Monthly Resolutions You Can Keep
Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.
By Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.
As I write this article, most of you have
already dumped your New Years Resolutions. The rest will be kaput before the
end of this month. 95% of New Years Resolutions are broken by the end of
January (50% by the second week in January). Why do we always think we're going
to be in the tiny 5% rather than in the more likely 95%? New Years Resolutions
set us up for failure by causing us to hope for unrealistic "Lose All the
Weight You Want by Valentine's Day " goals . If losing weight was that
easy, Oprah would have figured it out by now.
How many of us have actually kept previous
New Years Resolutions? I have been unsuccessful at the same New Years
Resolution for the last 10 years - be less judgmental of smokers. I'm
just as judgmental as I was ten years ago, maybe more. Why? Because that is an
unrealistic goal for me. I don't like smokers smoking around me. And if you
haven't yet made a decision to eat more healthfully (NOT a Diet!) and exercise
regularly, then no Resolution, New Years or otherwise, is going to make it
This is the time of year that the diet
industry is waiting to pounce on us. It's a $30 billion a year industry built
on our failure. Have you ever thought that if diets worked, they'd all be out
of business by now? All you would need is one diet. You'd never need another
one. But instead, the diet industry keeps robbing us of our money because 95%
of the people who go on diets have gained back EVERY single pound, plus more by
the end of the first year. And the statistics get worse.
By the end of the second year, 98% of
people who have gone on diets have gained back every single pound. Again, why
should we think we're going to be in that tiny percentage instead of the more
likely 95 or 98%? It's because Americans like to believe in magic. We want to
believe the diet will make us slim, trim and happy like the great looking models
in the ads (that were airbrushed!)
Meanwhile, use this second month of the
year to rethink your New Years Resolutions. Resolutions that work, are those in
which there is at least a 90% chance that you will be successful. If you go on
a fad diet like high protein, low carbohydrate, the Cabbage Soup diet, or
Suzanne Sommers diet there's a 2-5% chance that you will be successful after one
Instead, how about a monthly resolution
which you have a lot more control over. Here are some offered by other
racewalkers. There's at least a 90% chance that you can be successful at these.
Enter a race a
month or two in the future. Just the looming goal of a race in the near
future can keep you motivated to racewalk daily.
Aim to be
active every day. If you can't get out and racewalk one day, at least go for
an after-dinner walk with your partner or your pet.
Take at least
two flights of stairs every day. Eventually make it a habit never to ride
elevators if you have to go 5 flights or less. OK, four.
Drink at least
8 glasses of water a day. Carry water in your car and keep a water bottle at
your desk at work.
Drink one full
glass of water between each alcohol drink. Don't order the second drink till
you've had the glass of water. Ask for a glass of water up front when you
order the first alcoholic drink.
Eat one extra
serving of vegetables every day.
high-fat food for a lower fat choice. If you're already drinking 2% milk, go
to 1% milk. If you're at 1% milk, try non-fat milk. If you still have real
ice-cream in your freezer (heaven forbid) instead buy Healthy Choice Low Fat
Ice Cream. It's delicious, but remember to not eat twice as much. Or donít
keep any ice-cream in your freezer and only treat yourself now and then.
Try to eat at
least one whole grain product a day (we should aim for a minimum of three a
day) of your 8-11 servings of grains. Easiest is whole wheat bread or cereal
for breakfast. Then during the day, I have a whole wheat bagel. Whole grain
rice and whole wheat pasta are harder to do, but will work if you do your own
weekend activity with friends that includes exercise.
ask you to do something sedentary (movies or dinner) suggest that you combine
it with an activity - meet a half hour before the movie and walk. Take a walk
after dinner. How about walking around an art fest, a bike ride, a long walk
with your friends?
If you eat
fried foods - limit yourself. No more than one order of fries a week (working
down to one order a month). Eventually, you won't even miss it.
Eat a meal or a
healthy snack every 3 hours. Many people overeat because they skip meals or
else they let too many hours pass without eating. When you go too many hours
without eating, your blood sugar drops down in the valley. When your blood
sugar is low, it's hard to make healthy choices when you're starving. Aim to
eat more often and not let more than 3-4 hours pass without a meal or a
healthy snack. Read Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook for good
choices for snacks and healthful eating for active people.
Keep track of
your exercise minutes in a log. When you reach a certain amount of minutes -
reinforce yourself with a non-edible treat like a new racewalking outfit, new
Thor Lo socks, a new Sony Walkman.
motivator - Pay yourself for racewalking. Pay yourself $2 for every day you
racewalk at least 30 minutes. Give yourself an extra bonus of $5 if you
racewalk at least 5 days that week. Keep this extra money in a separate piggy
bank - your racewalking stash. Then use that money to treat yourself to
things you wouldn't usually buy for yourself. You deserve it.
Hire a personal trainer. Hiring a
professional is for those racewalkers who want to get faster, want an
individualized program, want to improve their technique, or want help with
their weight loss goals.