New Year's Resolutions

It is common for people to set New Year's resolutions to lose weight. In fact, that is one of the most common resolutions that you will hear from friends, family and co-workers as the calendar turns from December to January.

It seems that every year countless people set a goal to get in shape and lose the weight that they have held over the past year. The trouble is that this resolution persists year after year. There are a few reasons that this is true, but one of them is the idea of a New Year's resolution in the first place.

The problem with New Year's resolutions is that people think they will do something that they have failed to do in the past year simply because the date has changed. While this will work for some, it is important that any weight loss goal is reasonable and within the means of the person attempting to put in the work to lose the weight.

Here are the things that you must be cautious about before setting a New Year's resolution to lose weight.

Weight Loss Goal

When you set a goal you must make sure it is a reasonable goal. It is true that a truly obese person can afford to lose weight more quickly in the first few weeks, especially as excess water weight is lost, but any goal that is more aggressive than 1-2 pounds per week is too aggressive over the long run.

Of course any person would like to shed extra pounds quickly, but it is much healthier to shed them slowly. A rate over 2 pounds per week is so aggressive for most people, it is very unlikely to succeed over any extended time. Because of this, failure of a milestone will result, and that leads to quitting. That does a person no good.

Here is an example. Suppose you want to lose 20 pounds in th New Year. Your options are to set this goal for the month of January or with a goal date of March 31st. In the first scenario you must lose up to 5 pounds per week. That means you need to come up with a shortage of 17,500 calories per week from what you are getting today. That is nuts. The goal of March 31st provides 13 weeks of time, or 1.5 pounds per week. That is a much more achievable goal and within the healthy limit.

Don't Accept Failure

Now that you know how to set a healthy weight loss New Year's resolution, the next step is for you to understand the cycle of weight loss. It is true that one pound is equal to 3,500 calories but sometimes the body does mysterious things.

Scientifically speaking, if you cut consumption, increase exercise, or combine the two to reduce your net calories by 3,500 calories in a week you will lose one pound. This is a fact. However, there are some factors that can get in the way. Among them a woman's cycle, a salty meal, improper hydration, bad sleep patterns, or excessive stress. There are more as well. These things will cause your weight to jump around a bit as time goes by.

There are two ways to fail on a New Year's resolution. One is to miss your goal. The other is to think you will miss your goal and giving up. With weight loss you can't think this way. Such thought will work against you every time. You must be willing to adjust as you go and to keep at it. This is not something that you can take or leave like painting a bedroom. This resolution is about you health. Do not accept failure.

Let's suppose in our 13 week example resolution to lose 20 pounds that we have progressed for two weeks and lost only 1 pound. As stated, there are two ways to deal with this. One is to decide that one-half pound every week will only equal 6.5 pounds and quit. The other is to reset the goal, refocus, and work for success. The first one is a loser. Forget about it. The second is the way to go. There are different ways to reset this goal. One is to give yourself one more week to see if you lose 2 or 3 pounds (remember the body does funny things) and continue with the original goal. Another is to reset your goal to 18 pounds and get to work. The third is to reset your date to April 7th and keep your goal. Ending the program is not an option.

Know Your Limits

When setting a health-related New Year's resolution you must know your limits. Losing 20 pounds in the first quarter is an acceptable goal, but how will you do it? Be reasonable to insure your success.

If you love to ride a bike and you plan to do more biking to burn more calories, that is a good method to use to lose the extra weight. If you hate the treadmill and plan to join a gym to hit the treadmill you are kidding yourself. If something that you hate is a central part of your plan this will be much harder than it has to be.

The same holds true with food. If you declare that you will stop eating lunch at a fast food restaurant that is a great goal that you can meet. If your plan is to skip breakfast to save calories it is foolish. Instead of eating less, especially in terms of meals or snacks, plan to eat smarter instead. For example, eating more fiber will make you feel full longer than eating sugar, so replacing an afternoon candy bar with an apple will satiate you and save you a whole bunch of calories and fat at the same time.

The key is to set exercise and diet goals that you can live with. Cutting every one of your favorite foods and working out in ways you can't stand is a recipe for failure. Permitting an occassional treat and burning calories doing things you enjoy is a recipe for success. Plan for success.

Let's Not Do This Next Year

New Year's resolutions happen every year. When it comes to losing weight, it would really be nice if you could not repeat that resolution next year. By taking the care to set an achievable goal in a reasonable time, refusing to accept failure, and knowing your exercise and diet limits so that you can work within them, your New Year's resolution to lose weight will be a success.