Carpe Motivation! Seize the momentum from the recent holidays and use it to accomplish your New Year’s resolutions, particularly those relating to food and drink excesses.Maybe you’ll want to buff up and trim down for some sun and fun on the slopes or by the water for upcoming Spring Break activities. Or you may just want to shape up for yourself, sort of get back to normal—especially to look good in the currently fashionable skinny, stretchy, skimpy everything.

Here are a number of things that count when you’re thinking about being your best, whether by shucking some pounds or tightening and toning.

3 ways to trick yourself when dieting:

Visualize yourself wolfing down your food. It seems mental imagery triggers certain neurons in your brain that control your emotions and responses, thereby quickly reducing your appetite. Put on a fitted shirt or a belt before eating. This will cause you to feel fuller and prevent you from overeating. Glob on the gloss or lipstick. Your brain will have more time to signal you’ve eaten enough because you’ll eat more slowly and more carefully to avoid smearing.

5 suggestions for slim sipping:

Choose the drink of champions —water. Eight glasses per day will help you concentrate better, increase your energy levels and burn more calories.

Just say “no” to juice drinks. If they’re not made from 100-percent juice, these drinks can be high in calories, containing as many as 40 or more grams of sugar.

Be a fan of your blender. Drinking from one to three smoothies per day—made with fruits, a little 2-percent milk and some ice—can help you shed a few pounds. In addition to being nutritious, they’re quick and thick, which gives you a feeling of fullness.

Coffee, si. Coffee drinks, nyet! Even if you drink your coffee with cream and sugar, you’ll save at least 150 calories over an average coffee drink offered by some well-known coffee houses. Drinking your coffee black will save you another 100 calories.

Say sayonara to sodas.

6 exchanges to easily cut 100+ calories:

Two light beers for two regular beers.

Thin crust instead of regular crust pizza. A slice of thick or stuffed crust — forgetaboudit.
Go topless with your sandwich bread or buns.
Et tu, Caesar? Reach for balsamic vinegar and a little Parmesan cheese.
Snack on air-popped popcorn instead of chips.
Choose cooking spray, not oil, to grease pans.

9 foods for feeling full:

Avocados
Apples
Beans/lentils
Berries
Eggs
Low-fat yogurt
Nuts
Oatmeal
Soup
4 foods that make you hungry:

Alcohol/booze
Cereal with high sugar/low protein and fiber
Cookies/croissants/crackers, etc., containing high amounts of sugar, carbs and processed flour. (Go for whole grains).
Low-cal/low-content meals—those that lack satisfying amounts of protein and fiber.

5 ways friends can make you fat:

Although eating is a great way to socialize, we are said to consume 35-percent more calories eating with friends than if we eat alone.

· The Comforter is there for you … with brownies in hand. After all, doesn’t food equal love? Suggest meeting for exercise, which is actually a new trend for socializing. You can dance or spin as shared experience and hit the bar – health or otherwise —for a drink afterward. Or use the telephone, text or email instead.

The Party Girl suggests you two grab a little drink after work … and, well, you get the munchies. Food is so handy. Try one-to-one glasses of wine with glasses of water. Another idea (I love this one) is to use your less dominant hand to hold your glass while drinking.

The Lonely. You’re alone, she’s alone … why not get together to cook or eat out tonight … and then, why not every night? Oh, and brunch. Hey, she’s eating, so it must be OK for you to eat, too. No guilt here. It would be best to limit your get-togethers or, at least, stop meeting around mealtime.

The Saboteur constantly offers you food, even after you ask her not to. If she continues, even after you’ve explained why, say “goodbye,” “adios,” “see you later, alligator.”

The Celebrators. The group that lures you into a festive atmosphere, where someone orders drinks and food and you’re talking and laughing … and drinking and eating … and bam! You have unintentionally consumed a bazillion calories. If you have warning beforehand, snack on an apple or bit of cheese. Once there, try to limit your drinks. Have only a salad or an appetizer. At least, take half of your entree home. For future gatherings, suggest planning for more at-home and less in-restaurant celebrations.

11 habits you must break:

These suggestions are from an article by David Zinczenko, co-author of books such as Eat This, Not That.

Eating “low-fat” and “fat-free.” The sugar rush and rebound hunger are not worth the small savings in calories.

Sleeping less than five and over eight hours per night will cause you to put on more belly fat. Optimal sleep time is six to seven hours.

Eating complimentary restaurant foods, which can quickly add many calories. Locally, that would include the traditional salsa and chips.

Drinking sodas, including diet versions. Consuming one or two sodas per day increases your chances of being overweight by 33percent.

Skipping meals. This habit actually increases your obesity factor because (a) it slows your metabolism, and (b) being hungry will most likely cause you to grab a fatty snack or eat more at your next meal.

Eating too fast. Your brain is not given the time necessary for your stomach to signal it’s satisfied.

Taking big bites. You’ll consume as much as 50-percent more than if you bite less and chew more.

Eating off larger plates. Larger servings mean more calories.

Eating after 8 p.m. You’re more likely to eat more. Additionally, your stomach is not able to process so much food over a shorter period of time.

Placing serving dishes on the table. It’s a lot easier to have another helping (more calories). It saves you from having to get up from the table and go to the kitchen for seconds in view of everyone.

Watching too much television. Even though you’re not expending any energy, there is a tendency toward snacking while you’re watching. So you’re adding calories while not burning any!

Ordering a “combo” or “value” meal. Sure, the price might appear to be a better deal. Cheaper maybe, hardly better. You’ll end up with more food/calories than you wanted.

Avoiding the scale. Not weighing on a regular basis allows you to be unaccountable for any weight loss or gain.

Emotional eating. Eating when stressed or anxious greatly increases the probability of becoming overweight.

To get away from eating dos and don’ts, try out some of the latest and funkiest fitness trends.

7 ways to mix some oldies-but-goodies with some new-and-newer exercises:

Hula hooping can strengthen your abdomen, buttocks and legs while trimming your waist and hips. Think you’ve still got it?

Hoopilates works your whole body by combining the strengthening and stretching of Pilates with the cardio building of hula hooping.

Pole dancing, the next Olympic sport? Pole dancing is said to use almost all of the body’s muscles as you’re climbing, hanging and spinning on the pole. It’s a combo of gymnastics, ballet, jazz and modern dance moves.

Piloxing is integral training that combines the flexibility and core building of Pilates with the power and cardio benefits of boxing, using weighted gloves.

SoulCycling is described as an inspirational, fat-burning cardio workout using indoor cycling, along with upper body and core routines.

Bellyfit is designed to connect the mind-body-spirit. Picture a fusion of belly dance, African dance and Bollywood to sculpt and tone your body with a cardio workout, ending with meditation.

Trampoline cardio workouts are composed of small, controlled jumps that are especially designed for your mini-trampoline.

8 current trends in the quest for health and fitness:

Back to the basics, meaning using your body instead of high-tech equipment to get in shape. Remember sit-ups, jumping jacks, running sprints and pushups that weren’t bras?

Functional fitness uses exercises designed to increase flexibility and core strength to make everyday activities easier – for example, lifting without hurting your back, house cleaning chores, etc.

Mind-body and aerobic combinations are becoming popular in fitness centers and some gyms. Examples are:

Cy-Yo consists of an hour workout with 10 minutes of yoga to warm up, 40 minutes of stationary speed cycling (spinning) and then 10 minutes to cool down.

YogaFit adds strength training, Pilates or other core muscle-building activity to yoga.

Buddy on board is a way to exercise with your dog, using programs designed with diets and fitness routines for both of you.

Focus on wellness means our well-being as a whole. One approach may include synergistic programs between health care companies and health clubs to meet needs other than just exercise. Another program might include services such as physical therapy or nutrition information.

Small group training is a less expensive option for the services of a personal trainer. There are also some socialization aspects—at least there’s someone to feel the burn with you. Particularly appealing to the fitness-conscious baby boomers.

Youth-based fitness is offered in schools and at gyms. These programs help working parents who worry about the fitness and safety of their children.

Worksite fitness programs provide a convenient way to help employees become healthier, while also increasing productivity and reducing health care costs caused by absenteeism.