It’s the annual time of year for making a New Year’s Resolution.  According to the most popular Google searches for self-improvement, the top New Year’s resolution for 2017 was to get healthy which had 62,776,640 searches, a 13.77 percent increase over the previous year.

One of the very best ways to “get healthy” is to improve dietary habits.  Making dietary changes is not as easy as it seems.  We have to eat to keep alive and on top of that, when adding in the numerous psychological and emotional reasons factoring into our food choices, it’s no wonder sometimes eating healthy, losing weight, and getting in shape seems like a daunting and frustrating task.

New Year’s Resolutions are always done with the best of intentions, but then, life happens and before long, the resolution gets shoved to the side without much real result.

Making New Year’s resolutions stick

If eating healthier and weight loss efforts have remained unsuccessful in the past, maybe you have been trying to accomplish too much at once.  In essence, you may be “biting off more than you can chew” leading to a downward spiral in keeping your resolutions.

This year choose just one of the following eight nutrition resolutions.  Instead of saying “I want to lose weight” without having an idea of how to go about it, narrow it down to specifics.  Focusing on only one makes it more manageable pointing you in the right direction of healthy eating.  Once you’ve accomplished a resolution making it a part of your daily life, choose another one and continue to work on triggering weight loss and taking steps toward a healthier you in 2018.

Eight Nutrition Resolutions

  1. Start each day with breakfast
    Breakfast is essential – up to 80% of overweight to obese individuals skip breakfast.  By not skipping breakfast, you’ll avoid the mid-morning slump and wanting to seek out foods high in calories, fat and or sugar at later points in the day.  Regular breakfast eaters tend to exercise routinely and have a lower overall fat intake.  Fortunately, breakfast food can be simple.  Think in terms of a healthy carbohydrate to give you energy and a protein source to keep hunger at bay.  Examples – oatmeal with fruit and scrambled eggs, fat-free or Greek yogurt with granola, sliced almonds and fruit, peanut butter with a sliced banana on whole wheat toast, or a breakfast smoothie – mix frozen fruit, milk or yogurt with add-ins of peanut butter or spinach.
  2. Replace sugary drinks with water
    Sugary drinks add a significant number of “empty” calories – meaning no nutritional value whatsoever.  Sugary drinks include soft drinks, fruit punch, lemonade along with other “ades,” sweetened powder drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks.  The average 20-ounce soda is loaded with 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and about 240 calories.  Gulping down nutrient barren and calorie-bloated beverages results in excess weight gain and does little for your health. Water is the answer for replacing sugary beverages. If you need extra flavor add sliced lemons or limes for a refreshing, natural citrusy taste.
  3. Add a fruit and or vegetable at each meal
    Unfortunately, we don’t eat our fruits and veggies like we should and what a health mistake this is. Naturally low in calories and fat, fruits and vegetables have an added bonus of a high fiber content promising to fill you up preventing overeating. These plant-based foods are brimming with numerous vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, all critical in protecting against diseases such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
  4. Exercise, exercise and did I mention exercise?
    You get the picture.  Yes, exercise is a must when attempting weight loss and getting in shape.  It takes a strong motivation and a stick-to-it attitude to make it work.  Find what you can and enjoy doing first.  From there, make a weekly plan of what time of day, for how long and at what intensity you’ll exercise.  Incorporating physical activity throughout the day also helps burn more calories leading to weight loss and maintaining muscle mass.  Just think of how good you’ll look and how much better you’ll feel.
  5. Cut out unhealthy carbohydrates
    Carbs can be divided into two categories – simple and complex.  The complex carbohydrates – whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans – are very good for us as they provide the main source of energy for our body and our brain in addition to their healthy nutritional package they provide.  It’s the simple carbs that have got to go.  This includes cookies, cake, pie, pastries, white flour, sugary drinks, and any other food with too much sugar and little nutritional value.  Cut way back on your intake of this and you’ll be amazed at how your weight will drop and you’re cravings for them disappear.
  6. Master mindful eating
    Mindful eating is a way of eating making you aware of your eating habits. Research suggests becoming a mindful eater may be a helpful breakthrough in aiding with weight loss and improving food choices.
  7. Eat out less often
    Frequent eating out can be detrimental to your weight.  Large portion sizes, foods loaded with excess fat and calories and it’s no wonder you have trouble losing weight.  This year, lose weight and save money by eating at home.  You control the portions sizes, food choices and method of cooking which puts you in charge of controlling your weight.  When you do eat out, have a plan by making wise food choices.
  8. Avoid skipping meals
    This may sound counterintuitive to weight loss but skipping meals is a bad idea.  This method of eating slows down your metabolism by as much as 10-15% to where your body will hold onto fat and burn lean muscle instead since it doesn’t know when you’ll eat next.  You will also get very hungry during the day making overeating and choosing less healthy foods more likely to happen.  Your body needs to be in a rhythm of eating knowing when to expect you to feed it.  Eat three meals throughout the day and include small, healthy snacks in between.

Better knowledge of your health and wellness maintenance will not only benefit your body in 2018, but for all the New Years to come.

Categories: Health

Cheryl Mussatto

Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City, an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, Ks where she teaches Basic Nutrition, and is a blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi and, an online market place connecting nutrition experts with customers worldwide. She can be contacted here.

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