Making resolutions is easy. Maintaining them is the challenging part. Like most of us, you made promises to yourself at the beginning of this year and you may well have discovered (or rediscovered) that fact already. Who isn’t looking for a fresh start or a new beginning to the next twelve months? Now that the celebrations are over, the hard work begins. Weight loss is one of the top items on peoples lists of new years’ resolutions and it seems to be a popular subject of conversation among most individuals at the start of the year, it seems.
The answer to keeping those weight loss pledges may be right in your own kitchen. Making the change that could bring you success this year could be sitting right behind your refrigerator door or your kitchen pantry. Just think, if you decide to take up the four-week challenge below and follow some simple steps, then, you will have succeeded and you’ll end up feeling better for it.
Week One: Start by going through your refrigerator and pantry and identify “unhealthy” foods that need to be discarded. Remove all oils other than a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil (first cold pressing) and have a bottle of expeller-pressed canola oil along with a small bottle of dark-roasted sesame oil. These are all the fats you need when cooking. Throw out your artificial sweeteners that contain ingredients like saccharin or aspartame and any products that are made with them. You might also like to get rid of products that contain artificial colouring which will be listed on the product label by phrases like “colour added”, “artificial colours”, or the name of a particular dye or colour such as
“FD & C red #3”. Make a commitment to read labels on food products and begin paying special attention to the fat content you consume on a daily basis especially the saturated fat. Try to keep your total daily fat intake as low as possible so aim for 20 to 25 percent of calories in your daily diet that comes from fat. Try to buy products whose labels have very few ingredients and very few additives or preservatives.
This week start by eating some fresh broccoli. There is an easy recipe for preparing broccoli below. Eat broccoli at least twice this week and enjoy. Add salmon to your menu this week at least once. Begin taking notice of portion size. A serving of salmon is no bigger than the size of a deck of cards. A portion of broccoli is about a cup. If you don’t like salmon, then, include one tablespoon of ground flaxseed sprinkled on your cereal or salad daily. This first week, begin walking 20 minutes a day.
Week Two: This week, choose a day where you don’t eat meat. Prepare a meatless meal and enjoy the flavours that vegetables bring to your palate. How about a lentil dish or bean dish that is easy and tasty. You might like to try the quinoa pudding recipe included at the end of this article. Continue the changes in week one and just add a meatless day to your routine. Add 5 minutes to your walk and enjoy a 25-minute walk every day.
Week Three: This week keep up the week one and week two changes you have already made and try some Japanese or Chinese green tea. If you drink a lot of coffee or black tea, then try to substitute the green tea for some of your usual coffees or other tea beverages. This week, try to increase your consumption of whole grains. Choose whole wheat or whole grain breads and cereals. Try brown rice instead of white rice and whole wheat, kamut, spelt or rice pasta instead of white pasta. This week drink more water. Aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Keeping hydrated is very important and continue the changes you’ve made in week one and two. Keep walking!
Week Four: This week try to eat an extra serving of fruits and vegetables with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make the choices fun like putting all kinds of fruits into a fruit salad or add different ingredients to your lettuce to make a different salad. Try the heart healthy salad recipe included below. Buy a piece of fresh gingerroot and make some ginger tea (recipe included). It’s great for the digestive system and it boosts the immune system as well. Add some cooked green vegetables to one of your meals this week such as kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, beet greens or spinach. Try eating greens in a meal once a week from now on. Continue the changes you’ve made since week one and add 5 more minutes to your walk so you are walking 30 minutes a day!
These are just small steps to making some very important diet changes that will last. If you can keep these small changes along with regular exercise and make it a part of your lifestyle, then you will see positive results. You will feel better and have more energy and you may find that you have shed a few pounds. As Thomas Edison once wrote, “One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.