Ness: Tips for completing those resolutions

Published 9:00 am Monday, January 29, 2018

The most common question I am asked is “How do I lose weight?” With the new year it’s something that is on the minds of many. With resolutions in mind, I’ve compiled some tips to help you reach the body composition you desire, whether it be for health, aesthetics or performance.

“I don’t eat that much, I don’t know why I can’t lose weight?”

— Replace bad snacks with good snacks. Stop buying the sugary, salty, chocolatey foods that you know are calorie-dense and replace them with foods that are recognizably plants which are nutrient dense. It is much easier to choose the apple over the cookie if you are stocked with apples and the cookies are absent.

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— Use half of the condiments. This is an easy one. Use half of what you normally would when adding mayo, butter, salad dressing, pasta sauce or any other additive. You can reduce the calories significantly without sacrificing half the taste.

-— Don’t drink calories. Beverages can really pack on the pounds but they don’t make you feel satiated or full. Drink water instead, flavor it if you must. You don’t have to use artificial sweeteners to add flavor. Lemon, lime and mint are all good options for    adding natural flavor. Protein shakes can be useful to replace meals or recover from exercise, but remember that extra calories are extra calories.

— Learn to prepare simple meals and eat out less. For more reasons than I want to describe, eat more meals at home. You don’t have to be fancy and there is all kinds of free help on Youtube, Pinterest and old fashion books. Buy a pressure cooker or slow cooker to make the process even easier. You’ll probably find that cooking can actually be enjoyable and satisfying.

“I’m too busy to deal with it.”

— Pack your lunch. Save yourself money and the headache of lunchtime traffic. It takes five to 10 minutes to pack a lunch. It’s not that hard.

— Replace bad habits with good ones. Most of us eat out of boredom more than hunger. Start distinguishing between the two. Keep temptations like cookies out of sight and then use that craving as a cue to take your dog for a walk.

— Have a plan. This might be the most important tip of the list. No matter how busy you are, having a plan can save you time and make your meals healthier. Pack a meal or know what restaurant you’ll dine in and maybe even what dish you’ll order. We make time for what is important to us.

“I keep sweets around for the kids, but I end up eating it too.”

— They’re called treats for a reason. Every kid enjoys a treat, but they don’t need to be constantly indulged with junk food any more than adults do. Help the children in your life form good habits and look forward to those special days that grandma makes brownies, instead of learning that brownies are a staple commodity.

“I think I eat pretty healthy, but I guess I eat too much of it.”

— Use smaller plates. We are programmed to fill our plates and then eat everything on it. Use a smaller plate and you’ve cleared this mental barrier.

— Drink a glass of water before your meal. Most folks should be drinking more water anyway. Having a full glass before a meal leaves less space for dessert.

— Eat slow. It takes a while for your stomach to signal your brain that you’ve had enough. Be patient and give your stomach a chance to communicate.

— Stop before you’re full. Again, give your tummy a chance to speak, but also realize that you don’t need a full stomach to get enough food. After all, that full feeling is your body saying enough already.

“I do well all day and then go crazy at night.”

— Brush your teeth early. Once you’ve had enough for the day, brush your teeth. Your whole life this has been a signal to stop eating.

— Eat dinner later. If dinner leaves you starving before bed, move it back an hour or two. Despite common perceptions, the presence of the sun doesn’t make your meal any healthier.

— Eat breakfast. This doesn’t apply so much to night-time hunger but eating breakfast will help restart your metabolism after fasting all night. Eating regularly will also help guard against binges induced by extreme hunger.

In conclusion, drop your excuses and you’ll drop the pounds as well. Forget the fad diets. If you want to change your life, you must change your lifestyle. In other words, your results will be in direct proportion to your effort. No matter what strategy you take, you should eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and consume fewer calories than you expend to lose weight. Remember that actual fat losses are rarely more than a pound or two per week but if you do that consistently, you will reach your goals quickly.

Here are some links that might help:

Jamie Ness has been personal trainer since 2013, and currently provides services at the College Park gym in Winchester. He has nine years of track and field/cross country coaching experience ranging from middle school to NCAA Division I. He is an NSCA certified strength and conditioning specialist and received his master’s degree in kinesiology and health promotion from the University of Kentucky in 2012.  For more information, visit or email