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Focus on Better Habits Instead of Short-Term Weight Loss in the New Year

We’ve all heard there is no quick fix for weight loss. From diet pills to diet books, making drastic dietary changes typically only results in short-term weight loss success. Much can be said about the habits you pick up in the midst of following a new eating plan, diet or not, and although changing the way you eat often results in weight loss, only focusing on this outcome can often also result in disappointment, discouragement, and even failure. Instead, focusing on developing healthy habits as opposed to losing weight can help you feel great about your accomplishments and result in long-lasting health benefits.

For example, following a weight loss plan for four to six months as part of your New Years resolution often results in improved cholesterol levels, decreased inflammatory tone, and decreased heart disease risk even if you don’t keep off the weight. Although initial weight loss may play a role, the healthy habits you learn while making those dietary changes may be just as important, if not more so, in achieving long-term health success.

Focus on these positive changes instead of the numbers on the scale to ensure successfully fulfilling your New Years resolution.

Eating More Vegetables

Most meal plans geared towards weight loss emphasize the addition of vegetables. This is probably because vegetables are relatively low in calories, rich in nutrients, and most Americans simply don’t get enough. By incorporating more vegetables into your day, you’ll probably feel fuller despite eating fewer calories and, even if weight loss slows or comes to a halt, the nutrient-packing power your veggies provide will continue to protect and enhance your health.

Drinking More Water

Water is another popular component of most weight loss plans. It’s calorie free, inexpensive, and again, good for your health. Most adults need approximately 9 to 13 cups of water on a regular basis. Some of this water comes from the food you eat and the beverages you drink, but it’s easy to go below those recommendations if you aren’t tossing back a few glasses of water each day. Even after weight loss comes to an end and you enter a maintenance phase, getting enough water can help you maintain clearer skin, a more effective metabolism, and improved energy levels.

Getting More Variety

No matter what new meal plan you decide to attempt, more likely than not you’ll have to limit or give up certain foods while you add new, meal plan approved foods to your plate. Although this can be intimidating, it’s a great way to try new foods. Although you may not enjoy every new dish that you try, if you keep an open mind you may find a few new dishes that you will want to keep on your weekly menu rotation even after the new meal plan ends. Hopefully, these new dishes will add a dash of variety to your diet and better equip you for a wide range of foods, ingredients, and nutrients. The more variety your diet has, the more likely you are to achieve optimal health.

No matter what meal plan you decide to try out, having a healthy attitude about it may prove beneficial. This year, instead of focusing on weight loss, why not focus on living healthier? More than likely, you’ll still lose weight and you’ll improve your chances of eating better over the long term and potentially result in less weight regain in the future.

December 29th, 2011

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