New Years Resolutions

The new year is just around the corner which means that millions of people will be making goals to achieve in the next 365 days. One of the most common resolutions has to do with loosing weight and achieving “the perfect body”. Every year I hear countless amounts of people saying that they will loose the excess weight, they will build their muscles, and they will get the six pack they always wanted, but only a small fraction actually see any results. It is estimated that only 8% of people actually reach their New Years resolutions. Why is it so hard reach these goals? I have a few tips that will hopefully make it a little easier to stay on track.

My Personal Transformation @alec2austin

My Personal Transformation @alec2austin

The first thing we need to do is realize that small changes can make a big difference. Although you may have a big weight loss goal in mind, making a small change to your diet and exercise plan can make that once out-of-reach dream more attainable. Switching out a snack food for something healthier, not eating before bed, or even simply adding 20 minutes of cardio a few times of week can start the process of reaching your bigger health goals.

Another important idea to adapt when setting a resolution is that instead of just setting a goal, decide on what steps need to be made in order to reach that goal. Making a plan helps you better understand why kind of commitment it is to reach your “dream body.” It is A LOT of work and A LOT of commitment, but that still does not mean that it is unattainable. Once you plan out what needs to be done to loose that extra weight, you need to start applying the changes to your life, but not all at once. Making a lot of drastic changes in a short amount of time literally puts your brain and body into shock, which in turn makes these changes near impossible to adapt. So instead, apply one or two changes at first, and once you have adapted the new changes and turned them more into a habit, you can apply another change or two.

Jen Piccolo @jenthefitfoodie

Jen Piccolo @jenthefitfoodie

The last important thing to understand when making a resolution is that patience is key. Nothing happens over night, especially when it comes to weight loss or muscle building. There is no quick fix. Living a healthy lifestyle is just that, a LIFESTYLE. You have to adapt new habits to a point where you would rather go exercise than sit on the couch all day; you would rather eat chicken and vegetables than a Big Mac; you would rather go to bed than stay up late and watch movies. To some this may sound weird, but by adapting these habits, I have never felt better in my life. I am happier, I feel healthier, I have more energy, I am more productive, I have better focus, and overall live a more fulfilling life.

Think of it this way… If you have a resolution to lose 50 pounds in the new year, that may sound like a big almost impossible obstacle to overcome. 50 pounds?!?!…. That’s a small child! How can you do that? You have 365 days to reach this goal; 12 months to lose 50 pounds. This actually comes out to about 4 pounds every month or 1 pound a week. Now doesn’t that sound a little easier to do? If you set small shorter goals such as “I want to lose 4 pounds in January,” all of a sudden that big intimidating goal now seems way more doable.

Know that you are not alone and that we all are still trying to achieve our dream bodies. There are resources everywhere to help you get where you want to be. I know you can do it!

I hope this article helps you make next year the best year yet! I will help in any way I can and I would love to hear about your progress. Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, ideas for new topics, or updates on your personal fitness successes.

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Forming Healthy Diet Habits and My Diet Challenge

Alec Gym Post 2
As I have said in previous posts, diets SUCK! I still wish I could eat whatever I wanted and still be as healthy and fit as possible, but unfortunately that is not how the world works. I have learned through experience; however, that diets can also be a lot better than you think… It really comes down to how your prepare yourself for your diet.

How many of you have tried starting a diet, and then eventually given up? I will admit that I have… numerous times. I have talked to countless people who have started crash diets and put in a ton of effort to eat well and exercise regularly, but most of these people end up reverting back to their old ways. My big question is WHY? We know we want to look and feel better; we are willing to put in the effort; we are even able to stay on a pretty strict diet for some time. Why then do so many people end up reverting back to their old eating habits?

I got to thinking, and although this is totally based on my personal experience, views and observations, I ask you to just be open minded and dare you to try what I am about to suggest. I believe people don’t succeed on crash diets, because although they want to lead a healthy lifestyle, they jumped right into a diet with little to no preparation. Your body and mind sometimes need to warm-up to an idea in order to really make it work and become a habit. For example, if you had never been swimming before, why would you jump into the deep end of the pool and hope for the best? Surely, many people would come close to drowning. This is the same for diets. If you are so used to eating one way, and all of a sudden change everything you are doing, your body and mind are honestly not ready for the change, leaving you with uncontrollable cravings and needs.
Think about the last diet and exercise plan you tried. Is this what happened to you?

Right now, after about 2 years of constantly working on improving my diet and exercise routine, I can say that I have formed some strong views and habits that have helped shape a healthier lifestyle. Before I started really working on creating this lifestyle, I would go to the gym, maybe twice a week, if that, and I would honestly eat anything I wanted (I would eat fast food and unhealthy foods at restaurants all the time). Now, if I don’t work out for more than 2 days, my body literally feels sluggish and almost sickly and although I hardly ever even want to go near a fast food place anymore, if I even attempt to eat fast food, my stomach almost immediately rejects it. How have I been able to create such habits while I see other people stopping in my local Wendy’s every day?

Donuts

After doing some research of how to form habits, I tried to determine on how long it actually takes to create a lasting habit such as eating healthy. Although some researchers say 21 days is all you need, most psychologists cannot actually put a number on how long it takes. They all seem to agree that different habits obviously take different amounts of time to form. From what I read, I concluded that the smaller the change from someone’s current lifestyle, the less time it takes to actually become a habit that the person will eventually not have to intentionally think about doing. A small change in someone’s lifestyle, such as drinking one more glass of water a day, can take two-three weeks to become a habit. A much larger change in someone’s life, such as going to the gym five days a week, can take hundreds of days to actually become a habit.

After realizing this, I remembered the first diet I ever tried that actually worked for me, that I still unintentionally follow today. It worked because it was a small change from what I was already doing, which made it easy for my body to adapt and form a long lasting habit. I made this little diet up myself in my head one day, but it has helped train my mind and my body to really create healthier eating habits and also prepare me for future diets I was going to try.

HERE IS MY DIET CHALLENGE (aka the first diet that worked for me):
Pick one food that you eat regularly (at least twice a month), that you know is bad for you, that you could live without. Some examples of foods would be french fries, pizza, ice cream, bacon, cake, etc. For me, it was doughnuts. Now totally delete this one food from your diet. I am only asking you to pick ONE food. Whenever you are tempted to eat this food now, just simply say no, or replace it with something much healthier. That’s it! I know it sounds so stupid and easy, but trust me, it will help you in the long run with making healthier choices and help you adapt to other diets in the future. To put it into perspective, I used to eat about 2 Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts a week . I liked eating them, obviously, but I realized I ate them usually out of convenience rather than out of a craving I was having or out of a need. Without eating these 2 doughnuts each week, I saved myself 540 calories and 30g of fat (14g of saturated fat) per week… that’s 28,080 calories and 1,560g of fat (728g of saturated fat) a year. To burn that off, I would have to run for about 35 hours… and I hate running :(. From this diet, I have not had one doughnut for over four years, and now I honestly have no cravings or wants to even try a doughnut again. Right now I am attempting this diet with waffles, and so far, I have gone almost three weeks without eating one waffle, which has saved me bad calories, fat, and a lot of carbs.

So now, I challenge you to try this easy diet out. It is easy! All I am asking you to do is pick one food that you can live without. If you can make it through one month without having this food in your diet, you should be able to start forming healthier habits. NO CHEATING!!!

What are your thoughts on this post? Are you going to try my challenge? Let me know by emailing me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com