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New Year's Resolutions, 1 Month Later

10 ways to make your diet and fitness resolutions last

Top 10 Habits of Successful Resolvers continued...

6. Manage Your Cravings

Cravings for foods are caused by swings in your blood sugar. If you eat the right kinds of foods and snack strategically, you can eliminate cravings, says Agatston. "Almost everyone who is overweight has cravings, typically late-afternoon hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)," he says. "They frequently choose simple carbs (like sweets, soda, and refined bread products) that give them a quick boost." The problem is that a quick rise in blood sugar is usually followed by quick fall, and hunger strikes again. Eating every 3-4 hours, and always including lean protein (from nuts, low-fat dairy, lean meats, or beans) will satisfy your hunger for fewer calories and without the dramatic swings in blood sugar, Agatston says.

7. Control Your Environment

Stack the deck in your favor by eliminating tempting, fattening treats from your surroundings. Instead, stock the pantry and refrigerator with plenty of healthy foods, Tallmadge says. Surround yourself with people, places, and things that will help you change your behavior. Avoid those that invite problems, like going to happy hour or eating at a buffet restaurant.

8. Do the Opposite

George Costanza on Seinfeld thought it was a good idea, and Norcross says it works for resolvers: "We call it counter-conditioning: one needs to do the opposite of the problem behavior. The opposite of sedentary behavior is an active behavior. It is not good enough to diet; instead, you need to replace the unhealthy foods with more nutritious foods."

9. Reward Yourself

Reward yourself all along the way for continued motivation and success. "A reward can be a massage, flowers, or removing chores you dislike," says Tallmadge. Figure out what will work for you, and reward yourself whenever you achieve a mini-goal (such as losing 10 pounds or exercising every day for a week).

10. Anticipate Slips, and Deal with Them Constructively

Don't let a slipup derail your resolve to improve your health. Setbacks are inevitable; it's how you respond to them that matters. "One of the most important skills I teach my clients is how to recover from slips," says Tallmadge. Successful resolvers use slipups to help them get back on track, serving as a reminder that they need to be strong. People who see slips as a failure often use one as an excuse to give up, says Norcross.

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Reviewed on February 02, 2007

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