Vail Daily column: Stick to your New Year’s resolutions
January 16, 2017
I am launching a campaign against your spare tire today. Have you already forgotten? You made a resolution a few weeks ago. Are you waning already? Every new year, masses of people attempt to resolve fitness deficits that elude them. Historically, the ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year's resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the New Year — during a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. These promises could be considered the forerunners of our New Year's resolutions.
Research has shown that 45 percent of Americans make New Year's resolutions, yet only 8 percent of us succeed at reaching our goal. Weight loss is the No. 1 resolution people make, and we are failing miserably. Whatever we're doing, isn't working. Why is that?
Maintaining the gusto and momentum that recedes every New Year has many implications. I feel that failure is inevitable for most because the habits created by overweight people aren't easily changed. If you really want to slim down, then you must make radical changes that promote weight loss. Slim people have regulations and guidelines in place that keep them lean; their hefty counterparts maintain emotional, psychological and physiological mechanisms that promote obesity and disease. If you want to mirror the success of the lean, then do the following.
Exercise is a Habit
All fit people understand that regular exercise and activity is a non-negotiable. Living an active lifestyle is a major component of who they are. It doesn't matter if they're sick, tired, overworked or stressed. Exercise is a habit. By the way, consistency trumps intensity every time. If exercise isn't your thing and never has been, then you must get moving if you're considering weight loss, and keeping the pounds off for good. However, exercise doesn't have to be structured gym activity. Regular movement and activity such as walking, hiking or merely performing chores each day is all that you need. Aim for walking 10,000 steps per day for example. This seems to be a good number to aim for that can be tracked on all smartphones. Don't get fancy, just make sure you're moving every day. The opposite of reasonable activity holds true as well. If you're a hard charging gym-goer, don't sabotage your efforts by sitting behind a desk all day. It's great that you exercise hard five days per week in the gym — or that you go for a vigorous daily run — but it's important to regularly walk around the office, or other minor activities that keep the fire stoked.
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The most important habit for leanness is mindful eating. The genetically gifted aside, all lean humans didn't arrive lean on accident. My new motto for the husky is simply "eat less today." How many times have you suffered hunger pangs and ignored them? Not very often I assume. Most of us are uncomfortable being hungry. Show me a successful dieter who has lost significant weight, and I'll show you a man who has gone to bed hungry most nights. The idea that you can lose weight and not be in a state of hunger is largely a myth. Get comfortable being hungry — it's part of the deal. Look at this as an opportunity to burn fat. Eating every time you're hungry doesn't create opportunities for fat burning; if you eat, then your body metabolizes food for energy, not your spare tire. This is common sense, folks. Thin people eat less food than fat people. It's really that simple. Fat people eat too much in general. Also, eat more vegetables and drink more water. Aim to guzzle half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. A 130 pound woman should drink 65 ounces of water every day.
At the end of the day, when you really want to eat that bowl of ice cream, you shouldn't. When you don't feel like exercising because you don't have time, then you have to make time. Just remember — being lean, fit and strong feels better than anything tastes. Have a great week!
Ryan Richards has a B.S. from Ohio University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and the owner of R2HP, an athlete consulting and personal training company. Richards' passion comes from overcoming childhood obesity and a T1-L3 spinal fusion. Contact him at r2hp.com or 970-401-0720.
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