A Word About New Year’s Resolutions
In order to kick-start a new regimen, it’s tempting to crave a quick fix for better dietary habits. It’s easy to fall prey to those article headings that all proclaim they have the secret to helping you “get healthy” or “get fit” or “lose your belly.” But the truth is, those super-fast reboots rarely work. If anything, you’re just depriving yourself of basic dietary needs that help you function at your peak, causing your body to push back hard after you exit starvation mode. In the end, you often gain back more than the water weight you lose.
There’s only one real “cleanse” that works, and that’s a sustainable diet of whole foods with the ability to promote health and wellness the right way. Beware of all of the New Year’s advertisements for detoxifying cleanses or quick fixes from the holiday binging. Here are some common fad diets to avoid because they are just plain unhealthy, unsustainable, and don’t work:
- Atkins or South Beach Diet
- Liquid diets
- Diets that cut out any food group
- Super low calorie diets
- 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, while 17% of Americans sometimes make New Year’s resolutions
- 38% of these people make weight-related New Year’s resolutions
- 8% of Americans achieve their New Year’s resolutions, weight-related or otherwise
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable/Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time-Bound
So instead of saying something like, “I want to lose 10 pounds,” make a more specific SMART goal to help yourself set a realistic goal to hold yourself accountable to within a certain time period. An example would be more like, “I want to lose ½ to 1 pound per week for the next 10 weeks by cutting out my nightly dessert almost every night, eating 1 more piece of fruit per day, and going for a 30-minute brisk walk almost every day.”
Good luck setting your New Year’s resolution!
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1. Be specific- Starting with your plan. Rather than just resolving to exercise more, create a work out schedule. Decide when and what you'll do, and for how long. Then stick to it! Choosing what you enjoy will help. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing, or what the latest fads are. Exercise doesn't have to feel like a chore. Tap into the social benefits by finding a partner and/or trying a class!
2. Be realistic- While setting your goals and creating your plan, make sure that you are setting realistic goals for yourself. Your goals should be big enough to inspire you, but small enough to motivate you as you achieve them. Think about what you can realistically do in one week, then one month, and so on.
3. Pace yourself- Speaking of realistic goals, it's important to take it easy on yourself, especially if you're starting a new routine (or resuming an old one). Start at a manageable pace, cultivate a healthy relationship with physical activity, create habits, and then increase your time/intensity.
4. Track your progress- And not just with the scale. Depending on your personal goals, consider other methods of tracking progress. Maybe it's taking measurements, or maybe it's that one pair of pants. Total Wellness also offers body composition testing and fitness assessments if you'd like a more comprehensive record of your progress. And don't shrug off the small accomplishments. All big changes are made up of a series of small ones, so celebrate those little milestones! You earned them.
5. Rethink rewards- When it comes to celebrating accomplishments, consider rewarding yourself in ways that are consistent with your goals, rather than counter to them. Instead of food, after a great week, maybe you indulge in a massage or a spa day with a friend. Or after meeting your first weight loss goal, you treat yourself to a new outfit or some work out clothes. Celebrate your successes in ways that make you feel even MORE successful!