How to Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year 2013

The New Year is right around the corner (wow, is it really 2013?) and it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions!

Right at the top of many people’s list is Lose Weight or Get In Shape.  Gyms will be packed out the first week of the new year, and the second… most of January… but then the numbers will start to fall.  According to the folks at Franklin Covey, who conduct a survey on New Year’s Resolutions, only 25% of people making resolutions to themselves kept them and over 35% of those resolutions didn’t survive to the end of January.  Two of the biggest reasons people have for not keeping with their commitments were that they had too many other things going on already and they just simply weren’t committed to their resolution in the first place.

But you don’t have to fall into the ranks with those that couldn’t keep it going.  There are a few tips to make keeping your resolutions easier.

  1. Be Specific.  A resolution like Get In Shape is so broad that it’s hard to keep it.  So many things can fall under getting in shape that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  Instead, try setting a goal like, “I will walk for 30 minutes a day 3 days per week”.  30 minutes X 3 days is a measurable goal.  When you can see progress being made towards your goal it’s a lot easier to keep at it.
  2. Make a plan.  Write it down or type it up but this goes hand in hand with being specific about your goal.  Give yourself steps to take to get to your goal and make sure to check each step off as you completed.  Hey, even adults feel better seeing a gold star on their homework.
  3. Be committed to your goal.  If you kinda, sorta want to quit smoking but you really enjoy cigarettes and you’re only doing it because your SO keeps nagging you then you probably shouldn’t make quitting smoking one of your resolutions.  However, if you’ve been smoking for 15 years and you know it’s killing you and you’ve had enough and are ready to kick the habit then rock on, you can do it.  But remember #1 and be specific in how you’re going to do it, it will make keeping at it much easier.
  4. Tell a friend and ask them for support.  Many people underestimate how powerful this can be.  Having a friend or group of friends that can help support you makes a world of difference.  With today’s technology there are even sites where you can have 100’s of friends there to help support you for various things.  Find a forum, an app, a support group or whatever works for you where you don’t go it alone.
  5. Don’t expect yourself to work miracles.  If you’ve got a list with 20 resolutions you’re bound to have some that get broken.  Even worse, the stress of such an overwhelming task could cause you to give up on goals you would have otherwise kept.  Make a short list of goals that are important to you and that are attainable, then kick ass on following through on them.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, and a bit of Google searching is likely to give you several great suggestions as well.  I’ve applied these principles to my weight loss goals and can say they definitely work.  I struggled for many years without a clear plan or goal but once I put some definition to things it helped tremendously.

If losing weight is your resolution there are a lot of great tools available online to help you along the way.  I use MyFitnessPal.com, Fitocracy.com and Runkeeper.com to track my calories and exercise.  Not only do they help keep me on track but there’s a strong community on each site that helps to keep you motivated and give you tips and the discussion forums give some great info as well.

I hope everyone had an awesome 2012 and that your 2013 exceeds all your expectations!

Pine Mountain Trail – East Loop and Summit

Pine Mountain Summit View

Pine Mountain Summit View

PINE MOUNTAIN RECREATION AREA – CARTERSVILLE, GA
Trailhead Coordinates: 34.177045 N, -84.737294 W
Distance Hiked: 3.04 miles (East Loop and Summit Overlook)
Time to Hike: 1:50:21
No GPX file for this one due to technical difficulties.

It’s been a few weeks since I got a hike in and I was ready to go this weekend.  Weather, work, holidays… ’tis the season, I guess.  I made sure to get some time this weekend and was excited to check out a trail close to my house, even though it’s not in my 60 Hikes book, although I’m told that it will be in the next edition.  This is the toughest hike I’ve personally done (remember, I’m a newb trying to lose weight) not counting Brasstown Bald.  Although Brasstown Bald was a more strenuous climb it was only 1/2 mile each way and on a paved trail.

The Pine Mountain Recreation Area is situated on Lake Allatoona and not far from Red Top Mountain.  It’s divided into a few trails as well as the summit overlook.  I hiked the East Loop and Summit, the West Loop connects to the East Loop for those that would like a longer hike.  For the East Loop and Summit my roundtrip was 3.04 miles, if you add in the West Loop the total hike is around 4.50 miles.  There are several picnic areas and lake access close to the area, however for some reason most of them were closed this weekend.

Interesting Tree on the East Loop Trail

Interesting Tree on the East Loop Trail

It’s important to note that a Georgia mountain is a bit less… mountainous than some of those beasts out West.  The trail started at an elevation of just over 900 feet and at the summit it’s about 1,500.  A good climb for me and the largest elevation gain of the trail I’ve hiked around  here.  It got my heart rate going pretty good and I burnt enough calories to have a few beers with friends after the hike and not even worry about it.  The terrain also offers a bit of a challenge with rocks and roots along the winding trail.  The view from the top was awesome and gave an almost 360 degree view of the area including Lake Allatoona and North Georgia.  To make it even more picturesque there were a few hawks (I’m gonna call them hawks, could have been buzzards – I was pretty tired once I got up there) circling around over the lake.

I’ll definitely hike this trail again, next time I’ll have to check out the West Loop as well.  Pine Mountain Recreation Area is less well known than Kennesaw Mountain just a bit south, if you’re looking for a hike it’s a less crowded area and much more geared to the hiking than the history.

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Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice and the Paleo Diet

This dude is gonna eat Paleo tonight.

This dude is gonna eat Paleo tonight.

In an ongoing effort to improve my diet I’ve been trying some Paleo recipes.  I’m not doing 100% Paleo right now, just testing the waters some to see if I can do it.   The hardest things for me to give up would be cheese and beer.  I might be able to cut the cheese (lol, I’m hilarious!) but I really, really love craft beer.  Not just drinking beer but hunting down rare ones and trying them with friends, the whole craft beer… personality.  If it came down to my health or weekend beers with friends I’d give it up, but I wouldn’t be happy about it and I’d probably bitch about it a lot.

The Paleo Diet’s main tenets are  no grains, no legumes and no dairy and eating unprocessed foods.  Meat is acceptable and the diet doesn’t frown on animal fat.  Nuts (no peanuts!) and seeds are OK as are lots of fruit and vegetables.  The diet is not anti-carb, it’s just selective on where you get your carbs from.  The same goes for the meats, the diet prefers grass-fed beef as opposed to beef raised on a grain-fed diet.  Of course my description is very simplified, for more info take a look at the Wikipedia entry on the Paleolithic Diet or The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet.  As with any diet there those that think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread (probably because they’re not allowed to have sliced bread) and others that think it is a diet created by the devil to destroy us.  As a child of the 70’s I was brought up on the classic food pyramid and told that eating a boatload of bread and beans and rice was good for me, so I’m still a skeptic but the more info I see and read the more I’m willing to give it a shot.

I saw several recipes online for Cauliflower Rice and one mentioned making fried rice with it so that’s what I did.  I ended up with a hearty chicken fried rice loaded with vegetables.  It’s low cal, high protein and low carb.  Although I used soy sauce in mine you could substitute coconut aminos for the soy sauce and it would be totally Paleo.

This really is a powerhouse recipe macro-wise.  It only has 322 calories per serving, only 15 grams carbs, 99 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fiber.  I won’t even go into the details about the vitamins you’ll get from everything, mostly because I don’t know what they are, but you can bet it’s a lot of damn vitamins.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice

CHICKEN FRIED CAULIFLOWER RICE
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small (1/4” piece) of ginger, grated
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large yellow squash
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • ½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

There are two ways you can ‘rice’ the cauliflower.  I use a food processor and break it into small pieces then pulse until it’s the right size.  If you don’t have a good processor you could also use the large openings on a box grater, note that grating cauliflower is very messy.  If using the food processor you may want to do a few small batches.  Place this in a microwaveable bowl and set it aside for now.

Next, slice the chicken thin, as you would for any stir fry.  Also slice up all your veggies and put them together on a plate or bowl.  Beat two eggs and add the soy sauce to the eggs.  You’ll want to prep all this at the beginning as things will move quickly once you get going.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add ½ Tbsp of coconut oil.  Add the sliced chicken to the pan and cook until no pink is visible, this only takes a few minutes.  You can season the chicken some if you like.  Remove the chicken and set it to the side.  Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté for about 30 seconds then add the vegetables.  Cook the vegetables to your liking, I prefer mine to maintain some crispness.  Remove vegetables from pan and sit aside.

Microwave the riced cauliflower for 2 minutes.  While that is cooking add the remaining ½ Tbsp of coconut oil to the pan and scramble the eggs.  Add the cauliflower to the scramble egg and chop the egg into it.  Season the cauliflower and rice then add the chicken and vegetables  and combine all ingredients and check seasonings again.  Heat for 1-2 minutes to make sure all ingredients are warm. Serve.

Tips, tricks and shortcuts

  • Use any variety of vegetables you’d like:  Water chestnuts and bamboo shoots would be a good addition and you can top this with chopped green onion as well.
  • This is mostly Paleo but if you’re 100% hardcore Paleo this can be made without the soy sauce and sub coconut aminos. (I haven’t tried the coconut aminos so I add that as a recommendation from others.)
  • This can also be made with shrimp, pork or beef.
  • Sriracha makes this even more awesome.

BASIC NUTRITION INFO (per serving / 4 servings per recipe)

Calories:  286
Carbohydrates:  16 grams
Fat:  10 grams
Protein: 34 grams
Fiber:  6 grams

Enjoy!

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