The beauty of a new year is that it gives us an official door to close and a new one to open. Here are some ideas to help meet your resolutions for weight loss and improved fitness:
¢ Always ask yourself before you eat, "Am I hungry?"
¢ Never put food in your mouth if the honest answer to the above question is "No."
¢ Always determine the reason when you find yourself eating when you aren't hungry. Ask yourself, "What do I need instead of food?"
¢ Never underestimate the power of emotions (stress, boredom, happiness, unhappiness) to make you eat when you're not hungry. Find ways to care for emotions rather than stuffing them with food.
¢ Always look for ways to add vegetables to meals. Cup for cup, nonstarchy vegetables contain a fraction of the calories in pasta, potatoes or rice.
¢ Never forget that it's OK to eat M&M;'s ... every once in a while.
¢ Always refer to your new way of eating as ... a new way of eating.
¢ Never use the "D" word. Fad diets ultimately result in weight gain, not weight loss.
Always know if you are at risk for "metabolic syndrome," a condition that can increase your chance for heart disease and diabetes. Three or more of the following defines "metabolic syndrome":
¢ A tape measure around your waist (without your winter coat) that measures more than 40 inches (men) or 35 inches (women).
¢ A fasting blood glucose lab value more than 100 mg/dL.
¢ A blood triglyceride level of more than 150 mg/dL.
¢ Elevated blood pressure - more than 130 on the top (systolic) and/or more than 80 on the bottom (diastolic).
¢ Decreased blood level of "good" HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL for men or less than 50 for women).
¢ Never underestimate the value of physical activity. Daily exercise improves all the above risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
¢ Always take the stairs when you can. According to research, climbing stairs burns more calories per minute than jogging.
¢ Never eat more than you can lift. That's Miss Piggy's advice.
¢ Always encourage your family to eat meals together. Research shows that families who eat together tend to be healthier.
¢ Never eat in front of the television. It encourages overeating and discourages important relationships.
¢ Always encourage your kids to play and be active at least one hour a day. That's the amount recommended to prevent super-sizing our younger generation.
¢ Never watch television more hours than you sleep. Every hour of television viewing accounts for 150 extra calories that can attach to your stomach rather than being burned off in activity.
¢ Always count food groups (whole grains, fruit, vegetables, meat and meat alternates, milk and other calcium-rich foods) to measure if you are getting the right balance of nutrients in your daily diet.
¢ Always expect to reap what you sow. It's an unchanging principle.