A New Year; A New and Improved You!

Over the past few weeks, chances are that there were a few extra calories that crept into the diet with all of the holiday parties and meals.  However, now that the holidays are over and schedules are getting back to normal, it is a great time to start to refocus on your health.  The following are a few tips to get 2011 off to a healthy start:

Step #1.) Get all of the “junk food” out of the house.  If there are still chocolates, holiday desserts, chips, or other calorie-laden foods in the house, this is a great time to give them away, take them to work or just toss them out.  (After all, you did have enough of them over the past few weeks!!)  You want to make your efforts to eat better as seamless as possible and by minimizing temptations around the house; you will be setting yourself up for success.
Step #2.) Go to the grocery store and stock up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats.   The more you can plan out some of your meals before going to the store, the better off you are.  Check back for a future post with tips on “Creating a Healthy Environment at Home”.

Step #3.) Set up a few small goals that you want to work on each week.  If you set 2-3 specific short-term goals of changes you want to focus on each week, you are much more likely to achieve your long-term goals (weight loss, lowering cholesterol, improving energy, etc.).  For more information about goal setting see my previous post on “Keeping New Years Resolutions”.

Step #4.) Establish a support network.  Many studies have found that people who have greater social support are more likely to maintain behavior changes.  Support can be found in many places.  You could share your goals with a family member and ask them if they want to make some healthy changes with you or if they would be willing to provide some encouragement and support along the way.  You could also ask a friend or coworker to be your health partner.  Together you can exchange healthy recipes,  exercise, discuss weekly goals or just provide encouragement.  Support could also come in the form of professional help.  Working with a dietitian or a personal trainer can help to jump start changes, get you started on the right track and keep you accountable throughout the process.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you  can do today”.  So no matter what your goals are, just take the first step today toward achieving them and you will be one step closer tomorrow.