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 Bonnie Stein

          Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

Monthly Resolutions You Can Keep

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 happen.

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 year.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.  Carry water in your car and keep a water bottle at your desk at work.

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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.

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Eat one extra serving of vegetables every day.

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Change one 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.

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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 cooking.

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Plan one weekend activity with friends that includes exercise.

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When friends 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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Another fun 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.

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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.

There are plenty more, but here are some to get you started.  Pick one that you're not doing now, and make that your February resolution.  Then look back at the list for a new goal for March, and then April.  This could be the year that youíre successful at these resolutions.  Of course, Iíll probably still be judgmental about smokers next year.

 
© 2007 by Bonnie Stein. All Rights Reserved.

LIMITS OF LIABILITY AND DISCLAIMER - The authors and publishers of this newsletter have used their best efforts in preparing the articles and information contained within it. Additionally, you are advised to consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. The authors and publishers make no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages.

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