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5 Tips to a Healthy 2014 and BEYOND

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  I’m sure that a good portion of you have put together a list of resolutions, some including getting out of debt, quitting smoking, visiting family more often, traveling, losing weight and eating healthier, among many others.

Several studies have shown that most resolutions go out of the window in just a few weeks, with only a small percent of people making them sticking with their goals.  I personally think that most may not keep their resolutions because they initially start off with very vague and unreasonable benchmarks, make too many at one time, lack the motivation to do anything different, or they look at the list as “2014” goals instead of LIFE goals.  With a combination of any of these, you may be setting yourself up to fail.

When I work with some of my clients, I encourage them to not necessarily focus solely on losing weight, as you can do that by starving yourself (or hitting the crack pipe).  If you focus on creating healthy habits (which will last a lot longer than a goal of losing a few pounds) and exercise (MAKE TIME), the weight will generally come off.  Also, if you have Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and the like, focusing on foods that can better your condition may help you ease off/not have to use some of your medication (as some of medication leads to weight gain).  Easier said than done, right?  Well here are a few tips that you can do to be more successful than in the past:

1. Keep a food journal – Before making huge changes, OBSERVE and RECORD how you currently eat.  Write down everything you eat for one to two weeks. Don’t lie to yourself by not including that muffin you ate while writing the list! I know that you’re aware what you put into your mouth, but seeing it on paper may add a bit more perspective and urgency to wanting to do better.

2. Take it step by step – Cutting down incrementally, instead of all at once, doesn’t come as such a shock to your body.  If your eating habits are atrocious, completely shifting to being a vegan probably won’t last long. Start by substituting that fried fish for baked, eat one or two less desserts per week. This will allow you to see that it is possible to do it, encouraging you to keep going toward achieving your overall goals!  Remember, this is a lifetime marathon, not a year-long race.

3. Set specific realistic goals – Coming into 2014 saying that “I want to lose weight” doesn’t mean much.  If you lose one pound, I guess you did “accomplish your goal” per se.  Without specific benchmarks, such as 40 pounds by the end of the year, you’re not really shooting for anything, and will be more apt to be satisfied with anything.  It also may not appear as daunting if you view your goals in incremental steps (i.e. if you’re looking to lose 40 pounds over a year’s time, view it as 3.33 pounds per month, which looks much more attainable).

4. EXERCISE – A LOT of us make excuses about why we don’t exercise, all the while seeing the physical and medical results of not doing so.  Healthy eating and exercise go together like yin and yang, peanut butter and jelly and Cephus and Reesie (“We Tight”). Period.   You can possibly be more successful by finding a workout partner with similar goals; it may not only possibly give you more motivation, but it can definitely provide a means of accountability.  If the gym isn’t for you, exercise in smaller groups with a personal trainer, or check out some of the online workout video reviews on JETmag.com!

5. Once you put together a plan, STICK TO IT – Why even take the time to put the plan together if you’re not going to follow through with it?!?  The more realistic your plan and goals are, the easier they will be to follow.  Discipline, discipline, DISCIPLINE!  And if you fall off the horse, dust yourself off and GET BACK ON!! Giving up sucks…..even worse than watching my Chicago Bears lose that Green Bay game (#daaaaaaaaabears).

Vision yourself where you want to be, stay motivated and committed, and you will get there!  Again, Happy New Year and GO BULLS!!

More About the Chef:

Chef Cordell passionately pursues educating others how to build healthy cooking and eating habits for life via cooking classes, grocery store tours, kitchen makeovers, public speaking, corporate wellness training, restaurant consulting, etc. Through his nonprofit work, he looks to offer community based solutions for education of,  and access to, healthier food solutions.

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