“New year, new you!” Many of us enter January 1 motivated and determined to make changes. “This year,” we think to ourselves, “things will be different.” Healthy eating and weight loss are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions of all time. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most commonly broken resolutions. Before jumping headfirst into a new diet plan for the year, consider the following tips to set you up for success!
Dig deep into your motivations.
People often fail to recognize the real whys behind their weight-related goals. (Hint: It’s more than just the number on the scale.)Why do you want to lose weight? To improve your health? To have more energy to play with your kids? To improve athletic performance? Knowing your underlying motivations can help you stay on track with your goal, especially when you’re feeling discouraged.
Create an action plan. Set SMART goals.
A goal without a plan is really just a wish. To turn goals into reality, you need to create an action plan, and SMART goals will help you do just that! SMART goals are:
SMART goals act as stepping stones to get you to your end destination. Check out this article by registered dietitian Sara Glanz for a great breakdown on how to set SMART goals.
Say NO to fad diets.
Fad diets are exciting because they promise quick results. Despite what the diet market wants you to think, there is no quick fix when it comes to sustainable weight loss and health! Sustainable weight loss is a slow process; in fact, healthcare practitioners recommend a weight loss of one to two pounds per week. Studies show that while dieters lose weight in the short term, they tend to regain their weight over time, and some actually overshoot their initial weight! Instead of fixating on dropping the pounds, focus instead on increasing and maintaining healthy behaviors.
Focus on adding instead of restricting.
Home in on adding more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats to your diet. ChooseMyPlate.gov provides targets for each food group for your age. And choose foods that you actually enjoy! Don’t force kale onto your plate if you find it hard to swallow.
Moreover, think about replacing Instead of avoiding foods. For instance, have a delicious cup of yogurt with berries for dessert instead of a slice of cake!
Focus on how food makes you feel.
Intuitive eating practices are very popular, and for good reasons! Being mindful about your hunger and fullness cues helps you get the most satisfaction out of food. On the contrary, mindless eating patterns can lead us to overeat, feeling too full and uncomfortable. When food stops being enjoyable, listen to your body. Eat in a way that makes you feel healthy and well!
Surround yourself with support and positivity.
Find a fellow friend or family member to go on this journey with you! Surrounding yourself with people who are also pursuing health makes this journey a whole lot easier and enjoyable. Remember you can always consult with a Registered Dietitian for support in creating a healthy eating plan.
Whatever your goals are this year, always keep your health and happiness in sight. After all, the whole reason for your New Year’s resolution is to promote your well-being, and no diet plan should ever compromise that!
Consult a registered dietitian for support in creating a healthy eating plan.
- Free nutrition analysis services through Health Promotion and Wellness (one-on-one support)
- Registered dietitian at Campus Dining (for navigating food options and special diets in Campus Dining Centers)
- Registered dietitian at Student Health Services – Medical