I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. They seem to set people up for failure, mostly because they’re so vague — I want to be healthier. I want to lose weight. I want to exercise more often.
But what does healthy mean? Are you including relationships or stress management in that picture of “health”? And how will you go about losing weight? And what’s the plan when exercising gets boring and you’d rather watch TV?
So, I shy away from bold declarations on Jan. 1. Until, of course, this year, when I became one of the many who declared a renewed commitment to health in 2013: I vowed to watch my food portions.
I eat fairly healthily (or so I like to think) — I make most of my meals at home: mostly fruits and vegetables, mostly in season; meat twice or perhaps three times a week; soda once or twice a month; lots of milk, whole grains and olive oil; limited salt and butter. But I’m a sucker for ice cream (even in the winter) and good, craft beers — and cheese. And, for the most part, I treat my gym routine — one hour, four days a week — as an excuse to indulge as I wish.
But when that indulgence is a bowl of ice cream that really holds three — or even four — servings, the time at the gym just isn’t enough. (A side note: A serving of ice cream is a half-cup. Check that out next time you’re in the kitchen.) Even at 24, being healthy and watching my weight has become as much of a food battle as it is an exercise battle.
I bought a food scale, and I bring my measuring cups out more often. But the most simple tips are the ones I know I’ll stick with:
- Using a 10-inch plate instead of a 12-inch so I don’t feel like I need to pile on the food. I’ll also try to split my plate according to USDA guidelines — half veggies, one-quarter starch, one-quarter protein. Along a similar vein, I use a smaller dish for ice cream rather than a cereal bowl.
- Drinking beer from the bottle instead of a tap. Yes, it’s only a savings of 4 ounces between a typical 12-ounce bottle and a 16-ounce draft. But when I can find a choice I enjoy just as well in a smaller serving, I’ll go for it. With a fairly low alcohol tolerance, this helps me stay level-headed throughout the night as well.
- Avoiding the office treat table. Sometimes, even the mention of cookies is enough for me to get up and check out the offerings — holiday parties didn’t help. But I try to keep them out of sight — and also remember how unwell I feel when I do overeat or overindulge.
- Keeping healthy (or healthier) snacks available. I don’t buy cookies, chips or soda anymore, and when I do bake, I try to give some (or most) of the end result away. Stocking up on fruit satisfies my sweet tooth, and knowing I have a banana in my lunch bag is often enough to keep me from the morning cupcakes.
How have your healthy goals changes as you’ve gotten older? Do you find yourself changing eating or exercise habits? Is it part of your New Year’s resolution? Leave a comment and share your story.