Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions, Make LIFESTYLE CHANGES!

The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that they are informal plans and changes that occur to us during the few days leading up to January 1st. They are hastily-fashioned good intentions with little or no planning, forethought, or ambition behind them.

There is nothing wrong with a heartfelt notion to make a change in your life and professing it to those within earshot, but what happens when you realize that your resolution is not something feasible in which you could keep steadfast? Is there a back-up plan? How do we figure that out? We find the solution by removing the problem!

Don’t worry. We are not recommending “giving up” or abandoning your quest for self-improvement and personal growth; we are recommending throwing New Year’s Resolutions out the window!

We have compiled some of the simplest tips to start changing your life around. Simplicity aside, these small changes to your daily regimen can have a lasting domino effect on your life, in general. Adding a little bit of movement here and cutting back a little there can have tremendous effects on your physique, mindset, and way of life.

Being fit and healthy, like all things in life, takes time. It’s not one giant leap from inactive and out-of-shape to fit, trim, and sinewy, it’s a hundred tiny steps. 360 Fitness would like to offer ideas for the initial steps to begin your journey to take your life back!:

Add some movement to your life!: If you have an active job and get your fair share of walking, great, but it’s time to ADD some movement to your life. Whether it be taking a moderately paced walked before you get your day started or taking an invigorating cardio class at 360 Fitness, get your butt moving! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week. We know you can find 30 minutes a day (in between watching television and other distractions) to walk the dog or take a trip to the gym to lift some weights and perform some cardio.

More protein, more fiber, less carbs: On average, the typical “diet” plan includes eating a ton of salad, fruit, granola, and other dieting staples. While these are all healthy choices, they are not the best choices to revolve a typical diet plan around. A great way to feel satiated while on a lower calorie diet, would be to place the emphasis on lean proteins (ex. tuna, fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef), high quality carbohydrates (brown rice, oats, potatoes, green veggies), and some healthy fats to round it out (ex. a handful of almonds, cashews, or a tablespoon of natural peanut butter or extra virgin olive oil). Having a more protein based diet will help ensure that you do not lose a fair amount of muscle when you are dieting (as is often the case with low calorie diets). The fiber from the veggies and the healthy fats will keep you satiated and help ensure your digestive system is running smoothly.

Cut the junk: Take the time to cook and package your meals AT HOME! When you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Don’t expect the “healthy” menu from Taco Bell or McDonald’s to help you with your dietary needs. The terms “lower calorie” and “low-fat” are often misleading. The menu items may be lower in calories than OTHER items on the same restaurant’s menu, and the term “low-fat” may signify that they added plenty of sugar to make up for the lack of flavor from the fattening agents. So, skip the drive-through on your lunch break, and take out the Tupperware of 4oz. of grilled chicken, ½ cup of brown rice, and ½ cup of squash that you packed last night.

Lift weights (Yes, women, too!): You will not “bulk up” or become overtly muscular unless you eat for that purpose. While on a caloric deficit, you will not “bulk up” or put on any unwanted muscle past the point your caloric level allows. While you will appear more muscular if you lift weights 2-3 times a weight with moderate to heavy weight, it will be more along the lines of the “toned” look. If you diet and perform cardio, you will shrink. You will have that squishy, skinny/fat look. Lifting weights will not only rev up your metabolism but also give you that sleek, athletic look that we all desire!

Relax!: Nothing can put a kink in your diet and workout regimen like stress! We all need to find some stress-relieving activities to keep us grounded and away from the doctor. Stress can have profound effects on health (both mental and physical, all negative). Try to find ways to relieve stress and relax! Stress-relief can come in the form of going for a walk around at the end of the day or waking up 10-15 minutes early so that you may snuggle with your spouse in bed before the day begins. Little stresses can compound and have a huge effect on your health and mental state. Try to find 10-15 minutes a day to just.... let it all go!

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