We’re pleased to present these five smart ideas from acclaimed fitness guru JJ Virgin, whose more glamorous clients include prominent Hollywood glitterati.
Her 25 years in the health and fitness industry—the past 10 focused on holistic nutrition and functional medicine—have earned JJ recognition as a leading weight loss, nutrition, and fitness coach.
JJ Virgin is the author of “Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy”, the co-star of the TLC reality series Freaky Eaters, and a contributor to the Huffington Post.
5 simple New Year’s resolutions you can actually keep
Make breakfast a smoothie
A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded a high-protein breakfast keeps you full and burns fat better than sugar-crashing Special K or a Starbucks low-fat muffin (Blom WA et al. 2006).
Dump the “got no time” and “I’m-not-hungry” excuses and eat breakfast.
A well-balanced smoothie full of protein, good fats, fiber, and antioxidants will keep you full, focused, and burning fat all morning.
For example, combine protein powder with chia seeds, unsweetened coconut milk, and frozen wild organic blueberries. Want more ideas? Click here for my favorite smoothie recipes.
Depending on your approach, winter’s shorter days make getting those seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep either easier or harder.
Flip off the Desperate Housewives reruns and bypass the after-holiday online sales to power down the hour before bed. I recommend setting your alarm clock to remind you to do this.
Unwind with a cup of antioxidant-rich Blueberry Rooibos tea with a hot bath and a self-improvement book. When you finally hit the pillows, make sure you have a pitch-black room and use earplugs if you need them to drown out noise.
Curb your cravings with dark chocolate
Resistance is futile, particularly when you have that leftover hummingbird cake lingering in your fridge.
Fortunately, you can healthily tame your sweet tooth with antioxidant- and nutrient-loaded organic dark chocolate (preferably more than 70 percent cocoa solids).
Its abundant polyphenols help fight the free-radical damage that triggers inflammation, aging, and disease, and its theobromine helps control blood pressure (Fernández-Murga L et al. 2011; van den Bogaard B et al. 2010).
Recent research showed that chocolate boosts mood and reduces appetite even better than an apple, and that smelling dark chocolate can suppress appetite (Macht M et al. 2006; Massolt ET et al. 2010).
Dark chocolate isn’t a more-is-better food, so put the brakes on after enjoying an ounce or two a day.
Eat fish to fight fat
Among its many problems, chronic inflammation significantly contributes to burgeoning scale numbers.
Wild salmon is packed with anti-inflammatory, mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids as well as sufficient high-quality protein to help you stay satiated and help burn fat for hours.
[Editor’s Note: see “Omega-3s Advised for Burning Fat and Curbing Appetite”, which has links to related articles.]
And it’s an incredibly versatile food. For instance, toss a piece of salmon (fresh-cooked or canned) over leafy greens for a quick, delicious, healthy lunch.
Nothing good ever came from airport and roadside fast-food joints, so skip these travel traps for vacuum-packed wild sockeye. And wild salmon jerky makes the perfect on-the-go light meal or snack.
Burst to blast fat
Packed fitness classes, too little time, and increased prices are three reasons to ditch the gym in 2012 for my 15-minute, full-body 4 x 4 Workout.
In about the time it takes to find a parking place, you can combine burst training and resistance training to increase fast fat loss, lean muscle, and metabolism all day long. Click here to get my free 4 x 4 Workout.
- Blom WA et al. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):211-20.
- Macht M et al. Everyday mood and emotions after eating a chocolate bar or an apple. Appetite. 2006 May;46(3):332-6.
- Massolt ET, van Haard PM, Rehfeld JF, Posthuma EF, van der Veer E, Schweitzer DH. Appetite suppression through smelling of dark chocolate correlates with changes in ghrelin in young women. Regul Pept. 2010 Apr 9;161(1-3):81-6. Epub 2010 Jan 25.
- van den Bogaard B, Draijer R, Westerhof BE, van den Meiracker AH, van Montfrans GA, van den Born BJ. Effects on peripheral and central blood pressure of cocoa with natural or high-dose theobromine: a randomized, double-blind crossover trial. Hypertension. 2010 Nov;56(5):839-46. Epub 2010 Sep 7.
- Fernández-Murga L, Tarín JJ, García-Perez MA, Cano A. The impact of chocolate on cardiovascular health. Maturitas. 2011 Aug;69(4):312-21. Epub 2011 Jun 12. Review.