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New Year’s Resolution

Sticking to a New Year’s Resolution: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Written on December 27, 2012 at 9:07 am , by

Ready, set, go! (Photo by James Michaelfelder)

With 2013 fast approaching, we’re thinking about the ways we can make the new year a healthier one. Making a resolution is easy–it’s the follow through that’s tough. “Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint,” says Susan Albers, Psy. D., author of Eating Mindfully. She’s starting a Mindful Eating Marathon this year to help you make daily changes that will help you stick to your goals.

So how can you train for a healthier 2013? Here are Dr. Albers’ top tips:

  • Focus on the positive. Think about what you’re already doing well and try to do it better. “If you want to lose weight and you’re having a hard time with your diet, focus on what you find fun, like exercise classes,” says Dr. Albers. Eventually the results from that will influence your other behaviors.
  • Make daily challenges. Instead of having one big goal, make daily ones that focus on the actions you need to take. “Instead of saying you will lose weight, say ‘I’ll get on the bike for 30 minutes today.’” Easy enough, right?
  • Get tools to make it fun. If your goal is to eat more fruit, buy kitchen tools like apple slicers and melon ballers. “If food is more attractive, you’ll be more likely to eat them,” she says. Use the new year as a reason to get new workout clothes if your goal is to get back to the gym.
  • Invest time in getting ready. You take time to get ready for a holiday party, so why not take time to get ready to be healthy? Dr. Albers recommends setting aside time in your schedule to go grocery shopping and chopping up fruits and vegetables to make eating well a breeze.

Tell us: What are your tips to make New Year’s resolutions more achievable?

More from FITNESS: Sign up for the Better Body Plan for tools to help you to shape up in 2013.

Healthy Monday Tips Help Your Resolutions Stick All Year

Written on January 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm , by

Another tip: Park at the back of the mall lot to sneak in more steps. (Photo by Joseph Montezinos)

We’re about three full weeks in to the new year—how are your healthy living resolutions going? The folks behind the Meatless Monday campaign, which aim to brand Mondays as healthy in a variety of ways, are determined to keep you health-focused and on track with your resolutions long past January.

Recent research has found that most people view Monday as a fresh start and often vow, on that day, to start a diet, join a gym or put out the cigarettes for good. Plus starting early is a kick in the pants to make healthier choices all week!

So at the start of each week, you can get a new Healthy Monday motivation tip that focuses on a different aspect of health, from tricks to add more variety to your diet to how to create a mood-boosting music playlist.

Find out more about Healthy Monday on their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @healthymonday to build on your wellness-minded habits and make each week healthier than the last.

FITNESS editors are constantly updating our Pinterest page with ideas and inspiration too! Check out our 2012 Fitness Resolutions and Goals board to find out how to achieve anything from learning to surf to getting more comfortable in the kitchen.

Now tell us: How are you doing on your resolutions? Have they become a habit?

3 QuickieChick Tricks for Resolution Rehab

Written on January 11, 2012 at 11:09 am , by

QuickieChick will be offering even more bites of advice in her new book.(Photo courtesy of Laurel House)

So you ate a cookie for dessert last night after swearing off sweets. Or you bought a latte on the way to work this morning after vowing to save cash my making your own java. It’s OK! Dust off the disappointment and think of now as a fresh start. It’s never to early (or too late) to make a healthy choice.

Laurel House, aka QuickieChick, says we should refresh our new year’s plans and set wellness “intentions,” which feel less daunting and offer a little more leniency, rather than “resolutions,” which she claims are often too rigid to last. Here are three tips from House, who has a book coming out this May that offers advice to “fast-paced chicks” to stay positive and motivated.

  1. Create an intention board. “Make a collage of images and words cut from magazines that illustrate the energy behind your intentions for the year,” House says. Then, each morning, spend five minutes looking over your board and remembering why the values included are important to you. This will keep you focused on your end goal.
  2. Invest in your health. “Deposit a dollar into your ‘Fit Bank’ every time you really don’t want to work out, but do anyway, or every time you so badly want a brownie but make a cup of tea instead,” House recommends. When it begins to add up, splurge on something that will remind you of how hard you’ve worked each time you see, use or wear them (a new pair of heels, a cute manicure or workout DVD you’ve been wanting to try).
  3. Box away bad feelings. Having a downer kind of day? Sneak away to an empty office or find a chair in your home and take a seat. Quickly and forcefully punch the air in front of you. “Imagine that you are literally punching out negativity and pulling in positivity,” House says. “Punch out negative words cluttering your head, like ‘sadness,’ ‘anger,’ ‘resentment,’ or ‘deadlines.’ And while you’re pulling your arms back, fill your head with words that represent what you want more of in your life, like ‘balance,’ ‘passion,’ ‘success,’ or ‘kindness.’” This will get your blood pumping while getting your mindset focused on your blessing and goals, rather than your burdens. (See House demonstrate here.)

Now tell us: How long do your resolutions usually last? And what have you found helps you stick with them?

Be a Better Yogi

Written on January 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm , by

I’m really trying to hold on to my New Year’s resolution as long as I can—they say people tend to fall off the wagon by the time February hits. But my goal of attending two to three yoga classes a week is manageable, especially since here in the FITNESS office, we’re lucky enough to have a yoga instructor come in at lunchtime two days a week! There’s really no excuse I can’t accomplish this goal, and after seeing this ridiculously cool and inspiring video, “The Contortionist,” from West Hollywood Equinox instructor, Briohny Smith, I’m even more motivated to perfect my yogi-ism far into 2012.

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Briohny—Bri for short—was introduced to yoga while on a trip to Thailand in 1999. She found yoga to be the cure to getting more “me” time and adding some much-needed serenity to her busy life. Upon exploring different varieties of Hatha yoga over the past 14 years, Bri fell for the arm balances and inversions you see her mastering in this video. As a yoga teacher, she helps her students bridge the gap between their mind and body, as well as helping them strengthen their muscles, while safely edging them closer to the positions she so beautifully aces. Even if I never reach the level that Bri does with such ease, I’m in awe of what she can make her body do and I’m keeping this video in mind as I hope to lengthen and strengthen my body this winter!

[Check out Equinox's innovative new blog, Q by Equinox, for cool things happening at Equinox locations and fun celebrity and athlete Q&A's...plus much more!]

Looking to be a better yogi this year too? Keep reading for two of Bri’s favorite beginner moves!

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Hungry Girl’s Resolution-Ready Tricks and Food Picks

Written on January 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm , by

Lisa Lillien has the low-down on guilt-free foods. (Photo courtesy of Michael Rababy)

Like your friendly (and oh-so-food-savvy) neighbor, Lisa Lillian, aka Hungry Girl, doles out light eating advice every weekday in her online newsletters. They have garnered such a large fan base—to the tune of one million people—that Lillien now hosts her own cooking show, which appears on Food Network and the Cooking Channel! She “isn’t a nutritionist, she’s just hungry,” her tagline explains. So while you should always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting a diet to find your ideal calorie consumption level and to discuss the best ways for you to personally lose weight, sources like Hungry Girl (and FITNESS!) can provide fun recipe ideas and motivation to stick with your get-healthy goals.

We spoke with Lillien to learn more about her tricks to stay on track—and for more than the first few weeks of the year!

What is your New Year’s resolution?

You caught me on a good year. Usually I don’t believe in resolutions, but this year I actually made one to drink a lot more water. I’ve been traveling so much lately and stopped drinking the 12 to 14 glasses I had been drinking for so long. I’m back on the water bandwagon! I try to carry around a bottle, and I keep it at room temperature. If the water’s too cold, I can’t drink a lot.

What are you eating more or less of today than you were ten years ago?

My food tastes have changed a little bit. I eat a lot of protein now. In 2001, I was eating more starches, like sandwiches. Starchy carbs are my “trigger foods,” or foods that make me overeat, so I’ve replaced them with more protein options. That helps keep me on track. I love Tyson Grilled & Ready chicken, which comes frozen or refrigerated. I use them as snacks and in entrees—in salads, paired with spaghetti squash or mixed in a stir-fry.

You’ve been a big advocate for tofu Shirataki noodles. What’s the next item we should be stocking in our kitchen for a nutritious meal?

Shirataki noodles are magical! Since I’m such a pasta maniac, I also like spaghetti squash because it really acts like pasta. You can make a great marinara dish with spaghetti squash, mushrooms, Italian seasoning and a little garlic. It’s great stuff!

Are there any recipes that you’ve yet to find a guilt-free swap for that you’d love to?

The biggest challenge for a long time was creme brulee, but I think we’ve mastered that. [Find Lisa's 104-calorie recipe here.] Cheesecake was also a struggle, but there are a lot of Hungry Girl cheesecake options. It’s hard to stump me!

For more from Lillien, Read more

Save Cash and Calories with a Bowl of Goodness

Written on January 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm , by

Losing weight and saving money are two New Year’s resolutions Americans return to again and again. These are abstract goals, so planning small action steps, say, signing up for a bootcamp class or having $50 from each paycheck directly transfer to savings, can help make these resolutions a reality. Another option to help you reach both of these goals? Visiting Whole Foods…Really!

The natural and organic grocery is launching Bowls of Goodness, a program that teaches you how to make a easy and healthy breakfast for about $2 or a savory and satisfying lunch or dinner for about $4. Simply stock up on a few pantry items, spices and a bit of fresh produce and you’ll have all you need for meals that will keep both your waistline and wallet happy.

A few basics Whole Foods Market recommends keeping on-hand for quick fix recipes:

  • Whole grains: brown rice, millet, quinoa, steel-cut oats, whole-wheat pasta
  • Beans: black beans, chickpeas, lentils, white beans
  • Colorful vegetables: avocado, bell pepper, corn, kale, spinach, sweet potato, zucchini
  • Protein: bison, chicken, grass-fed beef, salmon, tofu
  • Milk or non-dairy beverage: almond, hemp, rice, soy
  • Fruit: fresh, frozen or dried
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds
  • Herbs, spices and condiments: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, honey, hot sauce, nutmeg, parsley, oregano, salsa, vanilla

Here are a couple recipes to get you started. And click here for our top 10 budget-friendly grocery items!

Pomegranates are in season now—a smart money-saving move! (Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

Spiced Apple Oats 

Serves 3

  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 to 2 apples (depending on size), diced
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Cinnamon to taste
  1. Bring the almond milk to a boil. Stir in the oats.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer about 20 minutes or until creamy and tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced apple and nutmeg.
  4. Serve topped with pomegranate seeds and a dash of cinnamon.

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Fit Links: Build a Better Resolution and Make Gym Trips Easier

Written on December 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm , by

Resolution rule number one: Don't set six lofty goals at once. (Photo by Reggie Casagrande)

This week’s fit links from around the web: