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Say NO to New Year’s Resolutions, and YES to Small Changes

January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!  Its time to ring in the New Year! For years, people have been using this special occasion as a motivator to drop the weight they have been struggling to lose all year round.  As a registered dietitian, I encourage my clients to steer clear of New Year’s resolutions in order to avoid disappointment in oneself.  You may have the best of intentions when you resolve to lose weight or exercise more as the New Year begins, but somehow, life happens and you often find yourself going back to your old ways.  Instead, this year believe that it’s always the right time to make healthy, life changing goals for yourself.  

If you are one of those people who need to “start over” with each New Year, then let’s try a different approach for 2012! This new year, instead of making a weight loss resolution, try and focus on improving your health by making nutrition and physical activity goals.  Don’t look at this year’s resolution as a temporary change; look at it as a lifestyle change.  Making too many changes at once can cause you to burn out before the end of January, and cause you to break your commitment.  Therefore, instead of changing your entire way of living all at once, try making small changes everyday.  Work your way SLOWLY to a healthier you.


Here are some small nutritional tweaks you can gradually make in your lifestyle over the next year:


1)      Increase your intake of a variety of fruits and vegetables.  Every day add a new fruit or veggie to your menu.  Eat it raw or try it in a new recipe.  Test out different cooking methods with your vegetables.  Some examples are roasting, steaming, baking, and BBQing your veggies.  

 2)      Switch over to 100% whole grain.  If you are still eating white bread and pasta, slowly switch to whole grains.  Whole grains contain more fiber and nutrients and will keep you fuller for a longer period of time.  If you are having a hard time making this change, then compromise. For example,  if you are making a pasta dish, make it half with whole wheat pasta and half with regular pasta until you develop a taste for 100% whole wheat.

 3)      Portion control.  Work your way to smaller portions!  This will help control your calorie consumption.  If you typically use a big dinner plate and fill the whole plate, try using a smaller size plate.  You may eat more than what you need to be satisfied if you have a pile of food sitting in front of you.  

 4)      Make a pact with yourself to follow the MyPlate method.  When filling your plate, half should be vegetables and fruit and the other half should be divided between a serving of grains (about a ½ cup) and a serving of protein (3-4 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards).

 5)      Limit the sweets.  No one says you need to avoid all sweets.  The key is moderation.  If you enjoy dessert and sweets several times a day, make a goal for yourself to limit sweets to either once per day, or even only once or twice a week.  Limiting your sweets may even help you lose your craving for it!  Small, measurable goals are the key to success.

 6)      Are you a soda or juice drinker?  These beverages are loaded with sugar and greatly contribute to your daily caloric intake.  Eliminating just one can of soda a day (12 ounce can = 120 calories) can save you about 13 pounds a year!  And let’s be honest; most people don’t only drink a can a day.  So imagine how many extra pounds in one year are contributed from soda alone.  Again, slowly make a goal to eliminate these empty calories by limiting your intake to one cup each day, then one cup every other day etc.   Substitute water with a squeeze of lemon or lime for a refreshing beverage.   


Let me know what small changes you plan to make this year!


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