With the results of holiday treats and celebrations possibly starting to show on the scale, committing to a New Year’s resolution to improve your health and fitness is a fabulous idea. That being said, we all know good intentions made on January 1 often fall short. In fact, one in 10 people who resolve to improve their health in the New Year fail to do so. If there’s one thing we know about Portlanders, it’s that we don’t get discouraged. By making a health and fitness plan with your doctor today, you greatly increase your odds of meeting your goals and sticking with them in the long term. To get on the right path for the New Year, here are four tips for putting together a success plan for a healthier 2016:
Be realistic. After indulging in treats from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, you may be tempted to begin a strict diet of fruits and vegetables, or a juice fast. While these types of plans can offer a great kick-start, consider a less stringent plan that improves your eating habits gradually. Strive for progress, not perfection. For example, if you’re eating dessert every night, cut it down to one serving, once a week, and swap some of your midday treats for fresh fruits or veggies. The same is true for fitness. It’s unlikely that you will develop a six-pack or lose 30 pounds in just a few weeks. Consider committing to a 30-minute walk each day during your lunch break, or attending a barre fitness class twice a week.
Be specific. You know you want to be “fit” and “in better shape,” but what does success look like for you? What is your specific goal? Whether it’s fitting into your favorite jeans or training for an upcoming race along Portland’s waterfront, set a clear and attainable goal and write it down. Then, make sure you regularly check your progress and celebrate your successes at each step (but not with a cupcake, mind you).
Focus on the details. Little changes can add up to big results in the long term. Remember these details when organizing your fitness plan: – The recommended daily water consumption is eight glasses. On days when you’re exercising, try for at least 10. Swap out some of your diet sodas or afternoon cups of coffee for clean, clear H2O. – If your job requires a lot of sitting, ask the operations team at your office about a standing desk. Incorporate an app like 7-Minute Workout or Daily Workouts into your routine each day. – Track your steps. With a wearable like Fitbit or by using a pedometer on your smartphone such as MapMyWalk, you can hold yourself accountable to your daily activity. Accountability is powerful. You might find yourself parking in the farthest spot at the grocery store just to get those steps in! – Eliminate one sugary snack every day to cut 100-200 extra calories out of your diet.
Find a buddy. Talk to family, friends and co-workers about your goals and ask them to hold you responsible. When a colleague brings treats to the office, you’ll find yourself more likely to resist when you know you aren’t alone. For around-the-clock support, check out an app like My Fitness Pal, where you can log your daily food and exercise. Once you’ve made your plan, show your doctor at your next appointment and use it as a tool for the discussion. At The Portland Clinic, our health experts want to help our patients avoid the New Year’s slump and enjoy a happier, healthier 2016. Doctors and providers are available to offer tips and advice on how to develop a New Year’s resolution that is right for you. Lastly, have confidence. You’ve got this!