As registered dietitians, you may be surprised to know that we get many more new clients in February than in January. That’s because in January, many people start out making their resolutions on their own and then sadly, they contact us in February when they fell of the wagon and need help. The good news is that when they come to see us in February, we are able to help them to make their resolutions a long-lasting reality. Here are the secrets to making your nutrition resolution last.
First, to stick to your resolution, you must have a plan. Your plan should have specific objectives so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis. For example, your ultimate goal may be weight loss. However, keep in mind that it is the baby steps (objectives) that ultimately will help you to meet your goal. One of your objectives may be to limit your carbohydrate portions to the size of your fist at each meal. You should have a minimum of four to five objectives, so that you are able to meet at least some of them everyday—this way you will feel a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis.
Keep a diary of your objectives, like the one below. On a daily basis, put a check next to each objective that you meet. This way you will feel rewarded for your hard work. Also, record what you eat so that you can be held accountable for the food you consume.
Remember AIM FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!
Focus on what you will eat, not what you won’t. Think positively about the foods that you can eat more of to be healthier. Instead of saying, “I won’t eat cake”, say, “I will eat a piece of fruit every day for a snack.” Be specific with your objectives so that you can know exactly whether or not you achieved them.
Here are several examples of objectives. Use these examples as a guide. Customize them to meet your personal health goals.
- I will eat fruit when I get a sweet tooth craving 5 out of 7 days of the week.
- When I start craving food at night, and I have already eaten dinner, I will take a relaxing bath.
- Instead of ordering french fries, I will have a baked potato with lemon and pepper.
- I will eat at least one serving of a leafy vegetable every day.
- I will get more calcium daily; I will either drink skim milk or have a nonfat yogurt for a snack.
- Instead of eating regular potato chips, I will have soy chips, baked chips, pretzels or air-popped popcorn and eat just one serving.
- I will eat a maximum of a fist-sized portion of pasta at dinner. I will fill my stomach by adding more veggies to my pasta sauce.
- I will say “no thank you” to the bread that is served at restaurants before dinner.
- I will eat red meat only one time a week.
- I will use cooking spray in my pan rather than oil or butter when I prepare meals.
- I will eat ¾ of my usual dinner portions.
- I will use nonfat cheese rather than full fat every other time that I eat cheese.
- I will eat fish one time each week instead of chicken or beef.