The holidays come around. You indulge in the copious amounts of buttery casseroles, rich cakes, and sugary Christmas-themed cookies that your friends and family work tirelessly to make. On New Year’s Eve, while finishing your third plate of finger foods that night, you decide that you’re going to eat better when the clock strikes midnight. So you make a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier, actually use your gym membership for once, and maybe lose some weight in the process. You do great after the first week or even month after the start of your efforts, but over time, you may see those old bad habits creep back into your life. So, what can you do to make sure you don’t fall into what seems like an endless cycle of making a New Year’s Resolution, and then failing after the first month? Here are a few tips from your resident dietitian:
1.) Start small — Let’s say your goal is to work out at the gym five times a week starting Jan. 1. Well, if you haven’t worked out since playing sports in high school, this can be an incredibly daunting goal! Start with small, more attainable goals. Instead of making yourself go to the gym five times a week, start with one-to-two times, and then gradually increase that goal when you feel comfortable.
2.) Don’t expect immediate results — In our world of instant gratification, patience is a virtue more than ever. This is especially true with weight loss. Did you know that if you are trying to lose weight, losing only 1-2 pounds per week is recommended? Any more than that, and your body’s survival instincts will take over, creating overwhelming food cravings that will likely lead to you gaining all that weight back! This is what is called “yo-yo dieting,” and it’s a dangerous cycle to get into. Don’t feel discouraged if you are making positive changes and not seeing huge amounts of weight come off — it’s a slow process, and that’s okay!
3.) If you’re looking for nutrition advice, don’t go to Facebook — It’s no secret nowadays that social media sites like Facebook and TikTok spread misinformation at a rapid pace. This applies to diet and nutrition information as well. Stay away from posts promoting weird juice cleanses or sketchy weight loss pills. Try to find sources from “.org” or “.gov” websites, or schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian to create a personalized eating plan.
The annual cycle of making a New Year’s Resolution doesn’t have to be an annual disappointment. Whether it’s to lose 20 lbs. by the end of the year or eating more vegetables, setting goals requires some forethought and planning. Remember — be kind and flexible with yourself and celebrate those small achievements — it’s one step to making your resolutions a reality!
Katie Dubree, RD, LD, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center (OHTLMC).