Planning to lose weight in the new year? How many times have you made this resolution? Chances are, along with millions of others, it won’t be the first time. That’s not a bad thing. The more times you recommit the better your odds of succeeding. Ignore the resolution naysayers. The New Year is a great time to reset your health goals, and you don’t have to be like the majority who stick with healthy eating and exercise for a few weeks and then return to old habits.
Here’s how you can make your resolution motivation stick:
In working with more than 12,000 patients over the last decade, I’ve discovered many weight-loss strategies that do work. Use these five weight-loss secrets so that this year can have lasting weight-loss success.
1. Eat Every 3 Hours: Eating at regular intervals is an essential part of every successful weight-loss plan. We know that long periods of not eating triggers the highs and lows of insulin levels that cause cravings and energy highs and lows. Going for long periods without foods is a surefire way to set you up for overeating—especially in the evenings. Pace yourself and plan to have a meal or a snack every few hours. It also helps to consume the majority of your calories earlier, and to stop eating for the day by 6 pm. (1)
2. Go for Your Gut: The way you treat your digestive system will set the stage for healthy eating. Digestive symptoms caused by refined sugary and carb-heavy foods can cause reflux, constipation, abdominal pain and bloating. Do a morning smoothie detox for your first week back to healthy eating to jumpstart your digestion and get those excess pounds moving. You cannot lose weight with an unhealthy gut regardless of how much you diet or exercise. Add probiotics and digestive enzymes at meal times to your daily regimen and look for foods that may be affecting your digestive process. (2)
3. Relax to Lose Weight: Easier said than done, I know, but now that the holidays are winding down it’s time to focus on calming strategies for weight-loss. Extreme and chronic tension disrupts the stress hormone cortisol, which then affects the other hormone for weight-loss, insulin. Devote at least 20-minutes per day to calming your nervous system down using meditation, journaling, drawing or just laughing. Schedule down time to create some boundaries between the stressors, preventing your stress hormones from becoming erratic. (3)
4. Exercise Right for Your Type: Exercise is important, but extreme exercise is counterproductive. The first step to creating a fitness plan that will work for you is to know your unique chemical and physical make-up (take this quiz to find out your power type and how to exercise for weight-loss). Balance your body’s need for burning calories with its need for rest. Increasing your heart rate helps burn body fat, but not at the expense of injuries. Aim for 45-minutes of exercise that forces your heart rate to vary above your resting heart rate by at least 20 beats per minute. Include two stress lowering workouts each week like yoga, swimming or Pilates.
5. Avoid Alcohol: Many of my patients never realize how many calories they are consuming through alcohol, which is ultimately just more sugar. Plus, adult beverages can loosen your lips, allowing in more unwanted calories. Skip the night cap during the week, drink water or club soda, and save the alcohol for the weekend! Once my patients are able to follow this, the weight often disappears.