If you want to succeed, you cannot set yourself up to fail. If you want to get into shape and start leading a healthier lifestyle you need to learn how to set realistic fitness goals for the New Year.
Take Advantage of The Entire New Year
Instead of trying to lose a large about of weight or being able to run a five minute mile in a month, plan out your goals over the course of the entire New Year. If you have a certain amount of weight you want to lose or a certain fitness goal that you want to attain, like running a mile in under 10 minutes, plan to achieve these goals over the next 12 months. In that time you can slowly lose the weight and get healthy, giving you a higher success rate without feeling too much pressure. If you accomplish those goals before the allotted time, you can set new ones, and advance even further.
Give Yourself Time
Not everyone can hit the gym for four hours a day, but try to dedicate at least three hours a week to start. If you can’t find a solid 30 minute block of time during the day, break it up into 10 minute increments and spread them out. If you exercise for an hour one day but take a break the next day, do not beat yourself up over it. You will soon find out that the more you exercise, the easier it is to find time to do it. Start with three hours a week and give yourself the entire New Year to work up to six hours a week, or more.
Make It a Game and Keep Score
Create your own personal score board. Keep track of your weight lost and gained, because it is not unusual to gain back a little bit of the weight you have lost during the process. Write down your calories for the day and also subtract the calories to consume for your resting metabolic rate as well as from exercise and even household chores. One pound is worth about 3000 calories, so for every 3000 calories you can cut out of your life, it will be one pound less you are taking off of your body.
The most important part of getting in shape is keeping a positive attitude and learning how to set realistic fitness goals for the New Year.
Every bite you eat impacts your health – with each swallow you are either moving toward your weight goal or away from it. So how do you figure out what to eat and how much to eat of it every day? You can calculate this information from reading the nutrition labels on foods.
On the label, the serving size is listed first. The rest of the information on the label is based on the serving size, so it’s important to look closely at it. Is the whole package one serving? Or is it showing the data for one serving but the package is actually three servings? It’s easy to glance at a bag of chips and think ‘Oh, it’s only 100 calories’ when in reality it is really 300 calories for the entire bag.
Percent of Daily Value
The percent of daily value is calculated for a 2,000 calorie day. The nutrient guidelines tell you how much percentage of each nutrient is in the food when compared to that 2,000 calories. As you read through labels, keep these numbers in the back of your mind:
- Total grams of fat intake per day should be somewhere between 56 – 78 grams (for a 2,000 calorie daily diet). So, if you eat a serving of food that has 10 grams of fat listed, you just ate 15% of your allotted amount of fat for the day.
- Total amount of sodium per day should be no more than 2,400 milligrams. It seems like a lot until you start looking at labels, especially for foods like ketchup, soup, soda pop, and bread. It adds up quickly!
- As you look at the vitamins and minerals listed on the labels, you naturally want to strive towards reaching at least 100% of your daily recommended allowance since that is minimum benchmark for maintaining health.
A ‘Handy’ Guide to Portion Size
Now that you know about reading food labels, how do you know when you have a good portion size? Look at your hand. Make a fist. That is about one cup of salad, fresh fruit, casserole, or drink. A cupped hand is about ½ cup serving size. That one is really good for measuring rice, pasta, potatoes, or ice cream. Your palm holds about three ounces, which is one single serving size of meat. Your thumb approximates one tablespoon – good for measuring salad dressings and sour cream. And finally, the tip of your thumb is equal to a teaspoon – perfect for butter, oil, and mayonnaise.