Sticking to a rigid diet is top of the list of New Year's resolutions for many people at this time of year. But as those who start watching what they eat often find it hard to follow through as planned, here are some practical ways to stay motivated in that painful fight against the flab for a slimmer waistline and healthier body.
◆ Set Realistic Goals
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they decide to go on a diet is setting unrealistic goals. It usually works out better to lay down more achievable targets and approach them one step at a time, such as losing 2 kg per month instead of 5 kg. It is also important to balance a lower calorie intake -- of less than 1,500 kcal a day -- with regular exercise. Many nutritionists recommend exercising for half an hour a day and drinking plenty of water.
◆ Stick to the Fundamental Principles
Blindly following the latest fads without considering your own body type and lifestyle can lead to a failed diet and even damage your health. The key to success is not how much weight can be lost in a short period of time, but adapting to better habits over a long term to maintain a healthier lifestyle. As always, eating sensibly and exercising regularly is crucial.
◆ Don't Think You Have to Eat Like a Rabbit
Many people think they should cut down on the amount of food they consume and live on a diet of salad and mineral water to get in shape. But it's important to consume an adequate amount of carbohydrates to produce energy and break down protein. It's also better to eat beneficial types of carbohydrates and adopt healthier ways of cooking rather than avoiding them altogether. To stay healthy, a balanced diet that includes all major food groups is crucial.
◆ Find a Sport You Enjoy
Lots of people waste huge sums of money on gym memberships that they never use after the first few weeks, and gym workouts can quickly become a chore if your heart is not in it. It often works out better to pick a sport or specific form of exercise -- yoga, dancing, swimming -- you enjoy, or even just tailor more exercise into your daily routine, such as by taking the stairs at work every day instead of the elevator. For those who like to socialize and ease into their health regimes, bowling with friends can be an ideal start. So instead of regretting your impulsive decision to buy a gym membership, perhaps take some time first to consider what kind of exercise suits you best.