Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Year: New Changes and New Resolutions

It's that time of year again. The time of year we make resolutions that we follow for a few weeks and then discard them like Brad discarded Jen. A 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning.

Here are some of my hints to make this years most popular resolutions to come true instead of a fleeting desire: 

Resolution #1- Lose Weight: According to the Mayo Clinic "cutting calories through dietary changes seems to promote weight loss more effectively than does exercise and physical activity. But physical activity also is important in weight control." Therefore, before you try and exercise that weight off, it's most important to consider what you're eating. 

The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).

For most people, it's probably too difficult to eliminate the amount of calories through exercise that you could through dieting. That's why cutting calories through dieting is generally more effective for weight loss. 

First way to cut calories is through portion control. Drink a glass of water before every meal, oftentimes our bodies confuse thirst for hunger. Try cutting what you would usually eat in half before you eat and put it away in the fridge. Eat your half portion and only return to the secondary portion after a half hour when your stomach has caught up processing what you have just ate. 

Second way to cut calories, is trying to remove processed foods from your diet. Processed food takes less energy to digest and absorb compared to whole foods, so 100 calories of processed food ends up being more net calories than 100 calories of whole food. Processed foods can cause weight gain in adults and are often high in trans fats, sodium, simple or easy to digest carbohydrates and calories while being low in nutritional content.  If you want to maintain your weight, a sensible diet low in processed foods will help you keep your goal. Eating foods high in fiber, such as beans, fruits and vegetables will keep you full longer. Steel-cut oats, barley and millet, fruits such as apples and raspberries and vegetables like artichokes, peas and broccoli are all healthy choices that are high in fiber. Adding more of these healthy, lean foods into your diet will prevent you from overfilling on processed, high-calorie foods. Also, remember to eat complex carbohydrates like whole grains and quinoa. 

Resolution #2- Exercise More.  It's very important to get regular exercise whether you are thin or not. Regular exercise no matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls. Ways to motivate yourself to exercise more? 

Get an exercise buddy or personal trainer: According to an article in the UK's The Telegraph exercising with a friend is better than going to the gym alone because the competition helps people lose weight. Friends and personal trainers also make you accountable for working out. Making plans, requires scheduling and compromise, and it often takes much more effort to cancel working out with these people than just going. This increases your chance of working out even when "you don't feel like it" exponentially. 

Chart your progress: Whether it's with a high-tech online tracker or an old-school fitness journal, seeing incremental improvements, whether it's improved time, increased reps, or greater frequency of workouts, can boost your exercise motivation.

Set a regular time: Some of the most committed exercisers do it every day before the sun comes up or late at night when the kids are in bed. Sit down with your weekly schedule and try to build in an hour each day to be good to your body. If you convince yourself you’ll fit in a workout some time after that last meeting, once Real Housewives is over or when your boyfriend arrives home on time, failure is certain. Chances are a last-minute invitation will come along; weather will foil a bike ride; or the kids won’t nap. Write your workout on your calendar, set up daycare, and rearrange things around this one hour as if were any other important appointment you have to keep. Or use technology like daily e-mail reminders, workout journaling websites or iPhone applications to keep you on task.

Resolution #3- Get Organized: A new year is a good time to get rid of that extra junk lying around your house. Americans today have a huge problem with accumulating "stuff", things that we don't use or need but keep anyway. Before the 1960's, there was no such thing as a storage unit. Lauderdale Storage in Fort Lauderdale, FL was founded in 1958 by the Collum family, making it one of the first ever self-storage facilities in the United States. Modern storage facilities grew slowly through the 90s, at which time demand outpaced supply and caused a rush of new self storage developments. From 2000 to 2005, over 3,000 new facilities were built every year. My aunt, Susan Borax is a professional organizer and cowrote the book "Good Riddance: Showing Clutter the Door".   My recommendation to get organized is to buy her book.  It can be purchased by clicking the title above or on 

Good Riddance: Showing Clutter the Door is a reality check and must-read for self-described packrats – and those in denial – on the issue of household accumulation. Authors and professional organizers Susan Borax and Heather Knittel refer to this phenomenon as CRUD – Completely Ridiculous Useless Debris. These are your 101 least favorite things you hope Godzilla will obliterate by stepping through your roof on his way to crushing a packed movie theatre. It’s the stuff you ignore, forget, hide, pile up or lose. Using humour and brutally honest advice, Borax and Knittel dissect every room in the house and tackle the most common CRUD problems they’ve encountered. Instead of cringing, the reader will laugh her way to a clutter-free existence in less time than it would take to alphabetize her CDs, spend her tax refund or get her husband to replace a leaky showerhead. The book supplies a dose of comic relief for those struggling with life-long co-dependent relationships with their possessions. Here’s a guide that examines, elucidates and offers practical solutions for fighting the battle against clutter.

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