With 2017 right around the corner, now is when many Canadians – including those living right here in Vancouver – will begin to set New Year’s resolutions. The most popular New Year’s resolution for Canadians and people all over the world is weight loss. However, it is also the one New Year’s resolution that is most commonly broken; not because it’s not doable, but because people often expect too much at once and become discouraged when immediate results aren’t seen. Thus, it is important to create a strategy that is healthy and makes your goals easy to achieve and maintain.
With the holidays, certain foods are often more readily available than the norm. Office parties and pre-holiday get-togethers and festivities often include sweets (such as chocolate or candy) and alcohol, which are both high in calorie content as well as sugar, and can cause one to gain weight (and inches.) If you have been stressing over your weight this holiday season, the important thing is to relax and remember that you can get back on track as easily as you fell off track – all it takes is some realistic goal-setting and determination.
First and foremost, if you are looking to lose weight in 2017, try setting a weekly goal. Losing 1 to 2 lbs. per week is easily doable. If you try a crash diet and expect immediate results, or expect too much too soon, chances are you will become frustrated and want to throw in the towel. It is also important to point out that weight loss and weight management doesn’t even necessarily mean having to diet. Instead, it’s all about eating well and ensuring you’re making the right choices. Eating foods that are low-carb as well as choosing low-carb snacks is beneficial for weight loss and weight management. You should also make sure you are eating a healthy breakfast each morning – skipping breakfast can cause overeating and also play a role in weight gain. If you find yourself craving sweets, substitute them for grapes/berries and other nutritious, low-calorie alternatives. You should also increase your protein intake, as this can help to prolong the feeling of fullness, making you less hungry throughout the day and less likely to have cravings. Low-fat protein sources include thinly sliced turkey breast, yogurt, cottage cheese, and soy. If a low-carb diet is something you think you would want to continue long-term, Vancouver physician Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends various options on his blog, including a look at the myths and benefits of going low-carb. Thirst can also be easily mistaken for hunger. As such, keeping a bottle of water nearby and drinking that throughout the day can also help you feel less hungry and more full. (Water also has many other added benefits including increased energy, a boosted immune system, and improved skin complexion.)
Exercise is also key. Not only does it also help with weight loss, but exercise also boosts your metabolism and can improve the mood, in addition to having other benefits. Keeping fit can be as simple as going for a 20-minute walk or jog. For those who prefer staying indoors, there are many affordable gyms around Vancouver as well as community centers that have exercise equipment. The City of Vancouver also offers various fitness programs for people of all ages. For a long list of health benefits attached to exercise, click here.
While sticking to a New Year’s resolution isn’t always easy, it’s important to think positive. Having low self-esteem can trigger overeating, so remember to stay relaxed and tell yourself that you can attain any goal you set for yourself.
For more information, follow Dr. Ghahary on Twitter or Instagram.