New Year, New You
5 Tips for Staying on Track Through the New Year
Now that the holidays are over, and we are getting back to our routines, some of us may have a little bit of guilt about overindulging during the holiday season! Every year in January, a lot of people make new year's resolutions- the majority of them focusing on improving one’s health. As I always say, it’s not about what you eat between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s more about what you eat the rest of the year! Let’s get back to basics here, and reset our way of thinking.
Now is the perfect time to get back on track with your healthy eating and exercise habits. It’s a fresh start, and I don’t think anyone has been happier to say goodbye to a crazy year! As a Registered Dietitian, I work closely with many clients to help them achieve their health and nutrition goals. It’s tough to stay on track, but by following these easy steps, I’ve found many people to have great success:
- Make measurable goals. The first thing to do is to determine a few goals you’d like to achieve this year. Maybe it’s losing weight or lowering your hemoglobin A1C- either way, write down 2-3 goals you’d like to achieve this year. Under each goal, write a few ways in which you can achieve that goal. For example, if your number one goal is to lose weight, perhaps picking up a new exercise routine (one you actually enjoy and can stick with!), or not eating out as frequently could be some ways you could achieve that goal. Pro tip: don’t make huge changes all at once. Start out small, making little changes here and there that will add up to a big lifestyle change overtime. Once you achieve one new change, then you can start on another. I’ve found that by making way too many changes at once can cause people to become overwhelmed and fall off track.
- Just say no to the quick fix. New product or program that promises quick and easy weight loss? That’s a big red flag to me! Always remember- if what you are doing is not sustainable, the results are not going to be sustainable either. Sure, you may see quick results by depriving yourself immensely or following a “shake” program, but that isn’t something most people can do long-term. Try and find something that gives you the tools and realistic help to reach your goals- most importantly, something you can stick with long term.
- Realize you are human. It is easy to have a “bad weekend” and totally get off track- this happens, we are human! Understand that this is going to happen, and you are going to have your ups and downs. Get right back up, and stay the course. Perhaps you need an accountability partner- like a friend or family member to participate with you. For example, if you want to increase your walking, it may be helpful to find someone to go with you on a regular basis. This is a great tip for those days when you just aren’t up to it- you have that accountability partner to help motivate you!
- Don’t forget about movement! Notice I didn’t say exercise here?! Eating healthy is so important, but another piece of the puzzle is movement, or physical activity. I’m not saying you have to run sprints for an hour every day. It’s easy to be sedentary, especially during the winter months. Think about what you currently do, and what you want to add to your current movement regimen (or start!). If you walk once a week now, try finding a buddy and going 3 times a week. Maybe you try an at-home workout like Nike Training Club (free with the pandemic!) or a video yoga class. Find something you enjoy and get up and move! Not only will it help you feel better, but exercise also helps your muscles to absorb glucose, helping to manage your blood glucose levels.
- Let’s add, not subtract. A lot of the clients I work with automatically think they have to restrict, restrict, restrict in order to meet their health goals. When I ask them to share with me what a typical day looks like, I like to focus on what is missing from the diet. More often than not, it’s fiber. Fiber not only helps manage your blood glucose levels, helps with lowering cholesterol, helps you feel full longer, but it also feeds the gut microbiome. You’re not only nourishing your body, but also the probiotics that are in your gut, helping to diversify your gut microbiome. Take a look at what you’re currently eating, and see if you’re missing fiber, a certain nutrient, or food group. Try slowly adding in healthier options to incorporate this missing piece.
Start small, and slowly add new healthy changes to your life over time. By the end of 2021, you will have made many small changes that have added up to a big lifestyle change that won’t seem as daunting had you made all the changes at once. Need extra help getting and staying on track? Check out our available nutrition offerings, with your next purchase of PGC! Keep with it- you’ve got this!
Written by: Kristin Neusel, MS RD LD CDCES
Cheers to a happy & healthy New Year!