Guest blogger Cristin Dillon-Jones: Rather than start another diet this new year, start a new lifestyle. Fad diets don't work ... period! This year put your effort into making healthy changes that you can happily accept for the rest of your life.
• Do It for Your Health, Not Your Looks: Although losing weight and dropping a pant size is great, the real reason to exercise and eat healthy is to prevent the development of chronic disease. A healthful, balanced diet full of nutrients and antioxidants has been shown to prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers so even when the scale is not showing a lower number, stick with the lifestyle for what it's doing inside your body. Being healthy is a good example for your kids, and don't worry, the scales will usually show your good efforts in the end!
• Start Fresh: The best way to get started is to clean out all the junk from the house and replace it with healthy items. You can still have "treats" once in a while, but they should be kept out of the house so they don't tempt you to indulge too often. Save treats for when you are at a restaurant or special event. Make a new grocery list and stick with the list when you are at the store rather than buy on impulse.
• Start Small: It's great to have enthusiasm and go right after your goals, but sometimes it's easier to stick with change when it happens slowly. Start by making one change, adjusting to it for a month and then move forward with your next change. If you do it all at once, it may get overwhelming, so start small and move forward when the initial change has become habit.
• Be Realistic: If losing weight was easy, then 30% of people in the U.S. wouldn't be obese. It takes time to gain weight and it takes time to lose weight. It's unrealistic to think you can erase years of bad habits with just a couple months of good habits. A liquid or low calorie diet is not sustainable for life, but a diet full of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, beans, nuts and healthy oils is. And yes, you can have treats when you eat right majority of the time and keep the portions under control.
• Commit with a Friend or Family Member: Having support when you make a change in your life is always helpful. Committing yourself to a new lifestyle is a lot easier when you do it with someone you are close to. Two people can share tips and ideas. They can also answer each other's questions or simply offer encouragement when it's needed. Keep reminding your buddy to stick with the lifestyle change so they can live a longer, healthier life!