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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Years Resolution You Can Stick With

We've all had a New Year's resolution at some point in our lives. You decide to make a change, you tell your friends about it, you write it down. A few months pass and you realize you've made that change. You feel better. And then....the inevitable happens: you backslide. Then, most likely, you feel bad about yourself and give up. Why is it that resolutions fail? Quite simply, we resist change. Our body does not distinguish between a good change (I'm going to lose weight!) and a bad change. It just resists change. 

According to George Leonard in Mastery, in order to make a change for life, we have to understand that our body will resist change. That awareness, he claims, helps us deal with the inevitable backslides that arise while we are on the path to change. So what can you do when you feel yourself starting to slip? Maybe you made a commitment to exercise and you skipped a few days. Instead of using that as an excuse to quit entirely, get back on the path of consistency. And how do you make something consistent in your life? Resolution Tip #1: Make it a ritual. Many surgeons, for example, perform the same rituals before going into surgery. They wash their hands and put on their gowns in the same way each time to rid their minds of outside concerns and focus on the task at hand.  So let's say you've committed to start working out. Try to do it at the same time each day, try putting music on while you're getting ready, get a fresh green juice right after your workout, come home and take a nice shower. These little rituals help solidify your resolution as part of your daily life. Resolution Tip #2: Develop a support system. Whether it's your trainer, nutrition coach or friends who are also trying a gluten-free diet, a support system is proven to keep you in line with your resolution. Why? Because as humans we like the feeling of being apart, together. We like to be independent but know that we are part of a team. Just knowing that there are others with similar goals will help you when you start to backslide, and encourage you when you stay on track. And finally, Resolution Tip #3: Give yourself a deadline. While health and fitness is a lifelong practice, it is without question that you will do better with tangible, reasonable deadlines in place. Within the larger goal of losing weight for example, you could commit to working out three days a week for the next eight weeks. These smaller, more accessible goals will inspire you to stay on course, and keep you from feeling overwhelmed, or feeling like your ultimate goal is too far out of reach. 

So....Want a more specific new years resolution you can stick to? 

Eat A Real Breakfast! 

Want a great resolution that will help you lose weight AND feel better? Get over the idea of eating traditional "breakfast foods" as the first meal of the day and instead, make your breakfast look like lunch or dinner. While we've been trained that cereal, oatmeal, yogurt and granola are "healthy" breakfast foods, the truth is that all of these breakfast options are one thing to our bodies: sugar. Our bodies don't know the difference between lunch, dinner or breakfast. Starting your day out with pancakes (even if they are gluten-free), fruit, dairy and grains sets the insulin tone for the rest of the day. In other words, what you choose to eat for breakfast has a profound impact on your food choices, energy levels and ability to burn fat as fuel for the next 12 hours. 

I want to eat better for breakfast but those foods just don't appeal to me! 

To most people who are new to a traditional diet, breakfast poses the biggest challenge. They know they need to eat a full meal, but the only thing that is appealing to them in the morning is toast or granola. Reaching for these foods in the morning is nothing more than a bad habit. You reach for them because you've been reaching for them every day for the last ten years. Pay attention the next time you watch TV or flip through a magazine. Breakfast foods are one of the most advertised foods in existence. Why? Because people are rushed and need something easy to eat, and it doesn't get much easier than opening up a box of cereal. 

We have been conditioned to believe that we want something sweet or bland in the morning, but just like at lunch and dinner time, our body wants protein, fat and vegetables at breakfast. What's the best way to break a bad habit? Stop buying bad breakfast foods. In order to start this new, healthier habit, it's time to get rid of all other breakfast options from your pantry. In fact, you shouldn't even want to eat something that can survive in a pantry! 

Ok, I won't eat cereal but I also don't have time to cook. I'll just skip breakfast! 

Skipping breakfast is also a really bad idea if you're interested in losing weight. Simply put, when you skip breakfast, your body believes you are starving, and consequently, you become more likely to store your next meal as body fat. So if you don't want to wear your lunch, eat your breakfast. Even though mornings are hectic, giving yourself just 15 extra minutes to cook up a quick and easy breakfast in the morning can make all of the difference when it comes to your fat loss goals. 

What should breakfast look like? A vegetable, a fat and a protein. 

Because many of you are in a rush in the morning, a simple way to get vegetables into your diet is to make a quick scramble. Here's my favorite recipe (plus the total cooking time is 10 minutes). 

Grated Zucchini, Sausage and Egg Scramble:

Put one tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan on medium heat. While the coconut oil is heating up, use a cheese grater to grate 1/2 of a zucchini. Once grated, press the zucchini with a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture. Cut up a Prather Ranch (or other high quality) sausage and sauté it along with the zucchini until both start to brown (a few minutes). Whisk one or two eggs together and pour into the pan, stirring the mixture until the eggs are fully cooked. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and enjoy. Really in a rush? You can easily grate the zucchini the night before. 

Fun nutrition fact: Zucchini is incredibly high in vitamin A, making it a powerful immune booster. It also contains high levels of potassium, which is an essential mineral for organ, tissue and cell function.  

Here's to a healthy and happy 2013! 

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." -Goethe