The University of Scranton says losing weight is the number one resolution, but, says only about eight percent of Americans achieve their new year’s goals.
Why? Many registered dietitian nutritionists say that fad diets are partly to blame.
“It’s tempting to focus on losing weight fast, which can lead many to turn to dangerous fads and crash diets,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Jessica Crandall. “However, research shows that slow, healthy weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes.”
Crandall says that forgetting fad diets and getting back to the basics of moving more and eating smarter are your best bets for success in the New Year.
Be Realistic, Be Specific
“Planning to hit the gym for four hours every day or stick to a super restrictive fad diet is overwhelming for your body and mind,” says Crandall. “Instead, choose smaller, healthy changes you can stick to over the long term.
One large goal can seem overwhelming. Instead, build a plan that works for your unique nutritional needs and lifestyle. Here are some challenging, reachable resolutions to consider:
- Make up your mind. Set your goal and go for it. This will mean embracing changes in your habits and routines.
- Cut out temptations right from the start by getting rid of junk food in your pantry.
- Get active! Fit in physical activity where you can in your day, whether taking a family walk after dinner or hitting the gym.
- Exercise for the rest of your life. Stay motivated by keeping things interesting and changing your workout routine periodically. Try new exercise classes or sign up for a big race.
- Convenience Counts. Life can get in the way of dieting if convenient options aren’t readily available. Have healthful ready-to-go meals and snacks on hand, particularly during dangerous times of day when cravings kick in.
- Drink more water: Sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty. Before eating, drink water to feel fuller. Replace sugary beverages with the good stuff — eight glasses daily is a good target.
- Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.
- Eat less and be mindful. Don’t “super-size yourself.” At the same time, don’t skip meals. Doing so can lower your metabolism and make you more susceptible to binge eating later.
- Don’t eat “dead food,” — food that is loaded with calories and offers little nutritional value. Skip or limit refined flour, refined sugar, high fat meat and solid fat. Eat healthy fats in moderation and avoid saturated and trans fat. Likewise, don’t drink your calories.
- Track progress. Tracking your journey can help you keep focused on end goals. Make it convenient by downloading a free app you can use from your phone that features tools to plan meals and track weight, workouts and measurements.
- Also, make sure the goals you set are measurable, as well as reward yourself. Allow time to achieve each smaller goal so you are not discouraged if you haven’t met them.
Build a Support Network
Enlist family and friends to try new healthy recipes with you or to be your workout buddy. Having a support network can help you overcome midnight snacking urges and hit the gym in even the coldest of months.
This New Year don’t be disappointed. With a smart plan in place, you can give your New Year’s diet resolution a chance for long-term success by achieving quick, modest results right out of the gate.