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New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep

Make New Years resolutions you can KEEP.
Make New Year's Resolutions
that ADD to your life.

Every January about 1 in 3 people make a list of New Year's Resolutions. Many follow a common theme and it's often about giving up. "I'm going to give up drinking, watching TV, and eating too much." But quitting is hard. Instead, choose things you can ADD to your life.

Don't say, "I'm going to go on a diet and lose weight."
Say, "I'm going to eat two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day."

Fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants. Eating more fruit and vegetables have been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease your risk of cancer, reduce your chances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The long-term payoff is that the healthier food will fill you up, with fewer calories than traditional convenience foods. Over time you'll lose fat and have more energy to face the day.

You can choose fresh, frozen or canned varieties, but shop smart. Avoid packaged fruit that adds sugar and canned vegetables that add salt. Don't drink any of them in juices or smoothies, those are far too concentrated. Also, avoid dried fruit because it's too easy to binge on.

Don't say, "I'm going to quit eating junk food."
Say, "I'm going to make at least two meals a day for myself."

Eating fast food and dining in restaurants isn't just hard on your waist, it's expensive as well. Cooking two meals a day requires a little planning. Here's how to do it.

For breakfast, focus on convenience. A bowl of lower sugar and higher fiber cereal topped with fresh fruit is a great way to start. Oatmeal is fast and warm on a cold winter day. Half a whole-wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese and smoked salmon can be eaten as you're walking out the door.

Make lunch the night before. Nothing is stopping you from making a whole-wheat sandwich, packing a thermos of soup and tossing a piece of fruit in a bag. Not only is it healthier than most fast food fare but it's quicker too. When you're pressed for time just grab your lunch bag and enjoy. No waiting in line for deep-fried food.

If you don't know how to cook dinner, resolve to learn one new recipe a week. I prefer to cook larger meals that I can divide up and freeze for later. To help you make healthier choices, go to my website www.WeCookFit.com and you'll find hundreds of options to choose from. Put the recipes together into a binder and refer back to the ones you like as your skills improve.

Don't say, "I'm going to quit drinking alcohol."
Say, "I'm going to drink two glasses of water before anything else."

A 12-ounce serving of Budweiser has about 145 calories. Drink two a night and that's almost 2.5 pounds of beer a month. By drinking two glasses of water first, you reduce your thirst and you may not want to drink as much alcohol. If it prevents you from drinking just one beer a night, that's more than a pound a month.

Expand that resolution to help you cut back on other drinks with empty calories. Drink two glasses of water before soda, hard alcohol or juice. Over time as you drink more water, you'll find you have less desire for the drinks you wanted to avoid.

Sometimes actions that are good for you are also boring, hard or time-consuming. That's when you need to focus on more enjoyable alternatives.

Don't say, "I'm going to stop watching TV."
Say, "I'm going to learn a new sport or activity."

If you can't stand running on a treadmill, it's going to be hard to force yourself to a gym several times a week for cardio. Incorporate the exercise you need into an activity you might enjoy.

Get your cardio from a dance class, by learning how to swim or walking and exploring your neighborhood. If you prefer group activities, learn how to play tennis, take up volleyball or join a dodgeball league. When it's cold try ice skating, snowshoeing or cross country skiing. In warm climates explore paddleboarding, golf or in-line skating.

You're not depriving yourself of anything, you're expanding your life to include new experiences. The more you engage in fitness activities, the more fit your body will become. As you feel stronger, you'll want to do more and it creates a virtuous cycle.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.