About this time last year, I began making some changes in the way I ate; mostly food choices and portion amounts.

It seems cliché to adopt a New Year’s resolution when everyone is returning to the gym or snapping up the latest fad diet book or exercise DVD, but the time had come. I was ready for a change. Over the years, my weight had crept up more than was healthy for me and I felt uncomfortable.

In my profession, food and the enjoyment of food is a way of life, so when I embarked on this new plan, the first thing I did was decided not to even call it a diet. Instead, I told myself and my close friends and family that I was making changes in my lifestyle. I’ve had a feeling for a while that the reason diets don’t work for me, and probably for others as well, is because the word “DIET” itself has such a negative connotation. The word sounds restrictive, temporary and limiting, whereas a change in lifestyle sounds far more positive, open-ended, and can last forever.

So, I continued over this past year making a few lifestyle changes, and now I’m 50 pounds lighter. I feel fabulous, full of energy, and ready for every day. Here’s what worked for me if you want to give it a try:

  • Visit your doctor to be sure you don’t have a medical issue that is causing weight gain or keeping you from losing weight. It’s also good to establish a baseline for cholesterol and hormone levels.
  • Drink plenty of water. I try to drink a minimum of an ounce for every two pounds of my weight, but most days I drink more.
  • I usually eat one or two well-planned meal a day. I know many weight-loss programs advise eating multiple small meals throughout the day, but for me, one or two hearty meals works the best. The key is listening to your own body and finding what works best for you.
  • Buy and eat only organic, whole foods whenever possible. This is by far my most important piece of advice. I discovered that when I ate foods that were nutrient dense I didn’t have cravings. I also find that I don’t stuff myself like I used to because I’m eating nutritious food that are satisfying. The opposite is true as well. When I used to eat high carb, fatty, and sugary foods, my body responded with cravings for more of those foods.
  • Additionally, I cut out fried foods and red meat. Now, I’m not advocating that for everyone, but I’m mentioning it because I believe it’s important to experiment and find out what works for you. Some people thrive on a high fat, high protein diet, while others feel best on a vegetarian diet. Remember, this will be your journey, so give your body what it needs to function at its best.

When I first began making changes, I also consciously shifted my thinking. I chose not to call my new routine a diet, because, as I mentioned, it has a negative connotation. I also quit using the terms, “weight loss” and “losing weight.” I believe that when we think of weight as being lost, we subconsciously feel that what’s lost must be found, or the loss might subconsciously trigger grief. Whenever I thought of my new lifestyle, I pictured a release of my excess weight. When I shared my journey with others I used the term “release” instead of “loss.” I know this seems like a little thing, but for me, it was huge.

If you’re planning on making some lifestyle changes this year and want to release some weight, remember to take it one day or one meal at a time, eat organic, whole foods when you can and stick with it. There’s no quick fix, but it’s worth the effort!

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New Year’s Resolutions