Your New Year’s Resolutions: Too Lofty or Attainable?

We’re already well into 2013, and by now many people have already abandoned those well intentioned resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, or exercise. One of the problems with some New Years resolutions is that they are overly ambitious for the person making them.

While most of us could use some healthy lifestyle improvements, it’s important to keep in mind that change can be very challenging. Make lifestyle changes slowly and deliberately.

Suppose you want to lose weight. Resist the impulse to make a “clean sweep” of all of your old eating habits when you start. Certainly bad eating habits that contribute to weight gain should be changed. If you try to change too much at once, the task is daunting, and you will likely feel deprived and resentful of the new rules. Try working on one or two positive eating habits at a time, before moving on to something else.

Here’s a few examples of goals I’ve suggested to clients who would like to lose weight or just eat healthier:

Problem: I drink 4-6 cups of coffee (or soda, iced tea, latte, etc) during the day.

Strategy: Have 1 cup on of coffee (or ditto for your favorite beverage) during the day, then replace all others with water or seltzer.

Problem: I buy fast food (pizza, Chinese takeout, etc.) for my lunches during the work week because I’m always in a rush and never prepared.

Strategy: Start taking your lunch to work Mondays through Thursday. Buy your lunch out on Friday. Lunch examples: Bring a sandwich & fruit, soup, salad or leftovers from dinner.

Problem: I’m starving when I come home from work, then I end up snacking on chips, cookies, etc. all evening.

Strategy: Start eating breakfast and lunch every day so you aren’t so hungry at night. Plan for a healthy snack for when you come home from work or after dinner. Possible snack suggestions include: a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts, 6 whole grain crackers and 1 oz. low fat cheese, or a container of low fat yogurt.

Each of the examples above has the potential to result in significant calorie savings over time. Make a plan for what you will change then work on it until you’ve mastered it. When you feel confident in what you have done move on to something else.

Changing behavior in this way is achievable and relatively stress-free. The goals are measurable and tangible. Ultimately, your efforts will add up to result in calorie savings, a healthier way of eating or gradual weight loss. Give it a try and celebrate your achievements all year long!

© 2013, Gretchen Scalpi, RD, CDE.  Publication rights granted to all venues so long as article and by-line are reprinted intact and all links are made live.

Gretchen is an author, consultant, speaker and Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator.  She is also a Certified LEAP Therapist (Lifestyle Eating and Performance), specializing in the clinical management of food sensitivities and related conditions.  She opened her private nutrition practice in 2002 and has expanded to two office locations in New Windsor and Beacon, NY.  Gretchen’s practice provides individual nutritional counseling in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, gastrointestinal disorders, and general wellness. To work with Gretchen Scalpi please visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com

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