Written By: Kailey Donovan, Registered Dietitian
We are now a month into the New Year and all that motivation you had on the 1st of the year may be starting to fade. Many of us give 110% right out of the gate, but are unable to maintain that motivation for the long term. While the New Year is a great time to set new intentions and goals for ourselves, it is also important to make sure we set ourselves up for long term success!
Many health related New Year’s resolutions involve going on a miserable diet. The top contender is typically a diet that involves cutting out carbohydrates (am I right?). Instead of ingraining the word diet into your head 24/7, think about switching your mindset towards adopting healthy habits that you can maintain for the long term.
Here are some tips to help you maintain your resolution(s)!
Educate yourself on healthy nutrition. Instead of focusing solely on the diet you choose to follow and what they tell you to do, take the time to educate yourself so you are able to maintain those changes on your own. Learn what a proper portion size of meat looks like, what foods to consume before/after your workout and how to plan meals on your own! It is very easy to follow a meal plan that someone hands you, but are you really learning anything? It is always best to make sure that anything you read online is backed by a Registered Dietitian.
Stop obsessing about the number on the scale. Weight fluctuates every day and many factors contribute to what the scale says, which is why numbers should not be the focus. Once you are able to break free from using the scale everyday you will be able to focus on your other achievements such as increased energy, being able to run an extra mile, or sleeping better at night.
Set yourself up for success. Creating unrealistic goals for yourself is a recipe for failure. With all the social media we now have, it is easy to compare yourself to others and envy other people for how their body looks. We all are metabolically and physiologically different. What works for your friend may not work for you and that is okay. Setting realistic goals will allow you to maintain your successes and stay motivated!
Consistency is key. Eating one salad a month will not result in instant weight loss and eating a slice of pizza will not cause an instant 10 pound weight gain. It is important to stay consistent with whatever healthy eating pattern you choose to follow. It is just as important to not beat yourself up over having a less healthy food item from time to time.
Restriction and willpower are not the answers to living a healthy lifestyle. Heading into the new year with the mindset of cutting out carbohydrates, sugar and fried foods (etc) will only result in binging on those foods later on. Feeling like you need to develop the willpower to avoid certain foods and achieve your goals is no way to live. Practicing moderation with foods and intuitive eating will set you up for greater long term successes!
Create small goals within bigger goals. Maybe your goal is to lose X amount of pounds in X amount of time. Create multiple small goals that are easily attainable along the way, such as bringing your lunch three times a week vs. eating lunch out everyday. Those smaller goals will give you a confidence boost and even more motivation to keep working towards your main goal.
Create a plan and hold yourself accountable. Scheduling your workouts into your planner, or creating a menu for the week are simple ways to hold yourself accountable along the way.
Appreciate yourself. If you fall off track with your new healthier lifestyle don’t beat yourself up over it. Forgive yourself, identify what may have caused the minor hiccup, make changes and move forward!
~ Try not to worry about what everyone else in your life is doing. Focus on yourself and your goals. Everybody has a different idea of what overall health means to them. Your health and wellness goals may be extremely different from your best friends. Share your successes to your friends and family, but try not to compare yourself to them! ~
Take home message: Appreciate the body you have and all the amazing things it does for you. Fueling it with the proper nutrition it needs will only make yourself feel that much better! Lastly, focus on living a healthy lifestyle instead of achieving short term weight loss.