One area I’m looking at as I formulate my 2011 resolutions is health. My guess is that most resolutions fall into this category – people are always saying they want to lose 20 pounds, eat better, go to the gym, and so forth.
I tend to think that health related resolutions work better when they are tied to concrete lifestyle changes. When you make “I will lose 20 pounds” your goal, you don’t have a lot of specific day by day decision points to keep you on track, you just have a big nebulous goal that you might or might not achieve, and you know what they say: if you aim at nothing you will always hit it.
One thing I really like about Jillian Michaels’ book Master Your Metabolism is the focus on making concrete changes in your diet and nutrition that will cumulatively make you healthier and leaner. Instead of calorie counting and cutting fat or carbs, Jillian’s book goes into great depth about different health problems, imbalances, and diseases common in Western culture and how nutrition can support or even cure those issues. I learned a great deal while reading this book, and came away with a lot of ideas for how to further amend our family’s diet to be healthier without breaking the budget. My one complaint with the book is that the section on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was not as exhaustive as I was hoping it would be since I read somewhere that Jillian has PCOS too so I thought perhaps she had researched dietary changes helpful for the condition. That said, I also know that the main thing with PCOS is eliminating refined sugars and flours and balancing insulin, and the book does go into detail on those topics.
I also checked out The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook and was pleased to find a condensed version of the research and condition descriptions from Master Your Metabolism, along with specific recommendation of healthy and often inexpensive foods to boost nutritional deficiencies and really tasty recipes. So far I have tried Blueberry Banana Muffins and Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins (made with maple syrup instead of sugar and whole grain flours), and Lentil Sweet Potato Coriander Stew and they were all delicious. I marked lots of other recipes to try out, because I am still learning how to substitute healthier whole foods for common ingredients.
In addition to nutrition, I am setting specific exercise goals. Surprise, surprise, my favorite workouts are from Jillian’s collection. I’ve tried a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of workout DVDs, and these are the ones I’ve found are most challenging and that give the most return for my time. I used to spend a lot of time doing purely cardio workouts, but I’ve found that since I started doing more strength based workouts I’m in better shape and I can work out in less time. That’s always a bonus. All of these workouts are available for pretty cheap on Amazon and have good resale value on Amazon if you wind up not liking them for some inexplicable reason. 🙂
30 Day Shred – If you’re just starting up a workout routine, the 30 Day Shred will feel like murder, but it’s a great and fast way to get in shape
No More Trouble Zones – Once you’ve gone through the Shred, No More Trouble Zones is a more intense, slightly longer workout incorporating lots of weights and still staying aerobic. It’s hard, but you will feel awesome when you’re finished!
Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism – I like to alternate Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism with No More Trouble Zones. Banish is more cardio and doesn’t use hand weights, but it contains a lot of plank work and body weight strength moves that will still shape you up.
Shred-It With Weights – This workout is short but good for your core and toning different parts of your muscles than regular strength workouts do, because it uses a kettlebell. I don’t have a kettlebell, but I use a heavy dumbell and it works great.
Yoga Meltdown – The latest Jillian workout I tried, Yoga Meltdown, surprised me with its intensity. I thought it would be a relaxing stretching sort of thing, but I should have known better since that is not how Jillian rolls. This yoga workout is super intense, and my arms hurt like crazy the next day even though I do a lot of arm work in the other workouts. I got this workout from the library but there is always a ridiculously long hold line for Jillian DVDs at my library, so this DVD is only Christmas list. Hint, hint, ahem.