With the New Year coming up, it is standard practice for people to make resolutions – promises on changes to make on the coming year. The problem is that these resolutions typically fall by the way side. Why is this? Maybe the grand statement to change for the long term is just too hard to follow. Maybe there are better ways to try to make a change, such as trying a one-time or short term change. The hope is that upon trying something once or for shorter term the success will be a small step to a longer success. It’s kind of like in football – get a first down before you try for the end zone. A few first downs and you will likely get there.
I recently wrote about one idea, taking the month of your birthday to do something new.
Fitbie at msn.com just did an article on 52 ways, one per week, to cut fat. Each of these can be tried for a week and then the chances of one ore a few sticking is pretty good. There are a lot of choices and doing a different one every week could be tough, and not all may be possible or apply, but if you tried one per month and picked 12 our of them that would be a start. I actually do quite a few of them related to food, but my 12 picks of the 52 would possibly look like this:
- Drink two cups of coffee, black. A study in the journal of Physiology & Behavior found that drinking two cups of caffeinated coffee can boost your metabolism by 16% compared with the decaf kind. Make sure to drink it black though. The 67 calories in a spoonful of sugar and a tablespoon of cream can negate caffeine’s calorie-burning benefits.
- Blot your pizza with a napkin. You’ll dab off about 4.5 g of fat—or close to 30 calories per slice. Of course, depending on the pizza and your toppings, the amount of excess oil you can remove varies, notes Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet. If you want a healthier slice, she prefers one loaded with veggies.
- Douse your food in Tabasco. Capsaicin—the spicy compound found in the white membrane of chili peppers—has been shown to rev up your metabolism and can torch somewhere near an extra 50 calories. Eating salsa may boost fat burn a little bit, says Cassity, but don’t let that give you license to pile on the chips and guac. You still need to watch out for overall calorie intake.
- Eat breakfast. A study conducted by the U.S. Navy found that people who ate breakfast daily helped boost the metabolisms of its personnel by as much as 10 %.
- Drink cold water. German researchers found that your metabolism can increase by as much as 30% during the 10 minutes after you drink a cold glass. Why? They speculate that your body burns more calories as it tries to warm the water. (Search: How many glasses of water should you drink a day?)
- Munch on almonds. Spanish researchers found that people who eat a diet high in MUFAs lose more fat from their middles than people who follow a high-carb diet or a high-fat one.
- See the sun. Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that people who had higher levels of vitamin D were able to lose more weight on a reduced-calorie diet than those who had inadequate levels—even though both cut 750 calories from their diets. Your body generates vitamin D naturally through sunlight, and it’s also found in foods like salmon, tuna, fortified milk and cereals, and yogurt.
- Have half a grapefruit. There’s no need to go on an all-grapefruit diet, but incorporating the fruit into your diet can help you lose weight, say researchers from Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, CA. They found that people who ate half a grapefruit before every meal lost 3 pounds more than those who didn’t. Why? Not only is grapefruit a good source of fiber, but it also seems to help regulate insulin levels.
- Slurp broth-based soups. A bowl of creamy New England clam chowder contains 154 calories and 5 g of fat. Switch to the broth-based Manhattan clam chowder at 73 calories and 2 g of fat per cup. Penn State researchers found that people who had a cup of soup before lunch ate 20% fewer calories at the meal. When you choose a low-cal soup to fill up on beforehand, you can actually consume fewer calories overall, too.
- Take a fish oil supplement. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who took 6 g of fish oil a day and exercised three times a week lost 3.4 pounds more in 12 weeks than those who just hit the gym and didn’t take a supplement.
- Load up on lobster. Arginine, an amino acid found in lobster, nuts, seeds, and watermelon may help you burn more fat, according to a study in the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism. Researchers followed two groups of people on a diet and exercise program. One group received an 8.3 g arginine supplement daily. While both groups lost about 7 pounds in 21 days, those who took the arginine supplement lost only fat, while 57% of the weight loss of the control group was from muscle.
- Eat more eggs. The incredible edible is considered a perfect protein (what does that mean?). University of Arkansas researchers demonstrated that high-quality protein, such as eggs, can help older adults build and maintain muscle. Because muscle burns about 50 calories more per pound than fat, you won’t just be stronger—you’ll torch through more calories on a daily basis, too.
Here’s another plan. Take one step at a time. Maybe you want to switch to a healthier diet, even go mostly vegetarian. Do it one food at a time. Rather than go cold turkey and quit meat altogether, for example, each (insert time period here: week, month, quarter/season) replace one food type with a new one. If you want to quit smoking – though most I know of that have done it did quit cold turkey – reduce your amount by x per x time period. When you get down to a few a day maybe you will ask yourself – why am I even still doing this?
With some of these tricks or tips, this year we can all resolve to use these better methods that may help us succeed.