Happy 2019! Can you believe we are here already? If you’re younger than me you’re probably thinking your life is taking forever. I remember those days. If you are my age or older though you know time flies.
With the start of a new year, I know the gyms are packed and everyone has made some sort of promise to themselves. They think this year will be different. Simply stating a promise or a goal however will not ensure you succeed. In fact, you need a solid plan. If your goal is to lose weight, I have a challenge for you.
In reality, the smallest steps and changes you make to achieve weight loss are usually the ones that last. Each month this year, I challenge you to make this tiny change.
12 Small Changes to Achieve Weight Loss
Each month brings a new challenge. The real challenge will be that every challenge carries into the next. For instance, January has a challenge. Come February, you will be doing both February’s new challenge while continuing with January’s challenge and so on. By the end of the year you will have completed and continued doing all 12 challenges. I guarantee you will lose weight.
January: Wear & Use a Fitness Tracker
Start the year off simply and ease into this challenge by purchasing and wearing a fitness tracker. It can be anything you like FitBit, Garmin, a smartwatch, the point is to get an idea of where you are. Understand how many steps you average within a day and how many calories you tend to burn.
Also, go ahead and take a full body photo of yourself. By the end of the year you will want this as a before and after.
February: Perform More Body Weight Exercises
This month, along with wearing your fitness tracker, focus on more body weight exercises. Think about movements such as squats, burpees, pushups, and mountain climbers. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or a beginner, put the weights aside, focus on your body and your range of motion. You might be surprised how difficult it is to throw around your own body weight!
March: Drink More Water
Okay, it’s the third month. You still have your fitness tracker and notice that you burn more now than you were averaging back in January. It must be all of those body weight exercises last month! Feel free to pick up your weights again but try to focus on body weight movements at least a couple of times a week this month. The new challenge is to drink more water. Aim for an extra glass a day than what you would usually drink. Try to drink a glass of water when you first wake up in the morning, before each meal, and an hour before bedtime.
April: Eat Fewer Carbs and Sugars
By now you may have lost some weight, good for you! If not, it’s okay. We are just getting started and the challenges haven’t been easy but they have been small changes.The weather is probably starting to warm up and you’re pulling out smaller clothes to show more skin and beat the heat. This month, while doing the previous challenges, I also want you to focus on eating fewer carbs and sugar. I know, this one will be super tough. I don’t want you to cut out everything, but limit starchy carbs (potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, pasta) to a small portion once a day. Your starchy carbs should not be more than 1/2 cup for a serving. Try to replace the starchy carbs with vegetables such as squash noodles and cauliflower rice.
For the sugars, schedule refined sugary treats such as cookies, cupcakes, cake, etc. Make it no more than one time a week and be very mindful of your portion sizes. If you are absolutely dying, you can have a square of dark chocolate (as much cacao as you can withstand) throughout the week. When your cravings kick in, first try a piece of fruit as this usually helps. And remember, coffee creamer has sugar. Which reminds me, no fake sugars either such as Splenda, that stuff just isn’t healthy. This includes diet drinks, just no.
May: Fill Your Plate with 30% Protein
Here’s where you are struggling, I know. But at least last month’s challenge should be easier to stick with by now. I bet you lost some weight by now, didn’t you? That’s great!
This month our focus is on protein. Protein keeps you full and helps to build and repair muscle so it’s highly necessary. This month, start challenging yourself to fill your plate with 30% protein. Here’s what I like to do: Draw an imaginary triangle on your plate (like a peace sign). The top two smaller triangles (30% each) should be one of protein and the other of healthy fats and oils (nuts, olive oil, avocado, etc.). The bottom larger portion (not really a triangle itself) should be about 40% of complex carbs either filled with vegetables (yes, vegetables are carbs) or filled with some vegetables and your 1/2 cup of starchy carbs (potatoes, rice, etc.).
You can do this!
June: Do More HIIT
Hello June and hello weight loss! I bet you feel pretty good by now if you’re still all of the previous challenges. This month we will focus on more HIIT training. You can find workouts online or just do any move (such as jogging) as fast as you can for 30 seconds, do a recovery move (walking) for 15 seconds and repeat. Try to incorporate HIIT into your workouts 3x a week. Most HIIT sessions only last for about 20 minutes, so that shouldn’t be too hard!
July: Practice Deep Breathing
Beyond our physical strength is our mental strength and way to relax this is through deep breathing practices. There many ways to do this but I urge you to set aside a few minutes each day and practice this.
August: Walk at Least 20 Solid Minutes a Day
We are becoming relaxed, healthier, slimmer and I’m sure you are feeling better. Along with everything else, I want you to take 20 solid minutes each day for an easy stroll. It doesn’t need to be a run, just walk and talk with your partner, take the dog around the neighborhood, unwind. If you can’t do ever day (weather) do as many as possible.
September: Set a Bedtime
This month is fairly simple but for some of you it may be difficult. You should get at 8-9 hours of sleep every night, 8 at the very least. Set a bedtime that allows you this amount of sleep and stick to it. Sleep is extremely important to our bodies.
October: Leave Food on Your Plate
As a child you were told about the starving children all over the world and that if you put it on your plate you need to eat it. You are an adult now and there comes a time when your body has just had enough. Each meal from this month forward, I urge you to leave some food on your plate. Even if it’s just a bite! The challenge is to realize when you are full and be able to move on.
November: Drink Only Black Coffee, Green Tea, or Water
It’s almost the end of our challenge. Are you still sticking with the previous 10? I hope so (for your benefit). You should already be here from April, but if not really focus in on this this month. Do not drink anything other than plain black coffee, green tea, and plain water.
December: More Non-Exercise Movement
We have reached our final challenge and kudos to you for sticking with this! I am so proud and hope that you will take an “after” photo and tag me @ ladieslattesandlifting on Instagram!
Along with all of the 11 other previous challenges, end this year on a good note and make an effort to do more non-exercise movements. This can be cleaning, outdoor work, laundry, dancing, whatever. Instead of driving to the cafe or the grocery store, can you walk? Focus on moving more in your regular day-to-day life. and Cheers to 2020! It’s almost here 🙂
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Love Ya`ll A Latte,
Faith Ellis is the creator and writer for Ladies, Lattes, and Lifting. She aspires to help women on their fitness and health journey and provide them with real and safe ways to reach their weight loss goals. In her free time, Faith enjoys writing fantasy novels, meal prepping, and spending time with her husband and two furbabies in their home in North Carolina.