December 23, 2011 — During the holidays it’s only natural that many of us vow to lose weight and get fit once the clock hits midnight on New Year’s Eve.
“Every January, health clubs see a spike in attendance, followed by a drop in February,” say boomer generation health experts Dian Griesel, PhD, and Tom Griesel, authors of the new book TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (April 2011, BSH).
According to Dian, a nutritionist, it’s misguided to think of eating healthy as a “resolution.” Like most of our resolutions, this one will soon be broken. Instead, it is vital to incorporate healthy habits into our lifestyles — habits that can be maintained over a long period through the year, no matter what month the calendar currently reads.
The Griesels share seven simple steps that dieters can easily incorporate into their busy schedules to make 2012 a truly healthy new year:
Set a goal for fat loss and improved body composition, not a reduction in scale weight. Most dieting efforts, which focus on a drop in scale weight, result in the loss of lean body mass (LBM) along with fat. This loss of LBM can be significant and will reduce your base metabolic rate (BMR). Find a way to measure and track changes in your body composition at turbocharged.us.com.
Drink more water. Most people are chronically dehydrated, particularly first thing in the morning. We often mistake thirst as hunger, and eat when we should be drinking. Always drink a large glass of water as soon as you wake up, and whenever you feel hungry, before you eat anything. You may find you really weren’t hungry after all.
Focus on being more active. Sitting for long periods of time is hazardous to your health and cannot be counteracted by daily trips to the gym. Never sit for more than an hour at a time, and always look for ways to increase your daily activity. Walking is great, but everything counts. Just be up on your feet and moving as much and as often as possible. Get out and go to the park, zoo or museums. Find an
outdoor activity that you enjoy.
Build and strengthen your muscles. It is your muscles that drive your metabolism 24/7/365. Increasing your muscle mass will increase your BMR. You do not need to join a gym or buy a set of weights. Simple body-weight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups and squats done 3 to 5 times per day for as little as one minute will do the trick, especially if you have been inactive and sitting around too much. Do what you can now and build from there. Consistency is the key.
Start improving your diet. Replacing the refined, processed, packaged and fast foods in your current diet with fresh natural foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish and meat will dramatically increase your health and improve your body composition without dieting or counting calories. Have fruit for breakfast, start packing your lunch, eat out less and concentrate on making simple meals at home with fresh natural foods. Drink more water instead of soda or sports drinks. Avoid all artificial “fake” foods and stay as close as possible to foods delivered by Mother Nature.
Get a good night’s sleep. We need deep, quality sleep for peak energy levels and to be optimally healthy. Set regular sleep hours and keep them whenever possible. It is during sleep that we “recharge our batteries.” Avoid caffeine, alcohol or stimulating TV or activities before your scheduled sleep time. Keep your room dark, cool and quiet.
Practice regular stress reduction techniques. In today’s world, we experience chronic stress that was unknown to our ancestors. Modern stressors are continually activating our “fight or flight” survival mechanism. and this is very detrimental to our health. Meditation can be very helpful. However, consistently practicing short relaxation exercises during your day is often even better, because they provide regular feedback and can help you to recognize and break stress patterns. These mini-relaxation sessions will reset your nervous system and do wonders for your health and feelings of well-being.