It’s that time of year when most of us think about setting our New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like a lot of people, you may have a goal of “losing weight” or “getting healthier.” These are obviously great goals to have, and making changes to your diet is one of the best ways to reach both.
The problem is, too many people make the wrong changes to their diet. They want to lose 30 pounds and be healthy in an unrealistic amount of time. And so once January 1st comes around, they rely on fad diets that don’t provide their bodies with proper nourishment.
This is the number one reason people fail to reach their New Year’s goals.
Here are some ways you can set your nutritional New Year’s resolutions in a healthy way.
Rely on How You Feel, Not on Technology
I see more and more people using a tracking app to track how many calories they eat in a day. But most of these programs give you a caloric reward (you can eat more) on days you exercise and a caloric punishment (you must eat less) on days you don’t.
The thing is, this kind of “logic” goes against normal intuitive eating patterns. In fact, for most people, feel less hungry on days they are most active and vice versa. My advice is to listen to your own hunger signals and make decisions off of those instead.
Avoid Restrictive Fad Diets
I can’t think of anything less healthy than a diet that does not allow you to eat macronutrients. Fat, protein and carbohydrates are all important for our health. Some people do better with more fat and fewer carbs, and some people do better with more carbs and less protein. It all really depends on your age, activity level, lifestyle, and general health. Your best bet is to work with a licensed nutritionist who can create an eating plan that is right for you.
Take Baby Steps
No one becomes overweight and unhealthy overnight. It happens over the course of weeks, months, and years. Losing weight and getting your health back also will not happen overnight, so you need to be realistic.
And because weight loss and improved health can take time, it’s important that you focus on setting small goals and taking baby steps to get there. Reaching a set of smaller goals (lose 5 pounds, walk upstairs without becoming out of breath) instead of one big one (lose 50 pounds and look awesome in a bikini) will help you stay on track and committed.
Don’t be like everyone else and set yourself up to fail in the coming year. Be smart about your weight loss and health goals by following these tips. And if you’d like to work with a nutritionist who can help you reach your goals in a healthy manner, please get in touch with me.
Written by Sherline Herard – Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern