How to Set ‘Eat Healthier’ New Year Resolutions that work
As the New year sets in, talk about how things will be different this year and setting new year resolutions gains momentum. It is a great time to reflect on the year that was and how you might like the future to change but a word of warning; stay clear of the diet hype and pressure to be transforming your body into a ‘new you.’ The one that will exercise more, eat healthier, drink less alcohol, make time for myself, save money, spend more time with my family and the list goes on. Are all these things really going to happen? It’s a new year but just another day on the calendar.
Changes to improve your health are welcome, however complete overhauls are often a fast road to failure and disappointment. Focus on small changes that you can sustain long term. You will need a plan with strategies on how you will do things differently from yesterday. This is the key if you want new habits to happen and stick.
Key steps for making and sticking to new year resolutions in the diet department.
1. First look at all the great things you already do with your diet that are good for your health. Give yourself a pat on the back and ask yourself, why you are able to achieve these- what is the key to success?
2. Forget ‘dieting!’ If diets actually worked for weight loss we wouldn’t be creating new ones constantly. Let’s be positive and think about what to include rather than what not. When you focus to eat in the day there wont be much room for the less nourishing choices anyway.
E.g. 2 fruit, 5 serves vegetables, a generous handful of nuts, wholegrain carbohydrates such as bread, oats or rice, dairy or dairy alternatives such as yoghurt, cheese and milk, a protein source at each meal such as fish, lean meat, lentils or tofu
3. Next think about what you would like to change and very importantly why, focusing on reasons for overall health and wellbeing (i.e. not just around weight loss).
For example: .
- I would like to drink more water to stay well hydrated to reduce my tiredness in the afternoon.
- I would like to eat more seafood for omega3 fats for my heart and joint health.
- I want to improve my gut health by eating pre and probiotic containing foods.
- Including a source of protein at each meal will help maintain my muscle and keep me full between meals
Keep this list achievable. One or two things at a time, then move on to the next as the year goes on.
4. To improve your diet and consequently your health a focus needed for most Australians (93% of Australians don’t eat the recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day) is to eat more vegetables and plant foods. Look at how you can do this. Some tips that might help are:
a. Set a shopping time to go fruit and vegetable shopping
b. Visit fresh food markets with family and friends
c. Grow some herbs, vegetables or fruit at home
d. Prepare vegetables in advance for snacks and lunches, cook extra one night for the next
e. Add extra vegetables to dishes e.g. barbeques, soups, curries, frittata, with your eggs, in stir fry, meatless Monday.
5. Get support. It is important to have the people around you on board with what you would like to achieve. Keep away from the doubters, people who want to sabotage and those going on ‘quick fix diets’ for the new year. You are in for the long term change and benefits. Who will be the people to encourage and get enthusiastic about buying the food you would like to eat, help plant the veggie garden, start cooking dinner for you and overall be supportive? You need a good team around you for the best chance of success.
Planning is a key to success in most areas of life and health is no different. Give your diet some time and attention and you will reap the rewards this year!
Wishing everyone great happiness and health for the new year.