New Year, New You: Your Resolutions and How to Achieve Them

Many of us are coming out of big-game season, deer season or even duck season with a few extra pounds on our bodies from camp food and beverages by the campfire. It’s important for us to enjoy the moments and indulge in the foods and drinks that we like, but for those of you who may want some help with shedding extra pounds for the New Year, I’ve got some creative advice for you. It doesn’t mean that you have to devote your entire day to getting into shape, but by making some small changes it can help improve your health so you’re able to enjoy more time in the outdoors for years to come.

Even though there are always rumors of easy fixes and special fad diets, the best way to get healthy and stay that way is good old-fashioned diet and exercise. If you don’t like to exercise, consider finding ways to become more active without the traditional workout routines.

Diet is the real key, but exercise will make your days afield much more fun. Think about chasing after that big buck or those wild birds.

Here is a list of some examples:

1. If you’re unloading groceries or hunting gear from your vehicle, consider taking one thing at a time to the house. All of those extra steps will add up and you’ll be able to log some miles without thinking much of it. On days when I can’t go for a run or a bike ride, I’ll unload the groceries one bag at a time from my truck into the house. It doesn’t seem like much, but every little bit helps.

2. Going camping? Consider chopping your own firewood and loading it up yourself. The calories that you’ll burn from this act will equal or surpass the calories you would burn at the gym. And, this form of exercise has a large range of motion and works many major muscle groups. Be sure to watch your form so you don’t get any injuries. And remember what they say, “Chop your own firewood and it will warm you twice.”

3. If you’re headed to the lake for some late-season ice fishing, think about getting some exercise outside of the shanty to make up for all that time sitting still. Your body will need calories going in to keep you warm and focused in cold temperatures, but you can also stay balanced by going for walks periodically throughout the day. A quick, brisk walk every few hours away from the hole will raise your heart rate enough to keep your joints from getting stiff while also working off some of those calories you consume while waiting for the next bite.

4. If your goal is to get into great shape before next hunting season, then come up with a definite plan and find people to surround yourself with who will hold you accountable. If your goal is to stay in “moderate” shape and keep your health in check, then consider starting a food journal or a short daily exercise routine. But if you just want to be generally healthy, surround yourself with the right people and information that will encourage and inspire you. Social media is a great place to find information and inspiration, so follow pages that are focused on healthy living. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn from just scrolling through your newsfeed every day.

5. Reward yourself when you reach a goal. I believe in positive reinforcement and rewarding ourselves when we accomplish something. This can come in many different forms, but one is when I reach a fitness goal I like to reward myself by purchasing a new piece of workout clothing. I love workout clothes, so this is a great reward for me. When I hike to the top of an exceptionally large mountain, I like to pack something in my backpack as a reward at the top. Those moments when I can’t catch my breath, my sides hurt or when my body wants to quit are all forgotten when I reach the top of the hill and sit down to enjoy a PB& J sandwich or favorite cold hydration drink (Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover).

Learn to make healthy meals from your hunting bounty and it will support your fitness goals.

While some of us enjoy the process of exercising and staying fit, some people despise the thought of it. Diet and exercise should be balanced in order to reach your goals most efficiently, but if you have to choose just one or the other to lose weight, then diet is the key. Making small changes to your diet can deeply influence how your body reacts to your environment. Consult with your doctor, nutritionist or a trainer first if you can, but here are some ideas for small changes to your diet to gain more energy and lose some of those extra pounds after hunting camp.

1. If you consume more than one alcoholic drink per day, just quitting that habit can lead to easier weight loss. Many people who don’t make any change other than refraining from drinking alcohol have experienced relatively easy weight loss results. If I had to choose one thing to eliminate from my diet to lose some pounds, that would be the very first thing on the list.

2. Portion control is crucial. In general, American food portions far outweigh the amount of food served in other countries. This contributes to the obesity rate in America being high in comparison. Using a smaller dinner plate will enable you to eat less without thinking too much about it. Some people also begin weighing their foods to ensure that their portions are in a healthy range, but that process can sometimes be time-consuming and inconvenient.

3. Starting a food journal has been an effective tool for weight loss for myself and other people. Throughout the day, we eat and snack on foods that we tend to forget about by the time we go to bed. By writing down everything that we consume throughout the day we can see exactly what we’ve put into our bodies, even if our brain would rather forget it.

4. Continue eating. The absolute worst thing you can do is starving your body. Malnutrition can lead to very bad side effects and ultimately leads to weight gain in the long run. Your body needs fuel to keep going, and you owe yourself the proper nutrition and long-term health.