By Debra Pivko

Each year, so many of us make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get healthy. Now that the holiday treats have stopped miraculously showing up at our doors and desks, there’s no excuse not to get in health mode to look and feel better. Wanting to lose weight is a start. But it’s better to break this daunting task down into achievable behaviors that get the job done. Even if you can’t leave your house to work out or dine out, you can still set yourself up for weight loss success by following these 8 simple tips.

1. Start each morning with something healthy. By starting off your day with a healthy breakfast you’re already ahead of the game each day. Pick out a cereal high in protein and fiber and low in calories and sugar such as Kashi® Go Lean® Crunch. This will keep you full on few calories so you don’t eat the wrong foods at lunch. It’s an easy way to start the day off healthy without the guesswork and get closer to your weight loss goals each day. Plus, if you take a daily vitamin such as ActiVit® Multivitamin with your breakfast, you know you’ll ensure you get the nutrients you need each day to fuel your body and your workouts without even thinking about it.

2. Look before you eat. Ordering in takeout or even visiting fast food restaurants doesn’t mean you have to pack on the pounds. Look up the calorie count of meals at your favorite restaurants and pick one that’s under 500 calories. Check out to look up the calorie count of foods at popular restaurants. You can even take a look at the nutrition guides that come with the Beachbody® workout programs, as many of them include fast food guides to help you make healthy choices when in a rush or on a budget.

3. Pre-portion your snacks. I don’t know about you but if I have a bag of Pirate’s Booty® or even chips with me in front of the TV, I’ll chow through the whole thing by the end of the show. It’s important not only to stock your house with healthy snacks but also to pre-portion them out into baggies when you buy them so you stick to eating one serving whether you’re in front of the TV or at work. Most foods are healthy in moderation but overeating can make the pounds creep up. You can also prepare healthy foods such as sliced-up cucumbers or red peppers to munch on or dip in balsamic vinegar. You’re more likely to reach for those—since they are ready—rather than high-calorie, easy-access foods like chips or a quick frozen quesadilla or egg roll. P90X® protein bars are a convenient pre-portioned meal replacement or snack to keep with you on the go.

4. Socialize health-consciously. Hanging out doesn’t have to mean eating out. Instead of going out for dinner or drinks to catch up with friends, go on a hike or walk to catch up. It’s a great way to get a workout in while catching up with friendly conversation. Plus, you save money and calories. Or host a health-conscious potluck where everyone makes their favorite healthy treat and prints out the recipes so you get an arsenal of healthy treats to make in the future and enjoy. If you’re feeling daring, try hosting an activity party where you pop in a Beachbody workout, play Nintendo Wii®, or go ice skating so you know you’ll burn off those extra calories.

5. Top your foods on the down low. Of calories, that is. The calories in creamy sauces and dressings can really add up. Stock up on low- to no-calorie toppings like pico de gallo, hot sauce, mustard, pepper, 1-calorie-a-spray salad dressings from your local market, and even parmesan cheese in moderation. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the weight will come off without sacrificing taste.

6. Commit to workout times. Whether you’re doing Tony Horton’s 10-Minute Trainer® or an hour of P90X, make sure to set the times in your schedule to work out and stick to them. Plan other obligations around those times. Working out is important to your health and your life and making it and yourself a priority will not only help you meet your weight loss goals but help you live a better life. Use a calendar from the workout programs or set up a time to work out with a friend—whatever it takes. I like to set the time in my phone calendar so an alarm goes off that beeps and says “Time for Slim in 6® Ramp it Up” if that is my workout planned for that day and if I’m not doing it, I’m not gonna get slim in 6 weeks. It’s my choice. You can even sign up for Beachbody’s WOWY® (Work Out With You) Online SuperGym for free, where you can log in your workouts and get support from hundreds of people cheering each other on.

7. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. This can make a big difference not only in saving time but also making sure you commit to actually doing the workout. I like to get my workout clothes ready the night before for motivation but also so I can snooze through the extra time before working out. If you don’t work out at home, then pack your gym bag the day before and always have it ready in your car or at work, so there’s no excuse not to work out. My favorite new workout here is Brazil Butt Lift®. Leandro Carvalho (known as the “Brazilian Butt Master”) created such a fantastic workout, with booty-sculpting moves, cardio, and Brazilian dance beats, that I don’t mind waking up a bit early to do it before work and starting my day with some fun.

8. Drink the healthiest meal of the day. Replacing one meal a day, even a snack, with Shakeology® is the simplest way to lose weight and get the nutrients you need for optimal health. By targeting nutrition, fullness, digestion, and detoxification, Shakeology provides a multifaceted approach to help you keep full, shed fat, reduce food cravings, improve digestion, lower cholesterol, and have more natural energy—all through a delicious 140-calorie shake. I’ve been drinking them every day as an afternoon snack or after working out. Everyone at work makes them a little differently to craft their favorite concoctions. Some of us use water; others use milk, or even add a teaspoon of peanut butter or mint. They’re delicious!

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