January is back...the worst month of the year. Am I right? The weather is usually crappy, the workload is difficult and there's no vacation in sight. And to top it off, many folks are typically struggling to squeeze into their favorite pants - courtesy of all the holiday-related indulging. Yup, I've spent the past week hopping back on the healthy bandwagon...regular trips to the gym, calorie counting and all that jazz.
And for anyone else in the same boat, the Calorie Control Council recently shared some healthy tips for the New Year. I will definitely be embracing this advice as I get back into the swing of things.
- Leftovers need to go. Any holiday leftovers that can't be converted into low-calorie meals need to be tossed out, ASAP. Sweets need to be rationed to one treat per day or tossed out with the other leftovers. Start cruising low-calorie recipe blogs for meal ideas immediately and read up on portion sizes.
- Enjoy the Great Outdoors. While it might feel cold outside, January and February can still have good days for an outdoor activity – consider going out walking or jogging in the afternoon, when the temperature peaks. Get outside and take advantage of the brisker temperatures by bicycling, hiking, jogging and playing golf or tennis. Discover park trails or take a walk by the lake. In places where snow falls, try cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Or, if you live near the water, try kayaking or get out and play a vigorous game of fetch with your dog. Remember, exercise comes in different forms. Cleaning out junk from storage rooms, home improvement projects, and even doing yard work can also help get the heart pumping.
- Go to class. Have you always wanted to try tai chi or yoga? How about a trapeze class or boxing? Many gyms, private fitness clubs and park districts start up a new round of classes in January, so scan the schedules to see if something catches your interest. After all, a well-rounded fitness regimen is important.
- Cut back on the sweets. To help maintain a healthier shape, consider the calorie savings provided by low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages. Products sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners allow consumers to enjoy their favorite meals without the extra calories. For example, drinking a diet soda can save 150 calories a day. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a 15-pound weight loss. Choosing sugar-free chocolate will save you 50 calories a day – or five pounds – by year’s end.
- Lighten up on drinks. After the midnight toasts from New Year's are over, it's a good time to consider cutting back on the number of alcoholic beverages you consume and even the type of drinks you still endulge in. Alcohol can rack up a lot of empty calories, especially regular beer and mixed drinks that are high in sugar. Consider some lighter ingredients for the mixed drinks, stick to one glass of wine, and opt for a light beer when possible. The calorie savings will be worth it.