Family, fun… and FOOD! Does that sum up the holiday season for you? Don’t worry, all is not lost. You can let go of the past and resolve to start the New Year on the right foot. That will mean eating fewer calories and engaging in more physical activity to lose weight. Here is some information to help you eat healthier and move more this year.
Focus on Your Health in the New Year
Getting healthy after over-indulging during the holiday season may not be easy at first, but it can be done. Here are some suggestions for cutting your calories.
Enjoy your favorite comfort foods, but try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare meals differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, light cream cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes.
Fruits and veggies: keep it simple! Most fruits and veggies are low-calorie and will fill you up, but the way you prepare them can change that. Breading and frying, and using high-fat creams or butter with vegetables and fruit will add extra calories. Try steaming vegetables and using spices and low-fat sauces for flavor. And enjoy the natural sweetness of raw fruit.
Eat smaller portions. When eating out, save some of your meal and take it home to make another meal, or split one meal between two people. At home, try putting only the amount you want to eat in a small bowl and don’t go back for more. People eat more when confronted with larger portion sizes.
Drink water. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Give your water a little pizzazz by adding a wedge of lime or lemon. This may improve the taste, and you just might drink more water than you usually do. This tip can help with weight management. Substituting water for one 20-ounce, sugar-sweetened soda will save you about 240 calories.
Eat breakfast every day. When you don’t eat breakfast, you may be likely to make up for the calories you saved by eating more later on in the day. Many people who maintain long-term weight loss eat breakfast daily.
Get Active, Healthy, and Happy
Are you already physically active? That’s great…keep it up, or take it to the next level! If you aren’t physically active, this could be your year to get started. Regular physical activity is an important part of losing weight and being healthy. Make a goal with a friend to achieve the amount of activity recommended by the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans!
Get Moving. Physical activity helps control weight, but it has other benefits. Physical activity such as walking can help improve health even without weight loss. People who are physically active live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.
Walk & Talk. Stay connected and get active with family and friends. Do yourself (and them) a favor by initiating a Walk & Talk weekly visit as part of your physical activity routine.
Have Fun. Check out community resources like nearby trails and parks. Sign up for a 5K walk or run to keep your mind focused on physical activity goals.