#338 Making Resolutions Stick!

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New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your
regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin
paving hell with them as usual.

Mark Twain

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Bill Murray's 6 New Year's Resolution Tips

By Denis Faye

It's almost the New Year, and odds are, you're putting the finishing touches on this year's resolutions. "Eat better. Exercise more. Stop drinking Coke." And so on . . .

Salad, Fit Man, and No Soda

They're never easy, are they? In fact, most of us blow every item on the list before January is even over. After all, we're only human. So to guide us to the next level of resolution-keeping, Beachbody® has sought counsel from someone who is more than human. A god among men. A general among privates. A monster truck among sedans.

Bill MurrayThis year, we're going to take our New Year's resolution cues from Bill Murray.

Bill may not strike you as a fitness expert, and, as his performance on the elliptical trainer in Lost in Translation indicates, he certainly isn't one. He is, however, a font of knowledge when it comes to life matters. Even the quickest of perusals through his film catalogue offers an abundance of tips for anyone looking to keep his or her New Year's resolutions.

"Baby steps." In What About Bob?, Bill plays a manipulative obsessive-compulsive learning to get through life using "baby steps," as suggested by his shrink, Richard Dreyfuss. Try baby steps with your resolutions. You don't need to swear off all processed sugar and have washboard abs by the end of 2009. Start by limiting sweets to once a week and working out 5 days a week. If that's too much, swear off ice cream and walk 3 days a week. Pick an achievable goal, and when your reach it, pick another one.

Ripped Abs"A former greenskeeper, now about to become the Masters champion." Baby steps might not be enough for you. Maybe it's six-pack abs or nothing. If this is the case, think about Bill in Caddyshack. As groundskeeper Carl, he spends the entire film hatching grandiose plans to beat that gopher.

It never occurs to him to take it one hole at a time. The same goes for you. The abs can be the goal, but start with cleaning up the diet, getting the exercise on a regular basis, burning the fat, building the muscle, etc. This way, if the year is up and you haven't quite got the abs you want, you'll still feel like you accomplished a lot along the way.

"If that were our plane, it'd be crashing." In Quick Change, Bill robs a New York bank. It goes off without a hitch, until the supposed "easy part," the getaway to the airport, turns out to be wrought with obstacles, thus forcing him to continually improvise.

It's almost certain that you're going to hit all kinds of surprise road bumps on the way to your goals. Your body is every bit as complex and chaotic as Manhattan is to Bill and his accomplices. When things go egg-shaped, change your route or, if necessary, alter your goals.

P90X®"Stewardess, is there a movie on this flight?" In Stripes, Bill joins the army, but he brings the party with him. P90X® may be a boot camp, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun mingled in with the pain. Pick an outfit you're dying to wear and make it a goal to fit into it. Learn to jump rope. Buy a pogo stick and pledge to get up to 100 bounces. Make a point of going dancing once a month. Mock Tony as he bosses you around on screen—whatever it takes.

"How about a little teamsmanship?" The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou finds Bill struggling to understand the relationships in his life. In the end, he learns about the power of friendship and family. The same goes for you. Don't be afraid to ask for support from the people around you. Or, you can also look to the Beachbody Message Boards and to our workout partnering system, WOWY.com, for motivation and inspiration.

Running"We came, we saw, we kicked its . . . ." Bill goes up against insurmountable odds to defeat the Sumerian god Gozer the Gozerian in Ghostbusters. Sometimes, it may feel like you'd have better luck fighting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man than achieving your goals. The odds may be against you, the pounds of fat many, and the cravings intense, but if you sit there and fret, you'll never know if you can do it. The same lesson can be pulled from watching Bill play the role of Polonius in Hamlet. Bill Murray doing Shakespeare? Exactly. You never know unless you try, so don't be afraid of no ghost.

Slim in 6®"I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life." If you try and you fail, remember Groundhog Day, which finds Bill living the same day over and over until he gets it right. Just because you mess up your resolution doesn't mean you've been beaten. Just take a deep breath and try again. Eventually, you'll figure it out. And don't forget, if your goal is to do Slim in 6® but you only made it through 4 weeks, that's still 4 weeks of fitness that will back you up for your next try.

Listen to Uncle Bill. He knows what he's talking about. Take this advice regarding your resolutions, and, just as Bill famously said to John Candy in Stripes, you'll soon be a "lean, mean fighting machine."

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Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Monday, January 5th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Denis FayeIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Stay Warm, Lose Weight: 4 Diet-Friendly Hot Drinks

By Ben Kallen

There's nothing more comforting than a nice hot beverage on a cold winter day. But fat-laden coffeehouse lattes and sugary hot cocoa can ruin your healthy weight loss plan, especially this time of year. Well, we have a solution: warm, delicious drinks that actually encourage fat loss rather than weight gain. Try one of these today, and you could find yourself skinnier by springtime!

Hot Beverages

Green TeaGreen tea. There's a reason this fresh-tasting, antioxidant-rich brew is an integral part of Beachbody's Slimming Formula. Over the past few years, research has confirmed the traditional view that green tea boosts your metabolism, probably due to the combined effects of caffeine and a chemical known as EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate). It may also speed up fat oxidation and increase insulin sensitivity. (But don't fool yourself—you still need to exercise and eat right if you want to lose excess fat.) For getting the best flavor, brew the tea for just a minute or two.

Oolong TeaOolong tea. This mild-tasting tea is actually made from the same leaf as green tea, Camellia sinensis. The difference is in the fermentation process—a little turns it into oolong, while a lot turns it into common black tea. Recently, studies have shown that oolong has its own metabolism-boosting powers, possibly as the result of chemicals known as polymerized polyphenols. In one Japanese study (unconfirmed in the West), women who drank large cups of oolong tea had a 10 percent increase in their metabolisms for 2 hours after they drank the tea.

Chai TeaChai tea. Also known as masala chai, this mixture of black tea and spices is delicious and good for you, too. Traditional Indian medicine holds that cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorn, and cloves are "warming" spices that aid digestion, and recent Western studies have found that cinnamon itself can help stabilize blood sugar. Don't buy the prepared mixes, which are usually full of extra sugar and fat. Instead, just brew a chai teabag in hot water, and add a little low-fat milk and sweetener to taste.

Hot CocoaHigh-protein, low-sugar hot cocoa. Cocoa powder is loaded with antioxidants known as flavanols, and it offers some protection against various ailments, from heart disease to high blood pressure to diabetes. What prevents hot cocoa made with mainstream mixes from being a healthy drink are the high number of sugar calories and the relatively small amount of protein. (A recent study published in the journal Nutrition & Dietetics found that overweight adults burned more fat following a high-protein meal than after a meal made up mostly of carbohydrates.) We recommend using a cocoa powder that's as unprocessed as you can find—preferably raw and organic—because those tend to be higher in antioxidants. But regular (unsweetened) supermarket brands are fine, too.

Hot Cocoa Recipe

This rich, chocolatey cup of cocoa gives you 16 grams of protein but very little fat and no added sugar. It's the perfect snack for a cold winter day.

1 cup nonfat or 1% fat milk
2 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
4 packets artificial sweetener (or to taste; amounts vary per choice)

Heat the milk until it's hot (but not boiling), and stir in the other ingredients. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

Related Articles
"The Lean for Life Food Plan"
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"5 Tips for Healthier Eating"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Monday, January 5th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your New Year's IQ!

By Monica Gomez

True or False?

  1. False: GrapesIt is a Spanish tradition to eat 12 sunflower seeds on New Year's for good luck. Actually, the tradition is to eat 12 grapes, with one grape eaten on each chime of the clock. This tradition, also celebrated in Mexico, dates back to 1909. Grape growers in Alicante, Spain started this practice as a way to cut down on the grape surplus production of that year. The 12 grapes are believed to bring 12 months of good luck. Another Spanish New Year's Eve custom is to wear red underwear—also for good luck!

  2. False: New Year's Eve BallThe first New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square took place in 1924. The celebration dates back to 1904. It coincided with another debut in that same year—the opening of the city's first subway line. The celebration, attended by over 200,000 people, commemorated the official opening of the new headquarters of The New York Times. The dropping of the New Year's Eve Ball, though, dates back to 1907—a tradition suspended only in 1942 and 1943 due to the wartime "dimout" of lights in New York City. A "new" New Year's Eve Ball was unveiled on November 11, 2008—double the size of previous balls, it weighs 11,875 pounds!

  3. False: ShofarThe Jewish New Year is known as Yom Kippur. Meaning "Head of the Year," the festival of Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the "10 Days of Repentance," which culminate in Yom Kippur (the "Day of Atonement" and the holiest day of the year). The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, or the ram's horn. The cry of the shofar is a call to repentance. Rosh Hashanah traditions include eating a piece of apple dipped in honey to represent the desire for a sweet year; blessing others with the words, "Leshanah tovah tikateiv veiteichateim," which means, "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year"; and Tashlich, a special prayer said near a body of water.

  4. True: LanternsThe Festival of Lanterns marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Yuan Xiao Jie, the 15th day of the Chinese New Year celebrations, is marked by myriad lanterns being lit throughout the streets. Paper lanterns on wheels are created in the form of the animal of the year—falling on January 26, Chinese New Year 2009 will be the year of the ox. Poems and riddles are often written for entertainment. Another important occasion of the 15-day celebration is Jie Cai Ceng, the day welcoming the gods of wealth and prosperity. On this 5th day of celebrating, it is believed that the gods of prosperity come down from the heavens. Businesses often participate in setting off firecrackers to attract prosperity and good fortune.

  5. JanusTrue: The tradition of New Year's resolutions dates back to 153 BC. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome, and after whom the Romans named the first month of the year, became the ancient symbol for resolutions. With his two faces, Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances, could look back on past events and forward to the future. The Romans started a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve, giving each other branches from sacred trees of good fortune; nuts or coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New Year's gifts. Today, one of the more popular resolutions is losing weight. Other popular resolutions are spending more time with family and friends, quitting smoking, quitting drinking, and getting out of debt. (You can read more about sticking to your resolutions, whether it's losing weight or something else, in Denis' "Bill Murray's 6 New Year's Resolution Tips.")

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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