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A discouragingly few people actually achieve the goals they set for the New Year. It’s even sadder because the top resolution is to lose weight and thus be healthier. Almost half of Americans set an objective but only 8 percent complete it.
Don’t set a deadline but set a goal to just be healthier. “Small changes really make a big difference in changing your eating habits” in the long-run, says Dr. Lisa R. Young, Ph.D. R.D., C.D.N., a nationally recognized nutritionist and an adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University.
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Never go “cold turkey” with your diet or exercising. You risk injuries, burnout and stress (and that can cause weight gain). “If you lose 20 pounds fast, you will gain 10 back, I guarantee it,” Dr. Young says. If you’ve never been on a diet, or they never worked for you, you can start with one small change. “If I have to say one thing, that would be watching your portions,” Dr. Young adds. That is not to say that you should keep eating a lot of French fried but try and be conscious of them.
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Think of it as a part-time job – minus the long hours – and you get paid by saving money from doctor’s visits and high blood pressure pills.
Nancy Rowe, 20-year ultra-marathoner and VP at Milestone Sports, says ultra-training is like a pert-time job her, and she treats it as such. “Keep on schedule, take it seriously, do my best and take pride in a job well done.” The key is to be realistic about what you can do based on your schedule. “When your schedule is hectic, plan shorter workouts,” Rowe says. “Block off a certain amount of time each day when you know you’ll be able to commit to the workout, and don’t commit to workouts you know you won’t be able to complete.”
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Realistically, according to Carlton Meadows, a top American fitness professional and expert, co-founder of Majestic Balance, and 2016 Olympics hopeful, you can lose 22 pounds in 30 days. “I’ve done it,” he says. But it all depends on how appropriate your program is for you. “It’s a matter of nutrition, sleep, rest between gym visits and workout sessions.” The key is to accept your body as is and work from there.
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Gym owners and executives say the best time to save money when joining a gym is to do it in December. That’s when they offer promotions. You can save more money if you sign a longer membership contract, which you can use as motivation to keep going. After all, you’re paying for it. Also, running a fitness establishment is a business that wants to make a profit. Each company has goal and December is when they offer discounts to meet their numbers.
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Start slowly now and you’ll have plenty of time to make it a habit in an environment that’s comfortable for you, according to Meadows. “You’re in control.” You get more exposed to exercising and become more conscious of what food you’re consuming. Before you know it, it’s Christmas and New Year’s but your first concern is – quite naturally – not eating those delicious appetizers because your host made them.
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When the number of people going to the gym quadruples in January, you feel more pressure because more people are pursuing the same goal. That can be intimidating. Your competitive switch lights on and then you decide to seven days a week to the gym. This way you are risking “exercise induced illness,” Meadows warns. “You feel beat up and a chronic pain sets in,” he adds. “Working out too hard keep body fat low suppresses the immune system.”
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It turns out that you can have it all if that is enjoying food during Christmas and New Year’s and not later see it on your waistline. “Your metabolism increases when you have food,” Meadows says. Training helps you build muscle which also boosts breakdown of calories to obtain energy. So what you should start doing now is eating smaller portions but more frequently and working out using with resistance.
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Losing weight is not easy and, experts agree, that there is no easy way to dropping a few pound and keeping them off, at least certainly not in the long run. Start now and by the time everyone joins the gym in a month, you’ll have a visual confirmation of your progress. That puts you in a comfortable position of continuing the good habit. Seeing the progress made over time is a great motivation to keep going, Nancy Rowe, says.
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There is no such thing as a “perfect time” to change your lifestyle to a healthy one. Your body doesn’t know what day it is; it only knows what you’re exposing it to – food, drinks, exercise. It tolerates you until it can’t anymore. But by the time you get the message, some damage can be irreversible.
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Nancy Rowe has 20 years of experience in running ultra-marathon but she has hired a running coach for the first time. “He lives in Boulder and so our relationship is primarily email but I love the accountability and getting ‘gold stars’ for completing my weekly training schedule. I have never met him in person but I am motivated to make him proud.” Make yourself or someone close to you proud.