to achieve your goal, don’t quit, just change it.

Happy resolution making!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sip on this...

With the holidays in full swing, we often find ourselves surrounded by not only tasty food choices but fun drink options. It’s a fantastic time of year, right? But all the eggnog and chocolate martinis can undo weeks and even months of eating salads, veggies, lean protein and hard work at the gym. So here’s a list of some of the most calorie-laden drinks and, of course, some good options if you plan to toast the night away. Please note that the drinks listed are frequently served at a higher volume than the suggested servings, so watch your portion size.


Sip this…Champagne (100 calories per 5 oz)
Spit out that…Eggnog (214 calories per 5 oz)

Sip this…Bloody Mary (125 calories per 5 oz)
Spit out that…Martini (306 calories per 5 oz)

Sip on this…Kailua and coffee (150 calories per 5 oz)
Spit out that…Chocolate Martini (376 calories per 5 oz)

Sip on this…Light beer (56-100 calories per 12 oz)
Spit out that…regular beer (150-200 calories per 12 oz)

Sip on this…wine (100 calories per 5 oz)
Spit out that…amaretto sour (350 calories per 5 oz)

And what about mixers? Well here’s the deal: a mixer can double (or triple) your calories pretty darn fast. A 1.5 oz shot (jigger) of distilled liquor such as vodka, gin or rum contains about 100 calories. Add that to 12 oz of your favorite soda and you’ve just make that little shot into a 250 calorie drink. Think tonic water and juice is safe? Think again; 124 calories per 12 oz of tonic water and about 200 per 12 oz pour for your favorite juice. Yikes! So what’s a party person to do? Use diet sodas, diet tonic water and club soda as mixers.

Other sneaky ways to have a good time without breaking the calorie bank with beverages:
  • Start with two large glasses of water before you sip even one alcoholic drink. This will cause you to drink slowly since you are no longer thirsty and your stomach is fuller
  • Drink one-on-one: before you grab another glass of wine, drink a glass of water. Keep alternating your favorite drink with water and you will drink less and stay hydrated
  • Give your friends a ride. Offer to drive friends to and from the party...sober. How easy is that…no calories from alcohol! Just be careful not to drink other calorie heavy drinks. Stick to diet soda and water.

Did you eat or drink too much at that last holiday party or friendly get together at your favorite bar? No problem. Get to the gym and get back on track with your healthy eating. Too busy to go to the gym? Again, no problem, there are ways to burn extra calories during holiday and New Year’s celebrating. Check out how many calories you can burn doing the following typical holiday activities for 60 minutes*:

  • Dancing the night away: 300 calories
  • Cleaning house before guests arrive: 205 calories
  • Shoveling snow off your driveway/sidewalk or raking leftover leaves: 409 calories
  • Shopping for the perfect gifts: 175 calories
  • Ice Skating: 477 calories
  • Helping kiddos play with their new toys: 225 calories

All of these activities are great because they work the entire body AND are things you might have been planning to do anyway! So lend a hand doing the dishes, helping with a neighbor's yard or  playing with your nieces and nephews and become healthier and happier as a result!

*calorie burn is based on a 150 lb person

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Party Survival Guide

Welcome to December, or as I lovingly call it, The Weight Gain Month. We just made it through candy-filled Halloween and the feast we call Thanksgiving and are looking forward to Hanukah, Christmas, New Years and so on which are all also accompanied by excessive amounts of food. The holiday parties that consume the last part of December can cause some of the biggest diet traps of the season. But not to worry, you don’t have to finish out 2012 with a belly Santa of which would be proud. Here’s the holiday party diet survival plan:

  1. Don’t go hungry. A great tactic to ensure that you won’t over eat parties is to not go to them hungry. Eat a light but satisfying snack before you go. A half turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, veggies and hummus or a protein shake should do the trick.
  2. Bring the veggies. Make sure that there is something at the party to fill up your plate that is filling and calorie-safe. If you are hosting or helping fill out a spread at a gathering, fill it with veggies and hummus. That way, you can fill up on peppers/carrots/zucchini/etc. so you don’t go overboard on the cookies and such.
  3. Take a step back. You see that delicious food on the seasonally decorated table and want to make a bee line for the buffet. Go for it, but once you’ve gone through the line once, plant yourself out of arms reach of the goodies and better yet, keep your back to the food table. With this little trick, you are less likely to snack absent-mindedly.
  4. Exercise portion control. Holiday parties should not be viewed as all you can eat binges. Fill up on fresh veggies, fruits and a small amount your other favorite treats…”favorite” being the key word here. Don’t waste precious calories on food that you don’t love. Pick out your favorites and savor slowly.
  5. Drink and be Merry. If you decide to have a cocktail or two at your next holiday bash, choose champagne (120 calories in a 7 oz flute) or wine (100 calories for a 4 oz glass) over chocolate martinis (315 calories for a 7 oz drink) and eggnog (343 calories in 8 oz).
  6. Skip the hangover. Schedule a sweat session with a friend (who you know wont bail on you) for early the morning after parties. This is make you think about how much you are drinking, plus you are burning calories from your “favorite” treats that you indulged in AND zapping fatigue and holiday stress all at once.

Armed with these tips, you are ready to go to holiday parties, family get togethers, cookie exchanges and wherever else the next few weeks take you. Remember, it’s okay to indulge every once in a while, just don’t make it a habit.