It’s 2012 and everyone including us are setting about making their New Years resolutions, many of which relate to weight loss. Every year, people make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. It’s no wonder, considering statistics show that more than half of all Americans are considered overweight or obese. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows everyone is collectively getting fatter each year. First, up your exercise.
John Abercrombie is the founder and CEO of Time to Get in Shape, a organization dedicated to promoting fitness and well-being (click at bottom for more info). “Try out a new group exercise class,” Abercrombie said. “Incorporate a mix of cardio and strength training to your routine.” Abercrombie suggests choosing from the many innovative tools and activities you can do at home or your local gym or health club:
- Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance fitness program
- piloxing, a combination of Pilates and boxing
- pole dancing
- hip hop
Abercrombie said that you can eliminate workout fatigue by including one or more classes into your schedule, rather than only focusing on the machines at the gym. “Whether you are taking a class or creating your own routine, ensure that you maximize your workout with ‘interval training’, a balance of high and low intensity,” he said. “Fitness experts agree that by changing your speed between slow and fast while cycling, swimming, walking, running or even using a machine like the Elliptical, you will continue burning calories even after the workout.” Abercrombie said that classes such as Pilates and yoga teach relaxation, balance and core strengthening techniques, skills which can then be interwoven into your daily life. Abercrombie said that many people can be motivated by something as simple as their own wardrobes, and that just purchasing a new piece of workout clothing can help dieters stick to the plan.
As many of us know, snacks can either be your worst dieting enemy or your new weight-loss best friend. The difference is all in the choices you make. This year, make it your resolution to learn how to snack smarter (click at bottom for more info). To help, here are some free weight loss tips to develop a healthier relationship with snacking. (click at bottom for more info)
Hand someone a bag of chips and ask them to eat just 100 calories. Sounds impossible, right? Well for most people, it is. Not only is it hard to calculate quickly, our willpower alone will fail us. Soon a few chips become half the bag and the guilt sets in.
Don’t even give yourself the opportunity to overeat and instead think portion control. Replace full size snack bags with 100-calorie snack packs. They are the perfect way to know you’re only eating 100 calories and resist the urge to eat more. Snyder’s of Hanover offers a variety of 100-calorie Pretzel snack packs. Available in mini, snap or pretzel sticks, they’re sold in the snack aisle of local grocery store. They are quick and easy and perfect for kids or adults. Plus the best part is, once the snack pack is gone, you’re done.
Making smart snack choices doesn’t mean you have to give up flavor or your favorite foods. There are a number of products that are low in fat, and can help satisfy your cravings. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Raisins – One ounce equals 85 calories. You could even cover them with chocolate. Chocolate can be healthy when consumed in small portions.
2. Graham crackers – Eight small rectangles is equal to 100 calories.
3. Celery with peanut butter – Five pieces of celery with 1 tablespoon peanut butter is equal to 100 calories. This is a very satisfying snack packed with protein and is also gluten-free.
4. Dried fruits and nuts – A small amount of dried fruits with a small amount of nuts is a snack kids love to eat.
5. Pretzels – One ounce equals 100 calories. You can even include cheese with your pretzels for something different with added protein.
6. Unsweetened applesauce – One cup is equivalent to 100 calories, and is a great snack idea for younger children.
7. Air-popped popcorn – Three cups or 1 ounce equals 95 calories. Popcorn is also gluten-free.
8. Fruit – All types of fruit are full of valuable nutrients and they also contain no gluten.
9. Baked corn tortillas with dip – Corn tortillas are a great alternative to potato chips. You can eat them with salsa and/or guacamole for a healthy treat.
10. Rice cakes – Rice cakes by themselves aren’t really nutritious, but they are gluten-free. Try topping them with cottage cheese and fruit, peanut butter with banana slices, or cheese and tomatoes for a more nutritious snack.
11. Fat-free sugar-free pudding – One serving contains approximately 80 calories. Another treat kids really enjoy.
12. Lettuce wraps – Fill a big lettuce leaf with tuna, hummus and your favorite vegetables and roll it up. You could even use a ham slice with hummus and vegetables for a change in variety. This is also a gluten-free snack.
Make it simple
Put healthy snacks out so they’re easy to grab. Take a bowl and make sure it’s filled with fresh fruit. For cold snacks create a healthy snack drawer in your refrigerator. Stock it full of baby carrots cut up veggies and low fat dip or puddings. To give your kids incentive to make healthier choices, give them permission to take any snack from these locations without asking.
When you’re in the store, read the label and look for low fat, whole grain or organic options when possible. You’d be surprised to see a lot of snacks you might have overlooked before. Even pretzels, like Snyder’s of Hanover Organic Whole Wheat Pretzel Nibblers, are made with whole grains and are low in fat.
Set small goals
Creating a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just happen overnight but the process shouldn’t be overwhelming either. Setting small goals, like snacking on vegetables for a week, can develop into long term eating habits. And it’s best to set goals that are obtainable so you see your success early on and you’re motivated to continue.
Healthy snacking is all about making the right choices. This coming year, it’s up to you to make the right decisions, hopefully these tips will help motivate you to a more wholesome and healthier 2012