Many people start the New Year with a resolution to do something different. It may be ‘go to the gym’ or ‘lose some weight’. Many of these resolutions are long forgotten or abandoned after a few weeks. But as far as resolutions go, New Years may be the best time try to make a change. Check Dr Mike Evans video clip on New Years Resolutions. Some of the keys to success are to tell others about your goal so that they can support you and hold you to it. Also, setting goals together with other people has been shown to improve success.
In my work on helping people change behaviour, I have learned a couple other tips that may help you succeed on this year’s commitment. The first tip is to pick something small and achievable that you actually can imagine yourself doing long term. Many resolutions included avoiding temptations like chocolate, ice cream or alcohol. Trying to commit to avoiding things completely is really hard and is unlikely to be achievable for longer than a few weeks. The second tip is not to pick weight loss. Weight loss is extremely hard to achieve long term. Many people are good at dieting or starting a new exercise routine that achieves quick success. The difficult part is actually maintaining these changes. Many of you may have experienced the yo-yoing down and back up of dieting. These quick weight loss routines can actually do more harm than good by reducing your lean body mass and cause further problems with obesity in the future. Slow and steady changes to behaviours around eating and physical activity are much better for your health. I suggest focusing on behaviours rather than weight loss and improving your fitness rather that getting to a particular target on the scale. You may lose some weight in the process but that should not be the goal.
Some examples that may work for you
1. Packing your lunch twice a week.
2. Only having pop (or sugary beverages) on weekends
3. Eating a vegetarian supper once or twice a week.
4. Going for a walk twice a week
5. Having a day or two each week where you unplug and do not watch any TV (Youtube, Facebook, etc).
Here are a couple of resources that I have come across recently that may be helpful:
1. 45 Tips That Do Not Include Weight Loss
2. Eat What you Love and Love what you Eat – by Michelle May
There also a number of good resources on her webpage including an eating cycle assessment.
3. Nutrition Education
This short article reminded me on how important it is as parents to teach our children about nutrition education. This will likely include cooking with your children. They can find recipes online (Kids always like doing that – allrecipes.com is a good one for everyday cooking). A website that is geared
for kids and your family that you may want to introduce you children to is weelicious.com Having your children involved in food preparation is a great way to teach them about nutrition, encourage them to try new foods and can assist you in the weekly chore of preparing meals.
4. Write down your commitment
In the spirit of sharing your commitment, I encourage you to post your achievable health goal. All the best in 2016!
Thanks to Audrey Inouye, Registered Dietitian for the some of the links in this blog.