Five New Habits To Start In The New Year

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By By Carmella Sebastian, MD, MS

newyearsThe start of a new year always brings resolutions to eat better, get in better shape or lose weight. Don’t get me wrong; these are all great resolutions, but they don’t always last. By February, most of us revert back to our old ways. Why is that? Well, we tend to go full throttle making all of these big changes all at once. My advice to make healthy habits last is by starting out small. Make one small change at a time. Once that change becomes a habit, move onto the next. For example, take habit #1 and incorporate it into your life for 2 weeks or until it sticks. It sticking means that you can do it most days of the week without even thinking about it. When #1 is “stuck”, add #2 and so on.

Here are five new habits to start in the New Year that are easy to incorporate into your daily life and can result in meaningful weight loss:

1. Ditch the elevator; take the stairs
It’s been said that you can lose three pounds a year by simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Work on the 20th floor of a building? No problem. Take the elevator to the 15th floor and take the stairs the rest of the way. Climbing one flight of stairs burns 10 calories, so if you walk up those five flights to your office, you have easily burned 50 calories in just a couple of minutes. In fact, just walk as much as possible. Going to the store or running errands? Park your car as far away from the entrance as possible.

2. Eat breakfast
It really is the most important meal of the day, that’s not just a catchy slogan or successful marketing phrase. After sleeping for hours at night, your body wakes up in starvation mode. Your body needs the fuel to kick start your metabolism and give you energy for the rest of the day. Studies have shown that breakfast eaters do better at work than non-breakfast eaters. They also maintain a healthy weight easier than their non-breakfast counterparts. It does not have to be fancy. A little oatmeal, a piece of whole wheat toast or some Greek yogurt will get you going.

waterbottle3. Drink more water
Water is important to every system in our body. It flushes out toxins, boosts metabolism, helps build muscle, carries nutrients, and so on. It’s also calorie free and can help you feel full. You should aim to drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day. If you’re a soda drinker, even diet, try swapping one soda a day for water until you’re off soda completely. Cutting just one 140-calorie soda a day equals skipping enough calories to lose 14 pounds in a year. Imagine if you cut more than one soda out of your day.

4. 10 minutes of meditation a day
Too much stress can lead to an imbalance of hormones and can cause weight gain. Take 10 minutes a day to sit in meditation. Allow the stress you feel to fade away. Think about your blessings and just take deep breaths. I used to sit in my car in the garage (with the motor off!) at the end of the day before I left the “work day” and entered the “mommy night”. I swear that it kept me sane.

Plate your food in the kitchen and take it to the dining room table to eat…..

5. Plate your food in the kitchen and take it to the dining room table to eat
This will not only help you control your initial portion size, but will prevent you from going back for seconds. Platters and bowls of food on the dining room table are just asking to be eaten. Sitting down at the table also helps you to consciously and slowly eat your food. Standing up while eating or eating in front of the TV can result in mindless eating or overeating. Plus it takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach it is full, so eat slowly and enjoy your food.

Start by incorporating just one of these new habits into your daily life. Once it becomes automatic, which may take a couple of weeks to a month, add another one. These little changes can add up to big weight loss and a healthier YOU.

Carmella Sebastian, MD, MS, is board certified in internal medicine and holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration. Dr. Carm, as she’s known, is a nationally renowned wellness educator with a special interest in women at mid-life and women’s health. Dr. Carm can be followed on Twitter – @Dr_Carm