It’s almost the end of the year now, and if you’re like me, you didn’t quite hit all the markers on your weight loss path. (And that’s the kind way of saying it to myself.) But that’s exactly what this program & blog is all about, sharing the true nature of any goal: it’s a journey, not always a destination. I am disappointed that I haven’t made the progress I set out to, but I am not discouraged. I have learned much along the way and I know that it will play a part in my eventual success. (For one, some of my new eating habits have led to better health overall if not pounds shed.) I am just at a different point in the learning curve. And according to Dr. David G. Williams, there is never a point of no return. Research continues to show that it’s never too late to get your health back on track. You just have to start again and start slowly. His recommendation is to undertake your weight loss program in the same way you would “eat an elephant”. That is, one bite at a time. (Insert a joke about how sometimes I feel like an elephant, right?) Here are his other suggestions to keep it from looking hopeless or overwhelming:

1. Cut the potatoes. The top 3 foods associated with weight gain in a recent report are potato chips, potatoes, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

2. Got yogurt? Real yogurt and other fermented foods provide protein but more importantly, beneficial bacteria in the gut, which makes your whole digestive system more efficient in utilizing fat for energy. (Now here’s something I have already permanently adopted, so there’s a positive progress reminder. I am enjoying my morning greek yogurt with flax seeds, raw honey, & fresh organic cranberries right now.)

3. Go nuts for nuts. Good for stabilizing sugar and losing weight. (These are a go-to snack staple in my house now, so there’s another reinforcer that I HAVE done some things right this past year. We keep almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, unshelled pistachios, pine nuts, filberts, hazelnuts, & peanuts in dishes all over the place.)

4. 12 weeks reverses 12 years of deterioration. Another recent report proved that in just 12 weeks of high-intensity resistance training, 12 years of muscle deterioration from natural aging was reversed. So get that weekly exercise chart out again (and blow the dust off of it in my case), and work towards “reversing” the damages of your inactivity just like that, no matter your age.

5. Exercise is a bone builder and hormone regulator. When osteoblast cells are stimulated by exercise, they build bone and produce a hormone called osteocalcin. It has a positive effect on insulin levels and the circulating levels of testosterone, important for both men and women. So get that weight-bearing exercise in for a dramatic effect on your libido, mood, and well-being!

6. Kudos for dried fruit. Fruits like apricots, peaches, plums or prunes, apples, and dates that are dried have fairly low glycemic indexes and contribute to lowering bad cholesterol. (Plus they taste delicious & can be taken anywhere. I get 1 more point for doing this right: a small piece of dark chocolate with a dried apricot as a frequent dessert replacement.)

His bottom line: give up french fries and soda as much as possible, include more yogurt, nuts, vegetables, and fruit in your diet. An occasional baked potato or sweet potato with butter is okay, it’s more about MORE of good-for-you-good-for-your-waistline foods than it is even about having LESS of those even-though-it’s-bad-it-tastes-so-good-it’s-got-to-be-good-for-you foods. Add some resistance exercises with weights, don’t worry about being fancy either. The trick is to start with a weight that is 70-90% of the max. of what you can lift in the beginning. A plastic milk jug progressively filled with more water as you gain strength can work. Keep in mind for muscle growth to take place, you have to consume enough protein though. Have a protein shake as part of your daily routine. (Cinch!) And don’t rule out exercise because of arthritis or joint problems. These will improve too as you experience weight loss and more range of motion.

So it’s all about small steps for getting started, or re-started, now. So what if it’s almost the end of this year’s TrimminSlimm program? It’s always just the beginning again of the rest of your life too!

This is my big 2011 NOTE TO SELF moment. Is it yours too?

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