- Authored by Audra Wilson, RD, Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery Program at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital
New year, new view, new you?
It’s the time when everyone is asking: What’s your New Year’s resolution?
These are the lofty goals we set for ourselves that are often all but abandoned by the end of February — like going to the gym five days-a-week or starting that new fad diet to lose a fast 20 pounds.
Quick fixes like these come and go and can be disheartening when they ultimately fail. But what if this year, instead of quick, you started small? Small changes are more manageable and are easier to incorporate into your everyday life to create an overall healthier lifestyle.
Try these five “small-change” tips that can help you to create a new view on New Year’s resolutions this year:
(1) Give Yourself Five!
Make a list of five reasons you want to be healthier or lose some weight this year. These reasons can be subjective or objective, but they have to mean something to you.
For example, I want to be able to play with my kids without taking breaks or feeling tired. When you have reasons to work toward a goal, you can always go back to those reasons for motivation and purpose when challenges arise.
(2) Count to Four!
Drinking four, 16-ounce bottles of water per day can add up to the recommended 64 ounces per day of fluid. You could also purchase a refillable bottle to fill up throughout the day to get your 64 ounces in.
Staying hydrated can prevent snacking throughout the day and can help to reduce your consumption of sugar-sweetened fluids as well; both great ways to reduce empty calories.
Being hydrated can also help prevent you from feeling thirsty which our brains sometimes confuse with hunger. This can lead to needless snacking, which increases daily calorie intake.
(3) Take 10!
Instead of starting off with a goal of getting to the gym five days a week, start with increasing your activity throughout the day.
Try taking three, 10-minute brisk walks throughout your day; preferably after meal times. These three walks can add up to 30 minutes by the end of the day, which adds up to 150 minutes per work week of added movement. A great start toward that 5K and a great way to build momentum.
(4) Double Up!
Instead of only taking away foods from your diet, add some foods back in. Remember My Plate, which recommends half of your plate be filled with vegetables; and double your vegetable serving at meals.
Try roasting or grilling vegetables seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil or marinating vegetables in the same marinades you are using for your proteins.
Non-starchy vegetables (anything besides corn, peas, potatoes or beans) are low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber, as well as volume, which means you fill up on less calories.
(5) Start with One!
Start with one new healthy behavior each day. Whether it be taking the stairs, meeting that fluid goal, or roasting vegetables on the weekends for week night dinners.
Real progress toward a healthier you starts with one small change. Overwhelming yourself with many, drastic changes is just that: overwhelming.
Give yourself a break and try tackling just one small change each day. Then build on that change the next day, and the next. Before you know it you will be incorporating many small changes into your lifestyle and becoming a happier, healthier you.
Following these five simple tips to goal-setting and making small, meaningful diet and lifestyle changes can help you to countdown to healthy 2018!
Start your countdown today: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!