Don’t let that downer of a statistic hold you back — especially if you vowed to improve your health. Sylvia Warner, a registered dietitian with Giant Food Stores, said many people who don’t succeed at their resolutions share the same mistakes.
First, she said people make resolutions that are too broad and unrealistic without any markers for success. Many people are driven by results, so they focus on the number on the scale without putting in place a plan to achieve their goals. For example, she said, say someone wants to lose 30 pounds.
“You haven’t identified how you’re going to make all of that happen,” Warner said.
Second, she said many people try to change everything at once, which is unrealistic and sets people up for failure.
Warner she gets an influx of clients this time of year. She said many are taking a hard look at themselves and owning up to their habits, which are hurting their health.
“They’re extremely anxious,” Warner said. “They want a total makeover over everything.”
However, she said, true behavior change takes time. So get ready for the long haul. Giant nutritionists shared the following goals to keep you on track toward a healthier you in 2014.
• Set S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely). Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unattainable goals. Instead, create challenging, yet realistic goals that set you up for mini successes throughout the year.
• Focus on behaviors and not numbers. Once you’ve decided on a weight goal and a reasonable amount of time in which you want to lose the weight, any other goals you set should be goals over which you have direct control. For example, set mini goals of how many servings of fruit you eat each day or how many minutes you exercise.
• For some people, keeping a food journal can be tedious. Instead of writing down what you eat, snap a quick photo of it on your phone. Visual representation of what you’ve eaten or had to drink will hold you accountable during the day. At the end of the day,
you can look back and remember what you had to eat and when you ate it.
• Become a planner. Set aside time to plan your meals for the week prior to grocery shopping. Make half of your plate non-starchy vegetables, a quarter protein and quarter starch. If you have chicken breast as the protein, pair it with a non-starchy vegetable such as green beans and a whole grain, such as brown rice.
• Breakfast gives you the energy you need to start your day off right. Try to incorporate at least three different food groups at breakfast every day, such as whole grains, fruit and low-fat dairy. A yogurt parfait is a great example that contains all three.
• Keep your metabolism fired up by snacking between meals. Getting a combination of carbohydrates and protein will help keep you full longer and stabilize blood sugars. Some good choices include an apple with peanut butter, reduced-fat cheese and whole grain crackers, hummus and carrots, or dried fruit and almonds.
• “Veg out” by doubling the volume of non-starchy vegetables you eat for lunch and dinner.
• Too much sodium in the diet has been linked to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Limit your daily intake of sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams and instead increase your intake of herbs and spices to boost the flavor of your plate. Get creative with garlic powder, cumin, ginger, paprika and more.
• Make the TV room a no-food zone. In addition, for every hour of television you watch, use the commercial time to get up and continuously move or exercise with hand weights. During an hour-long show, you’ll move about 17 minutes.
• Stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can leave you tired and lacking energy for daily tasks. Limit your liquid calories such as soda, fruit drinks, iced teas, coffee drinks, etc. Try carrying a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go and drink from it throughout the day.
• Plan ahead and pack a healthy lunch for work so that you are in control of your choices. Be sure to include a lean protein, healthy fat and whole grains, in addition to your fruits and vegetables.
• When dining out, go online ahead of time to look at nutrition information to determine which meal option would be the healthiest.
• Be mindful to eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Use hunger and fullness cues to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough. Our brains need at least 20 minutes to get the message that our stomach is
• Finally, get your rest! The average American needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep can be associated with a number of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes,
cardiovascular disease and depression.