...when people make resolutions.
I'm not very good at that kind of stuff. I don't know if I've ever written down a resolution that I was able to fulfill. Maybe it is because I was really writing a wishlist, not a course of action. Not that there is anything wrong with writing a wishlist. (Maybe one day I will take those guitar lessons... I still want to.) Anyway, I wonder if that is why most people don't follow through on their resolutions, and in the end get discouraged.
As a dietitian, I cannot ignore the overemphasis on weight that new year's resolutions have. Even the retail industry has jumped on the bandwagon. From electronic stores to supermarkets, they all have something to help you "get healthy" this time of year.
So I figure I would shamelessly offer my own suggestions:
- Don't make your weight your goal. Instead, take a look at one lifestyle change that you think you can make. It's your lifestyle, not your weight, that makes you healthy.
- Break the change down into steps. Lets say your resolution is to cook from scratch more often. Instead of resolving to do it every day, try one or two more days a week than you currently do. Once you get comfortable with that, add another day, and so on.
- If necessary, put off the resolution until February or March. By then, you may not be as fogged by the self-imposed guilt that comes from eating holiday fare. Then your decisions may be better thought out and easier to implement.
- Don't wait until next January. Reflecting on improving a healthful lifestyle should take place more than once a year. Evaluate what is working and what is not. Don't just stop, find something that works for you and stick with it. If something is not working, then do something else. However, be realistic with this. Some changes take a while to get the desired result. I'm talking more about whether you are able to keep up with a change that you'd like, not whether that change is giving you the results you expected in two months.
- Be honest with yourself. Check your motivations for why you are doing what you want to do. Do you want to lose weight so you will feel better about yourself? Do you want others to feel better about you? Should your motivation really be tied to these things? And where does your health really fit into all of this? Will you be satisfied if you don't reach your personal goal, but you feel better and are actually healthier than when you started?
- Don't go on a diet.
- Remember, we are always learning something new. About ourselves, others, our environment, etc. Don't try and have it all together by year's end.
- Evaluate what is really hindering you from reaching your goal. Stress eating has become a new challenge to me. It is easier for me to remove the food as opposed the stress. Otherwise it can become quite the vicious cycle. My answer is to avoid having certain foods around the house (and oddly enough, I recently discovered that I can get the "kick" with celery! lol!) This way, I am forced to focus on the source of stress rather than compound it...
...which reminds me of the cycle of blah that I meant to post about quite a while ago:
Thankfully, my problem is not with ice cream.
By the way, I'd love to hear of your resolutions. Current or past, successes or failures. What did you learn from them?
Here's to a healthier year!