Have you noticed something magical seems to happen every January? Our eyes are suddenly open to fresh possibilities and the chance to reimagine ourselves, to envision what it could be like if we were slimmer, ‘fitter’, healthier than last year! We tend to start our lifestyle changes off with a bang, but alas the busyness of life creeps in and before we know it we are back to the way we were. Experts tell us that by July less than 40% of us who made New Year’s Resolutions will still be working to keep them.What if for 2019 you found the courage to say, “Stop the insanity!” I’m tired of chasing quick-fix, “flash-in-the-pan” diets that don’t last? I’m ready to modify my life by making small but powerful changes that can be successfully maintained throughout this year and beyond.
Here are some ideas for you to consider:
- Start Small. Move your focus from an unrealistic goal to one that is actionable. Why not start by committing to eat a high-protein breakfast every day? A meta-analysis of 6 different studies of over 96,000 diabetes patients was published recently in The Journal of Nutrition finding that the risk of type 2 diabetes increased by 55% in those who skipped breakfast 4 to 5 days a week!
- Be Reasonable. Rather than signing up for a body-thumping boot camp when you haven’t broken a sweat in years, why not try resolving to walk at a brisk pace in your neighborhood for 30 minutes each day and build from there.
- Don’t Deprive Yourself. Moderating your choices is more sustainable. Deprivation dieting never works long term. Why not teach yourself to truly savor smaller portions of the foods and beverages you love? If you have a sweet tooth, rather than your standard big bowl of ice cream after dinner, opt for a nice small piece of dark chocolate (>70% cocoa). It is full of antioxidants and will be a delicious treat to satisfy your sweet tooth without the calorie splurge!
- Give Yourself the Opportunity to be Successful. Small successes breed confidence, and confidence gives us the courage to continue toward our goal. A common compliant I hear is “I can’t cook!” Consider finding a good cookbook with easy, healthy recipes you and your family will enjoy. Commit to trying 1 or 2 new recipes a week until you build a repertoire of recipes you feel comfortable preparing. (For a collection of my quick-to-fix family favorites, click here to purchase Healthy Meals for Hurried Families)
The excitement of the New Year inspires the best in us. We are coming off of a huge holiday indulgence where statistics tell us the average American has gained 7 pounds, and we are disgusted with ourselves. We revel in living large until we wake up on the morning of January 1, and think “what have I done?” My challenge to you is this: As we launch into 2019, let’s vow to stop the insanity of making drastic promises to change in ways that set us up for failure. Instead, determine what it is going to take for you to begin this New Year feeling healthier, happier and more content than ever before.