In 2017, focus on reset rather than resolution
While resolutions tend to make their way into our lives every January, research has shown that many people give them up after just a few weeks. A nutrition expert with Baylor College of Medicine suggests focusing instead on a reset of a healthy lifestyle with more realistic decisions.
"When we look at setting resolutions, people look at this as having a start date of Jan. 1," said Roberta Anding, a registered dietitian with Baylor. "The problem with the start is that it means that there's an end. There shouldn't be an end date to a healthy lifestyle."
The focus should be on what you can reasonably do better when considering healthy food choices, Anding said. For example, if you love eating fettuccini Alfredo, resolving to never eat it again is not reasonable. Instead, your reset should be that if you are going to eat fettuccini Alfredo, you will have a serving size the palm of your hand.
"Sometimes we demonize food, but it's the amount that we eat," said Anding. "The reset is 'I'm going to have this food that I absolutely love, but when I have it, it's going to have to be in a moderate amount.'"
For those who enjoy eating carbs, going carb-free is not going to be reasonable. Instead, Anding suggests eating proteins and vegetables first and saving the starches for last. This blunts the rise of blood sugar after the meal, and there's a chance that less carbs will be consumed.
For those who do not enjoy eating vegetables, the reset would be to eat fruits instead of vegetables. While there may be more sugar in fruits compared to vegetables, they are natural sugars, which are not as bad for you. Fruits and vegetables both have fiber and come in a variety of colors. The colors are where the nutrition is found in fruits and vegetables.
Anding suggests trying to find even 10 minutes a day to incorporate physical activity or exercise and then slowly increasing to 30 minutes.
"Start with making slight tweaks to your diet and exercise program. These small changes really do add up and make a big difference in the long run." said Anding.
She also makes the following suggestions:
- Start making produce on the plate a priority. Although fresh fruits and vegetables might be the best choice, don't dismiss the nutritional value of frozen and even canned. The convenience of frozen and canned make these choices not only practical but easy to prepare.
- Work on eliminating sugary drinks – focus on chewing your calories rather than drinking them. Consider sparkling waters with a hint of fruit or even unsweetened ice tea. Start by switching out one sugary drink per day with one of these alternatives.
- Eat protein at each meal. Proteins help maintain muscle mass and control appetite.
The idea is to adopt behaviors that you can hold onto, Anding said. She cautions that detox diets are a waste of money.
"You don't have 10 pounds of sludge hanging off of your intestinal wall," she said. "That's factually not true."