It’s January — time to kick-start your renewed commitment to healthy living!
A survey conducted by the University of Scranton found that last year, the number one New Year’s resolution for Americans was “to lose weight”, with “staying fit and healthy” ranking closely behind. However, only 8% were successful in reaching these goals.1
So what happens? What can we do to uphold our 2015 goals?
Simply put – resolutions are not powerful enough. This year, vow to make lifelong solutions, not “January” resolutions. Following are five key tips to help you reach your health and wellness goals:
- Make a Plan – Specify when, where and how you will take action. The best way to succeed is to write down what you will eat before you eat it. You will eat better. This creates mindfulness, focus and portion control. Plot out your breakfast for the next morning the night before. Chances are you will be more inclined to eat breakfast. And you’ll minimize food cravings the rest of the day. Pack a “fit-lunch” the night before and you’ll find eating better is automatic. To prevent afternoon unhealthy cravings, pack up fresh veggies like cherry or grape tomatoes, baby carrots or red bell pepper strips in baggies to have on-hand to for on-the-go snacks. You’ll use them if they are waiting for you! And plan ahead for dinners after work, to make cooking a snap.
- Kick Up the Flavor – Make healthy foods more enjoyable by adding more intense flavors. Nutritious foods that taste great create a sustainable habit. Check out McCormick’s tips on how to boost flavor in simple meals in their 30 Ways in 30 Days guide. Smokey flavors are “hot” in 2015.
- Keep it Simple – Find three dishes that can become your signature go-to dishes that are fast, fun, delicious and healthy. Consider broiled salmon or fish, a skillet beef dish or stir-fried recipe, a crockpot stew. Serve with fresh steamed, sautéed or roasted vegetables (fresh or frozen) and raw vegetables as in salads or sliced with hummus or avocado or a Greek yogurt-based dip. Commit to cooking three dinners at home each week. They are typically healthier and provide you with leftovers to enjoy all week long. Try cooking and freezing on weekends. Or, make a homemade healthier version of a dish you love at your favorite restaurant. Substitute healthy ingredients (like leaner beef cuts or more veggies or olive oil rather than butter). You will look forward to your tasty homemade meals.
- Set Yourself Up for Success – Create a system that helps you stay focused and organized. Pre-plan weekly meals. Buy a journal to keep a food and fitness log. Track your decisions and accomplishments. Take a few moments daily to reflect on what you did and could do better next time. Reflection and re-solution time are as important as time spent planning and acting on your original solution.
- Get Help, Support and Accountability – Pick someone you can go to for assistance if you run into obstacles or negative thinking. Meet with a registered dietitian/ nutritionist (RDN), your credentialed food and health expert, to create a personalized plan of action for you and “coach” you till you reach your goals. Commit to an exercise buddy or class or set time daily to walk or do an exercise you enjoy. Add this time to your daily calendar and let nothing interfere. This is your sacred time. Look for a role model, perhaps someone who has achieved what you want to. Reach out and connect with him/her to learn their success tips.
Above all, be positive. To make a new habit stick, practice the specific solutions that work for you, and re-solutions as needed. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The year 2015 will be the year you turn your dream health goals into reality…with lifelong results.
For more ideas on healthy eating and successful solutions, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips and eating plans makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.
This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.
The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.
1University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology,statisticbrain.com