2012 is nearly upon us - it is time to get in gear, shed those last pounds, get fit and most importantly, get healthy! Here are 20 small changes that can get you big results for the new year. Don't make these new year's resolutions... rather, make them new ideas for a better you.
- Stop Eating Late at Night
While there are no conclusive studies to show that eating late at night causes weight gain, people hardly crave salad in the middle of the night. Break bad eating habits by resisting the urge to snack late at night.
- Eat Your Veggies
Vegetables help you stay full and are chock full of essential vitamins and antioxidants you need to be healthy.
- Keep It in the Family
Cook with your family, take a walk with the dogs, play with the kids or sign up for a couples run. Include your family in your fitness goals and you will all benefit.
- Start Packing a Lunch
When the day gets busy, it seems easy to just grab some fast food but think of how easy it would be to already have your lunch packed and ready. Not only does it save money, it's efficient.
- Become a Stair Master
Take the stairs every chance you get. It may be hard at first, but not only will daily activities be easier, so will looking at your lower body in the mirror.
- Drink From the Fountain of Youth
You will have more energy, be less hungry, have better skin, and increase your metabolism if you actually drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day.
- Count Calories
Track your calories for a few days. You might be surprised how much you are actually eating and then adjust accordingly. For an average person, 2,000 calories are recommended per day.
- Limit Restaurant Outings
The number one way to control your diet is to cook your own food. Not only do you know precisely what is in your meal and the caloric content, it will save you money.
- Stick to the Grocery List
Write down everything you know you need and literally check it off as you go. Don't be tempted by strategically placed unhealthy food, stick to your list and then leave.
- Sleep In
While we all need different amounts of sleep to operate at our very best, the majority of us do not get enough rest. Give yourself the recuperation your body needs by getting enough sleep.
- Take a Stroll
Carve out half an hour to day to take a brisk walk.
- Strut Your Stuff
As the pounds begin to drop, don't be afraid to buy some cute clothes to show off your new body! Not only will you feel better, it will keep you motivated.
- Show Yourself Some Love
Look yourself in the mirror and say "I did a great job today!" or "I like how I look." It never hurts to get positive affirmation, especially when it's from yourself.
- Down Time
Stress causes the body to hold onto excess body weight so set aside some time for yourself to relax.
- Learn Some New Recipes
People who stay thin year round know tons of healthy recipes so you never get bored of a clean diet. Become one of these people!
- Try Something Funky
Step out of your comfort zone. Unorthodox training techniques like yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and Crossfit are cool and different ways to get in shape.
- Give Up a Bad Habit
Whether it's smoking, drinking, cookies, or skipping workouts, pick one bad habit to give up and focus on better ones.
- Listen to Your Body
Start noticing when you're full and put the utensils down at that point. Don't wait until you get tired of the taste, because most of us continue to eat even if we are full. You don't need to clean your plate but you do need to listen to your body.
- Go Pro
Pro-tein, that is! Adding more protein to your diet can increase lean body mass and help kick start your metabolism. So have some meat with that bread!
- Treat Yourself
When you succeed at a goal or have been good all week, treat yourself to something you've been craving, just don't overdo it!
You don't have to do all 20 (but we're not stopping you), however you would be surprised by what a few small changes can do for your overall lifestyle so start today. There's no need to wait for the new year!