A New Year, a Continued Outlook

It’s the beginning of a new year.

I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts I read yesterday about losing weight or quitting this or that. Where were all of the empowering statuses?

It’s around this time of year, right after the holiday pounds have crept on, that people start to make their “New Year Resolutions”. Many of these resolutions revolve around weight; people vow to lose an X number of pounds, hit the gym every day, never eat chocolate again, cut out alcohol, whatever it takes. But is that really sustainable? Not really. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve vowed these same things in the past but it never got me anywhere. Restricting yourself from the things you love won’t do you any good, it’ll just make you hate the process, and you’ll end up reverting back to your old ways after that one “cheat cookie”. Then you beat yourself up and gorge on anything and everything you love to make yourself feel better. What a vicious cycle.

My philosophy: make sustainable changes. Yes, I have a wedding coming up in five and a half months where I’ll be the center of attention in an white dress, but at the same time, I know that if I crash diet it’s not only not healthy, I won’t be able to sustain it for a long period of time. Why work hard for something for months just to have your goal date pass you by and end up reverting to your old ways just because there’s nothing to work towards anymore? I’d rather build on something that I can keep improving upon after the wedding.

So here’s my plan for 2014:

1. Start making healthier choices. This includes taking an interest in what I’m putting in my body by planning meals accordingly.
2. Sit down on Saturday every week and write out the week’s meal plan. Healthy dinner ideas will help fuel the next day’s lunch for work.
3. Go grocery shopping on Sundays to stock up for the week. Make sure I’m using things I already have instead of buying new.
4. Be prepared with enough healthy choices to make a change midweek if the plan isn’t working for me.
5. Be active for no less than 30 minutes every day. This could include just a simple walk, but something is better than nothing. Work up to at least an hour.
6. Go to bed earlier. Sleep is important.
7. Going to bed earlier will help get me up at a decent time. Work towards getting up an hour earlier than normal so that I can actually sit and have a leisurely breakfast. Starting my day off in the right mindset will help fuel my day with positive energy.
8. By the end of 2014 I want to be able to do 30 push ups in a row and I’d like to be able to run a 5k without feeling like I’m going to die from my asthma.
9. I want to have arms I can be proud to show off.
10. I want to wear a bathing suit with confidence this summer.
11. I want to feel beautiful on my wedding day.
12. I want to work hard and be proud of my marks and GPA by the end of the year.
13. I want to work hard enough to gain admission to the Environmental Design program.
14. I want to work towards gaining a job that I really enjoy.
15. Save instead of spend.

Did you notice that none of these resolutions were to “lose weight”? Losing weight isn’t the answer, being happy is. All of these things will contribute to my happiness. All of these things are about adding positions to my life, not eliminating weaknesses. I was watching the documentary “Hungry for Change” last year when something they said really resonated with me (not a direct quote):

Don’t try to cut bad habits out of your life, introduce good habits. Eventually, the good habits will outnumber the bad, and the bad habits will naturally fall away.

What a simple and yet powerful statement. I’ve been trying to follow this ever since. Having one bad food day or a day without exercise isn’t going to throw you off if you don’t let it. It’s about making small changes towards a brighter future. Slip ups are natural. Everyone is going to have them. Don’t beat yourself up! Just pick up those good habits again and keep going.

Here are some things that motivate me:

1. Oxygen Magazine. The magazine went bankrupt last year and my heart completely broke. Where was I going to get all of my good advice? Concrete solutions to my problems? Magazines like Shape pad their pages with “Better Sex” workouts and makeup pages. I wanted a fitness magazine about fitness not teenage girl crap. I’m so glad that Oxygen is back! They have a new publisher now and while they’re still getting back on their feet content wise, it’s such a huge breath of fresh air compared to the other “fitness” magazines for women. Oxygen focusses on getting stronger, making good, concrete, lasting choices and better yourself from the inside out. This is what I want to focus on! Thank you Oxygen! I will be a subscriber for as long as I possibly can! (I’m hoping it’s forever!)

2. Fitness and clean eating pages on instagram. A few of my favourites are @nicolemwilkins, @wayofgray, @fitness_recipes, @deliciouslyfitnhealthy, @fantasticallyfit, @censkiii, @loriharder, @chlooooejade.

3. My friends personal fitness gains. I have a friend that is also getting married this year (one week after me!) that is trying to lose weight. Her triumphs show me that I can do it to. She’s also not the type of person that does things out of spite – she shares what has worked for her and we brainstorm things together. She’s definitely been a rock for me. Find a friend that you can take your journey with!

4. My clothes. Looser fitting clothes will always motivate me more than a number on the scale. A number doesn’t matter. It’s about how you feel and look. Two people could be the same weight and look radically different due to muscle mass and body fat. I want to focus on gaining muscle and losing body fat. If that means that I end up at 150lbs, great. If it means I end up at 170lbs or 130lbs, great. It doesn’t matter as long as I feel strong and beautiful.

What are some things that motivate you to continue towards your dreams?

All in all, make realistic resolutions this year. Goals that you can be proud to say that you completed at the end of 2014. Leave me a comment and tell me what your goals are and what motivates you!

Cherry Topped New York Cheesecake

cherry cheesecake

302 calories per serving (cut in 12), 34g carbs, 13g fat, 9g protein, 448g sodium, 31g sugar

Ingredients

15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tbsp butter, melted
4 (8oz) pkgs light cream cheese
1-1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.