5 Super-Simple, No-Fail New Year’s Diet Resolutions
by Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Happiness (Harlequin Nonfiction)
If you’re like me, you have had a bit of experience with New Year’s resolutions – they come and go. We have great hopes and intentions to head off to the gym, start a new diet, lose weight, be healthier. By February, the gym shoes are at the back of the closet, the diet plan is history, and the weight is still haunting us. Well, I have a solution to that.
Over the years, I’ve honed a few painless, super easy steps to a better diet, slimmer waistline, and more fit body. Here are five fool-proof resolutions from my latest book, Eat Your Way to Happiness.
1. Eat breakfast: No excuses! Hey, it takes no more than 5 minutes to fix and eat a good breakfast, yet the benefits will last you lifetime. Breakfast eaters have more energy, think more clearly, perform better at school and work, and are less vulnerable to cravings throughout the day, therefore, they are more successful at weight loss and maintaining the loss over time. The 1,2,3 Breakfast I discuss in the book is your mainstay: 1) a whole grain, 2) a protein, and 3) one to two colorful fruits and vegetables. My favorite is a bowl of whole grain cereal (shredded wheat, Kashi, Grapenuts, etc), low-fat milk or soymilk, and a handful of blueberries. Smoothies also fit the criteria, as does whole-grain waffles with peanut butter and a glass of OJ.
2. Start lunch (or dinner) with a bowl of soup: It’s the volume or weight of food that fills us up. If it takes a pound of food to feel satisfied, you can gobble a pound of French fries for a zillion calories or a pound of carrots for 50 calories. The best way I’ve found to boost volume is to eat foods that have water and fiber in them. Vegetable soup is a perfect example. When people have a bowl of soup before a meal they consumed 200 calories less and still feel full and satisfied. So, add a bowl of chicken noodle or cream of tomato to your sandwich for lunch every day and you could lose up to two pounds a month. That’s 24 pounds by the end of 2010!!
3. Cook in cast iron: If you are a premenopausal woman and you are tired, more than likely you are one of the up to 80% of women during the childbearing years who is iron deficient. You probably aren’t so deficient that you are anemic, but the symptoms are the same: You are tired, more susceptible to colds and infections, can’t think clearly, and might even have trouble sleeping. Years ago, I tossed the fancy cookware and went back to my mom’s cast iron pots. The iron leaches out of the pot into the food, boosting iron content several fold, especially in acidic foods, such as spaghetti sauce.
4. Chew gum: Do you taste test while cooking? Pop food scraps in your mouth as you load the dishwasher? Take a bite of the leftover lasagna while rummaging through the fridge for tonight’s dinner? That is called mindless eating, and it could be at the root of your weight problems, since every bite averages about 25 calories. Four mindless bites in a day and you’ve gained a pound in a month. Instead, chew sugarless gum when cooking or in the kitchen to discourage putting anything else in your mouth.
5. Move more: OK, I’m an exercise junkie and most people think I’m nuts to bike when it is raining outside! But, I also know most people aren’t as addicted to sweat. If the likelihood of sticking with an hour vigorous workout at the gym is slim, you can boost activity and shed pounds by just adding more movement to your daily routine. Walk up the escalator – it drives me nuts when people stand like a statue as the escalator works for them! Park at the end of the lot, rather than drive around for 15 minutes looking for a closer parking spot. Throw out the remote control and get up every time you want to change the TV station. Studies show that adding little 10 minute bursts of activity to your day add up to significant health benefits and even a few inches off the waistline.
Editor’s note: Best of luck with all of your resolutions in the new year from Elizabeth and the whole team at Harlequin!