It’s that time of year again. The New Year has arrived and everyone is discussing their New Year’s resolutions in full force. Of the top ten most common New Year’s Resolutions, each year several of these relate to nutrition, diet changes, and/or losing weight. Although these resolutions are made with the best intentions, many seem to lose motivation after a few weeks.
Even though it can be easy to become discouraged when attempting to change your lifestyle/habit, it is important to have a positive mindset and keep in mind all of the benefits that can come along with eating healthier, incorporating physical activity, and understanding the basics of nutrition. Here are a few ways to keep yourself motivated, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3:
1) Determine exactly what you want to achieve
Sometimes this can be more difficult than you think. Many people set a goal to eat healthier; when in reality he or she wants to lose weight. Even though there is a positive correlation between diet and weight loss, the goal should be more specific as to how the person wants to achieve weight loss, or how he or she plans to eat more nutritiously. Sometimes one goal can be confused for another, leading to the lack of motivation and an increase in confusion as to how to successfully attain the goal.
2) Make realistic, ideal goals
An ideal goal is defined as, “ a science-based goal intended to control or improve specific health conditions”. It is crucial to understand the importance of making realistic, ideal goals. If you never participate in physical activity and make a goal to run a marathon in several weeks, chances are this will be rather difficult to attain. However, if you eat 1-2 servings of vegetables a day and set a goal to increase your intake to 3-4 servings of vegetables a day, this is more realistic, because it is a small change that can in turn lead to larger changes in the future. An ideal goal enables you to make small changes that can positively affect your health, and then take those changes even further if desired.
3) Make your goals measureable
As mentioned in #2, when creating a realistic, ideal goal, they also have to be measurable. A measurable goal is one that incorporates what he or she intends to accomplish, how it will be done, and includes other factors such as how often and/or for how long. For example, “I will consume at least three pieces of whole fruit a day for at least 3 days of the week”. This goal measures a change in diet, as well as indicates exactly how it will be done and in a designated amount of time. This is also realistic because in this situation, the person plans to change, but will begin by changing only 3 days out of the 7 day week. This leaves room for growth and adjustment to the change(s) being made.
These 3 steps can help you stay motivated and keep up with your New Year’s Resolution. They can also be used for virtually any other resolutions!
Below are some additional tips and suggestions to help you eat nutritiously, and improve weight loss:
- Eat the Right Amount of Calories for You
- Decrease Portion Sizes
- Eat Fewer Empty Calories
- Focus on Foods You Need
- Make Better Choices When Eating Out
- Cook More Often at Home
- Increase Physical Activity
This and more information on nutrition and health can be found on: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
Stay motivated and Good Luck!
Nelms M, Sucher KP, Lacey K, Roth SL. Nutrition Therapy & Pathophysiology. 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. 2011