I don’t typically like New Year’s Resolutions. A date on the calendar isn’t going to make you ready to change. Often, resolutions are unrealistic and people tend to have an all-or-nothing attitude. Once they fail to meet their lofty goals, they revert back to old unhealthy behaviors.
Having said that, if you are one of the 70% of Americans that vow to lose weight and eat healthier come January 1st, here are some tips to help you keep that resolution:
1. The first 10 days are the hardest. The novelty will wear off about the third day and by the 10th day (or so) you will find it much easier, mostly because you will the notice the difference in how you feel (for the better). Don’t let yourself give up early on because any change worth making is going to take dedication.
2. DIETS DON’T WORK! You may lose weight but you won’t keep it off because you won’t know how to handle all the foods you said “no” to for so long. And those foods you said “no” to can lead into preoccupations will food, feeling deprived and can lead to binges and gaining the weight back. There is no need to give up carbs, eat only cabbage soup or forget about ice cream (in fact, you need carbs to fuel your brain, muscles and cells and they will help you in feeling physiologically and psychologically fed). Instead of telling yourself what you CAN’T eat, tell yourself what you CAN. Instead of, “I won’t eat anymore candy”, say “I will choose to eat more fruit”. By focusing on what you CAN do, your attitude will change and these lifestyle changes won’t seem like a chore. Also, by focusing on what you will eat, you will naturally replace less healthy options with healthier ones.
3. Make lifestyle changes. Forget diets and work on leading a healthier lifestyle. The great thing about that is it is something that can fit into YOUR lifestyle. Again, don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. It will backfire every time. Just learn what will fit into your healthy lifestyle and do the best that you can given the situation your in. That’s all it takes! Just do what you can.
4. Forget the all-or-nothing attitude. 90% of the time eat well and save the other 10% for those less healthy options that you can still have! Don’t beat yourself up for overdoing it at times. Health isn’t a straight line, it is more of a squiggly one.
5. Make short achievable goals and reward yourself for meeting those goals. Take it a day at a time and a few changes at a time. Instead of cutting out something cold turkey, just cut back and see where it gets you. Or, instead of adding a lot of new foods at once, try a new one every once in a while.
I am very interested to know what all of your New Year’s Resolutions are!
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD