It’s the end of
January and most people’s New Year resolutions have already failed dismally – again!
If your New Year’s resolution was to lose weight, don’t despair; it does not
have to be stressful or complicated! The secret to success is taking one small
step at a time. A few simple changes could make a big difference – over the
We tend to forget that habits (both good and bad) are formed over years, and can’t expect to make a dozen changes in just a few weeks. According to
experts, changing or forming a new habit takes at least 30 days and
re-affirming the new habit requires another 30 days. The best way to achieve
your goal is to break it down into small parts.
One reason small
changes to habits work is because you build success quickly, experts say. Each
time you follow through on a small habit, you build your confidence and feel
more in control. As one habit becomes routine, you can add another small one
to it. And soon those small habits turn into a big lifestyle change that you
can be really proud of.
Here are four simple changes you could try – one at a time. This way you won't feel overwhelmed. With time, these changes will not only improve your
health; they will also help to melt away the extra kilos.
Eat more fruit and vegetables. If
you’ve never liked fruit and vegetables much, you can’t expect to start
munching away on these foods all day long, forgetting about the existence
of the less healthy snacks overnight. Start your new habit by eating one piece of
fruit for breakfast and including at least one vegetable for lunch or dinner. Visit
your nearest fresh produce market and choose a few brightly coloured fruits and
veggies. Not everyone likes all fruit and vegetables, but by experimenting you
are bound to find something you like. Gradually increase your portions per day, until you reach your 5-a-day requirement. Popular fruits to try are: strawberries,
watermelon, bananas, apples, grapes, pineapple and sweet melon. When it comes to veggies, easy pleasers
include carrots, baby tomatoes, cucumber, peas, sweet potato and mealies.
Stop drinking kilojoules. Fizzy
drinks, sweetened tea and coffee, alcohol and even fruit juice are high in
kilojoules – liquid kilojoules. Yes, even “healthy” fruit juice can be a
kilojoule trap. Instead of drinking orange juice, for example, rather eat the fruit. The fresh orange will not only give you more nutrients, it will also fill
you up more because of the fibre content. Many
cups of sweetened coffee and tea, as well as alcohol contain lots of sugar
which significantly adds to your daily kilojoule/energy intake. Rather fill up
on water. Water is the perfect kilojoule-free weight-loss drink, while keeping your
body hydrated and functioning in top form.
Plan your meals and remember to pack
healthy snacks for work. If you plan in advance, you will be less tempted to
buy quick kilojoule-laden fixes at the vending machine or corner shop. Opt for whole grains, low-fat protein, nuts, seeds, fruit and veg. Regular
healthy snacks will also help to keep the hunger pangs at bay and make fatty,
sugar snacks less appealing. Best of all, packing your own food will help you save money!
Get daily exercise. If you
haven’t exercised for a while, start with just 10 minutes a day. It can be a brisk
walk around the block, only taking the stairs at work, doing jumping jacks or
rediscovering the fun of a skipping rope at home. Whatever you choose, make
sure it’s a fun activity that you are willing to do once every day – whether morning, noon or night. Ten minutes of exercise might not sound like much, but
it is far easier to achieve than attempting one-hour gym sessions from day one.
Exercise helps to burn kilojoules, tone your body and up your energy levels. Soon
you will feel more confident – and ready to increase your daily activity with five-minute
additions until you can do 30 minutes a day comfortably.
These are just four suggestions. There are many more simple ideas, such as
eating breakfast every day, cutting your salt intake and avoiding fatty, fried foods. Will
they take you from overweight to slim and sexy in a month? No, of course not! But
these small changes will all act as building blocks to gradual and sustainable
changes, leading to permanent weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.