healthy new year?

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fitness picture scale

New Year’s Resolution #1 – Eat Healthy (i.e. Lose Weight)

New Year’s Resolution #2 – Exercise (i.e. Lose Weight)

Half of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, and almost 40 percent of those are related to weight loss. By the end of the year, only 8 percent of us will have actually succeeded in our weight loss aspirations. A depressing thought to say the least.

We are 84 days into 2013, and you may have already cashed in your New Year’s Resolution chips for some tasty Doritos. Families, jobs, obligations, socializing, stress, and winter weather are among the most common deterrents to achieving the elusive healthy lifestyle.

I have recently discovered that I am no longer 20 years old. It saddens me to think that I will never again be able to eat pancakes for breakfast, macaroni and cheese for lunch, PB&J on toast for a midafternoon snack, and pasta and garlic bread for dinner; not to mention dessert – all on the same day (Hello, my name is Erin and I’m a carbaholic). Once this realization set in, I was determined to create a daily routine that did not consist solely of fat-free dressing and kale, although kale chips are super yummy!

I read this quote recently, and I’m trying to put it into practice:

Stop trying to be skinny, and start trying to be healthy. Your weight will probably take care of itself if you do.

Throughout each pregnancy I gained 65 pounds – that’s 260 sticks of butter! And boy, was it fun! The aftershock of losing the weight – not so much.  But I am happy to say that it is doable. It takes time, self-discipline, and determination – no crash diets or cabbage soup for this mama! Those three words (especially “time”) can make anyone want to curl up on the couch with a pint of Haagen-Dazs. But if you think about it, everything worthwhile takes time and personal resolve on some level. Flipping the mental switch from “it’s too hard” to “this is important and it can prolong my life” is the point where you decide to make a change – and stick to it.

Maybe you have no interest in making a change. That’s fine. This blog post is not for you. Others of you may be bored with your routine, so some of these ideas can put a new bounce in your sneakers (yes, you will need sneakers!). And then there are those of you who just need a little jumpstart to get things moving again.

Ready, set, go!

DIET: I am a huge advocate of Weight Watchers. It has worked for me – twice! I love that it is not a diet, but a lifestyle. It doesn’t eliminate anything from my diet, which I love. The key to Weight Watchers is portion control, moderation, and healthy choices.

COOKING: You can also begin to revamp your kitchen routine. Read labels and bring home more fresh fruits and veggies. Mix it up a little! Some of my favorite cookbooks are the “Eat This, Not That” series. It’s amazing to see what is really in our food and how misleading healthy sounding choices can be – especially with all those “healthy” snacks and meals geared toward our kids. Even simple changes like adding butternut squash to mac and cheese or using diet soda instead of oil and eggs in a cake mix will make a huge healthy difference, but it won’t eliminate taste. Hungry Girl is an awesome resource for lighter recipes with flavor galore. You can subscribe to her daily e-mail for healthy recipes, grocery recommendations, and new product reviews.

fitness cookbooks

PHYSICAL FITNESS: I am not a member of the YMCA or a gym. It takes too much time to drag the kids out of the house and drive across town, not to mention the monthly cost! Morning nap time is a necessity in our home, so I prefer to use workout DVD’s in the privacy of my own basement. Then I care less about wearing my mismatched old shorts and t-shirt from high school volleyball practice! Think of the money you’ll save not having to buy trendy workout clothes. My favorite DVD’s are Bob Harper’s Inside Out Method series and anything from Jillian Michaels.

fitness DVDs

There is also a wide selection of workout DVD’s for all you pregnant mamas out there. I have several different DVD’s – some are a bit dated, but they get the job done.

fitness pregnancy DVDs

Fitness apps are a fairly new concept that can really propel your fitness routine to the next level. I use Weight Watchers, RunKeeper, and The CarbLovers Diet.

Other popular fitness apps include CalorieCounter, Fooducate, iCookbook ($4.99), Runtastic, All-in Yoga ($0.99), Meal Snap ($0.99), Tempo Magic Pro ($4.99), Fitocracy, Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (My Fitness Pal), Jillian Michaels Slim Down, DailyBurn Tracker, LiveStrong.Com Calorie Tracker (My Plate), and Nexercise. (*Note – all prices represent iPhone app selections)

There are also several websites out there that strive to make weight loss fun and competitive. You can actually win money for losing weight! Healthywage.com, StickK.com, and DietBet.com are three sites where you set goals, put up some cash, and hopefully keep the weight down!

If you are reading this post and all you can think is, “Yeah right. I have four kids, and I don’t have the energy, time, or motivation to do any of this.” I hear you – really! Below are some suggestions for very small changes you CAN make in your day-to-day routine. Tweaking your daily activities just a bit can reap huge dividends!

Pounds Burned Per Year – Activity*

  • 1-2 Pounds – parking farther away from the door at a mall, grocery store, etc.
  • 1-2 Pounds – opting for the stairs instead of the elevator (my grandparents have done this for as long as I can remember and they are a couple of the fittest 80 year olds I know!)
  • 1-3 Pounds – parking farther away at work
  • 2-4 Pounds – walking during your lunch hour
  • 2-4 Pounds – walking an extra lap around the store just to make sure you got the best deal!
  • 2-4 Pounds – walking after supper (or any other meal)
  • 2-4 Pounds – walking through the airport while you wait for your flight
  • 2-4 Pounds – walking across the playground and running after your kids! Don’t be glued to your phone while you’re at the park – play with your kids!
  • 3-9 Pounds – walking the dog (or the kid!) every day
  • 5-10 Pounds – decrease the amount of time you are sitting on a daily basis – get off the couch!
  • 10-30 Pounds – getting out of your chair at work to talk to a co-worker instead of making a phone call; walking down the hall at work (this can be done multiple times a day!)

That’s a possible 76 pounds per year off your rear and out the door! 304 sticks of butter never to be seen again! While it may not seem to add up quickly, don’t sweat it (unless you’re at the gym). Losing just 0.25 pounds is saying good-bye to an entire stick of butter. It can really add up!

If you have no idea where to start, check out this magazine. Today is the last day it will be displayed on newsstands, but you can order a copy online: The Best Diet & Fitness Tips by USA Today.

I am not an advocate of making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. I consider that a copout for not doing ANYTHING until January 1; and even then, grit and resolve usually last two weeks at the most. There will always be an excuse, and you will fail more times than you can count. It’s about the choices you make today – in this moment. Start today. Start over today. Giving up completely or waiting until … (you fill in the blank)… is a recipe for disaster. It’s your decision. You are the boss.

This is not about becoming a personal trainer or winning a marathon. And you don’t have to give up pasta or cheesecake (but you can’t have them every day, much to my chagrin!). Balance and moderation are crucial. It’s about the daily choice of becoming healthy and passing that on to our kids. Are you with me?

What are some ways you exhibit a healthy lifestyle? Favorite workout DVD’s? Any recipes? I would love to hear from you!

*information from Half-Marathon, You Can Do It by Jeff Galloway ©2006

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Erin J. has been married to her high school sweetheart, Luke, for 15 years. After moving to the Quad Cities in 2005, they began their family in April 2008 with the birth of Violet. Henry followed in April 2012 (both babies had the exact same due date!). As a stay-at-home mom to two kids, Erin keeps busy running to school, junior theatre, church, Bible study, MOPS, and play dates. With the recent completion of her master’s degree in professional writing, Erin hopes to work a little from home in the various fields of blogging, editing, and online education. Ultimately, she hopes to become a children’s book author one day. Erin loves Jesus and is involved in women’s and children’s ministry at her church. In her free time (what’s that?!), Erin loves to read, garden, spend time outside, bake, exercise (because of the baking!), and watch movies.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the tip with the Hungry Girl recipes! We were just talking about how we need to keep finding new recipes so we don’t get bored and discouraged with our healthy alternatives! Great post!

    • Thanks for reading, Katy! In regard to Hungry Girl – I would skip any recipe where she asks to use “shirataki” noodles instead of regular pasta. Those things are nasty! 🙂 I also skip the ones where it calls for soy burger. My hubby is not a fan! 🙂 Good luck in your recipe hunt. You can also try the portion control or clean eating recipes via e-Meals. It’s about $20 for a three month subscription, but it includes a weekly menu and shopping list from your favorite store – AND they total your grocery bill for you. Great for budgeting!

  2. Erin, you always have great posts filled with tons of info….thank you!
    I recently bought 2 yoga videos to do at home…I’ve never been much of an “at home” workout person, but now with Jake on 2nd shift it’s easier to do it in the evenings once the kids go to bed….those early morning get up before everyone else workouts were just not cutting it for me…it didn’t feel like “me time”…it felt like SLEEP time! That’s so important…finding the right TIME to work out. I feel so much better when I do!
    I’ve also been using Yoli products & eating a high protein, low carb diet….cutting out pop, coffee, and junk has also made me feel so much better. I’m starting the Moms on the Run program on Saturday, too!
    If I get in a lull, maybe I’ll have to borrow a video from you! 😉

    • I just joined the Cornbelt Women’s Running Club 101 program. It meets Tuesday nights for about an hour and they have a training program to do the rest of the week. The goal is to complete a 5K in May. Good luck with the running. I agree, time is so hard to come by! And I love sleep too! We’re just in a season of life. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

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