7 Tips and Helpers for Making New Year's Resolutions Reality

RoseTracker| Mustering up positive enthusiasm for change is the easy part. How do we actually become part of the 10% of people who actually keep their resolutions.

Let me share a cheat sheet for keeping resolutions, written by Sue Shellenbarger for the Wall Street Journal. I can relate. Sue’s five recommendations are general ones, but reality is, most of us are focused on losing weight as a top New Year’s resolution.

I’ve added two more must dos that are top of my list for weight and health management.

Take one step at a time: don’t say that you will lose 40 pounds in three months. Commit to losing one pound a week, and be clear how you will do that mathematically via calorie reduction. Better to target 10 pounds, not 40 and then establish another goal — perhaps 15 pounds for the next phase, now that you’re flush with success.

Get a little help from friends: don’t go it alone. interact with old or new friends who have a similar goal to your own.

Announce your intentions: going on the record is good, especially in blogs or social networking pages.

Figure out your attachment to bad habits: this is a biggie. Permanent change is more likely when we understand why we are sabotaging ourselves in the first place.

Expect setbacks: don’t blame yourself or give up over a small blip on your life screen. Two steps forward and one back is often the bedrock of real progress.

Be accountable: write it down every day. I’m a firm believer in the concept of the daily little book, one that goes everywhere with you.

To master my relationship with food, calories and portion size several years ago, I wrote down everything I ate, with a running calorie tally, on a daily basis. I also documented my daily exercise, figuring out calories expended.

Whenever I slip off the permanent diet wagon, I start writing again, acknowledging every morsel of food hitting my mouth, until I get back on course. Because we tend to underestimate the size of our portions, food gets weighed and measured.

Get educated: especially on the topic of diet and exercise, the research is overwhelming about the health benefits of diet and exercise. Brain scans now allow researchers to document the deterioration in our brains, when we don’t control our food intake or eat the wrong foods.

For me, a deteriorating brain concerns me more than anything else. The brains of obese people not only shrink, but they shrink in critical thinking parts of the brain. So many Americans struggle with believing scientific facts of any kind. The truth is: brain scans don’t lie.

Know Your BMI

BMI is not a perfect tool for measuring our bodies, but it works in the aggregate. The biggest exceptions to the BMI score are people who exercise, replacing fat with muscle. A woman with a lot of muscle could have a BMI of 26 or 27 making her technically overweight, and still be healthy.

Until we have an even better system of weight management, please know your BMI. Know also that unless you own a state of the art scale, you probably weigh 7-10 pounds more on your doctor’s scale than the one you use at home.

Staying healthy in today’s world is very difficult, with one challenge after another being thrown our way.

I’ve dealt with weight management challenges my entire life, having been technically obese with a BMI of 32 for many years. The good news is that we can win this daily battle, when we are determined and vigilant about getting back on track after a day or even a month of eating bad news food. Anne