Emily Fonnesbeck is the Registered Dietitian for the Biggest Loser Resort.
New Year’s Resolutions. I actually don’t like them much. If a change is needed, and you are committed to making that change, a calendar date shouldn’t matter. Why wait until January? It is hard for me to take people seriously when they wait until then to make the change.
Or maybe I am being too harsh? Maybe what happens is people feel overwhelmed even though they know a change is necessary. Maybe they wait until after the holidays when they feel their temptations of office treats, holiday parties and big family dinners will be over. And maybe they lack the confidence to make the change when everything and everyone around them is telling them to overeat and under exercise.
But what these people may need to realize is that is not going to go away. We live in a toxic environment that lends itself to an unhealthy lifestyle. We are used to fast, convenient food and the idea of “eating healthy” is completely overwhelming, intimidating and daunting. But instead of worrying about what they can’t control, what if the focused on what they could?
If this sounds like you, I encourage you to take one day at a time. Commit today to live a healthy lifestyle. Worry about tomorrow then or next year when it comes. Today you can control and commit to making healthy choices. Set small realistic goals and once you have achieved those, you can move onto something different. Some ideas would be:
- Aim to eat 5 fruits and vegetables per day
- Try to include a fruit or vegetable each time you eat
- Cut back portions of meat to 3-4 oz cooked
- Cut back portions of whole grains to ½ – 1 cup cooked
- Limit red meat to 1 night a week and experiment with different proteins
- Try a new whole grain such as quinoa, barley, bulgur or whole wheat couscous
- Drink more water and try replacing soda with tea or mineral water
- Try swapping creamy dressing for lower calorie vinaigrettes
This list is short but I think you get the idea. Ideally, choose only 3 goals maximum to work on at one time. Changes shouldn’t be overwhelming or drastic or you are going to set your self up to fail. Work on a few and once you have them down (and notice how much better you feel!) move onto something else.
I know our environment needs fixing, and I think in some respects it is getting better. But until then, we can only do what we can do. And if you are overwhelmed, just make a goal and start. And once you start, you will see that you CAN do it! And with that will come confidence to continue and make new goals. Just avoid the all or nothing attitude while realizing that consistency is key, not perfection.
So now, before New Year’s, make your goals. Start today!
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