Making New Year's resolutions is simple. Almost too easy. Sticking to them is tough, often overwhelmingly so – especially when the plans relate to the big stuff, like losing weight and improving our health which they most likely will, since the average Aussie puts on more than a kilo over Christmas.
But there is help at hand, with Ms Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. Nutritionist and Vice President of Nutrition and Education at Atkins Nutritionals Inc. sharing her 10 best tips to help you stick to, and achieve, your health and weight loss related resolutions this silly season.
The rest, as they say, is up to you.
Make sure your goal is realistic – and achievable
Going cold turkey without a plan, or setting a mammoth goal over a too short period of time, can set you up for failure and disappointment. That's no way to succeed. If its weight loss you're trying to achieve a healthy and sustainable amount to lose is around one kilogram per week, so it's best to plan your time timeframe accordingly.
Use the available resources
There is a wealth of freely available information that can assist you in reaching your goals sooner. Following a program such as New Atkins Nutritional Approach, that is scientifically formulated for safe and effective weight loss, can help you build healthy eating habits in a simple, straightforward way. New Atkins advocates the consumption of lean proteins, lots of colourful vegetables, natural healthy fats, low sugar fruits, and as you approach weight loss goals whole grains, all while eliminating foods packed with empty carbs, such as processed and refined white flour and sugar. With flexible phases, eating plans, recipes, expert advice and user forums, following a plan such as this will get you on your way in no time.
Break your goal down into smaller, achievable mini-goals, such as sticking to your eating plan without any cheat meals for two weeks, or losing a dress size in four weeks. Reward yourself each time you achieve a goal - just not with food! Put money towards new gym gear to help your fitness plans, or a new dress to wear once you reach your goal size – it'll give you something to look forward to, and motivation to stick to it. Use tools such as the MyAtkins Weight Loss Tracker found at atkins.com to visually reinforce your progress and success!
Whether it's those skinny jeans you're desperate to squeeze into, a beach holiday you want to be bikini-ready for, a sports event you're training for or anything else, stick it onto an inspiration board and put it somewhere obvious where it will keep you motivated to stay on track.
Spread the word
Tell your family, friends and colleagues about your plan. They can help make you accountable – and offer you support – and the more support you have the more likely you'll succeed. Some of them may even join you.
Swap bad for good
Investigate healthy substitutes for your favourite vices. Trying to go without is more likely to induce cravings for the real deal. If it's ice-cream, opt for natural yoghurt (with less than 8 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams), mix it with fresh berries and freeze it in ice-block moulds. If chocolate is your downfall opt for low-carb chocolate snack bars such as the Atkins range found in major supermarket health food aisles which contain 90 per cent less sugar and carbs than regular chocolate.
Skip the junk food aisle
This one's pretty easy. If you don't go down the confectionary or bickies aisle it's easier to not give in to the temptation of unhealthy snacks. Instead, head down the health food aisle, where you will find delicious low carb alternatives, such as the Atkins Chocolate Break Bar, that will keep your sweet tooth satisfied without the sugar spike afterwards.
The more you move, the more you'll lose
Combine you're low carb eating plan with exercise. Schedule outdoor activities into your evening and weekend plans. Meet friends for a walk, ride, game of tennis or yoga class instead of a coffee and cake. Trade the lift for the stairs and walk to the store instead of driving. The combination of healthy eating and exercise will help you reach your goals sooner.
Don't weigh every day
Don't weigh yourself every day, do it once a week, always in the morning and remember the scales don't tell the whole story. Instead, put your efforts into finding your carbohydrate balance – the amount of carbohydrates you can eat each day to either lose or maintain weight whilst banishing the belly bloat. Think about how you feel and how your clothes fit – understanding this will keep you motivated.
Never give up
You will have setbacks. But they're just that. Stick to your program and if you fall off the wagon for one day, get back on. Programs like the New Atkins Nutritional Approach are structured in a way to keep you motivated and on track. One bad eating day here or there, or a week of stalled loss on the scales is not a failure. You can and will achieve your goals if you continue to work at it.
For more information on how to start and stick to the New Atkins Nutritional Approach to help reach your health and weight loss goals visit atkins.com.