I know that as a dietitian you would think that I would be all gung-ho about people making New Years resolutions to eat healthier/lose weight/exercise more. Then again, if you know me, or read my blog, you probably won’t be all that surprised to learn that I am not a huge fan of these sorts of resolutions.
I keep overhearing people talking about their resolutions to “go on a diet”, to “lose ten pounds”, to “go to the gym”. They kind of make me want to tear out my hair. It’s all I can do to keep my mouth shut by biting my tongue. I’m all for people becoming healthier. I wouldn’t have studied nutrition if I wasn’t. I’m also a huge fan of exercise and active transportation. And I practice what I preach. However, I view these types of resolutions as pretty much guaranteed to fail.
There is absolutely no point in resolving to do something that you hate. If you don’t like going to the gym or running or whatever exercise you’re resolving to do, you’re not going to stick with it. Pick something that you will actually get some enjoyment out of. Try different things. Sometimes it’s going to be a battle but it shouldn’t feel like torture to lace up your sneakers.
Diets are the dreaded “D” word. I wish I could remove that word from our vernacular. Dieting has become synonymous with deprivation. I also don’t think that anyone views a diet as a permanent change. Sure, you can lose weight through depriving yourself of calories or food groups but odds are you’re not going to be able to continue to do so for the rest of your life. As I’ve said again and again: if you want to see sustainable weight loss, you’ve got to make sustainable changes.
These resolutions are also fairly vague. If you do want to improve your health try to focus on reasonable goals that you might actually stick with. One year I resolved to do yoga at least once a week because I felt I needed to improve my flexibility. And yes, I did stick with it; not because I love yoga (I don’t) but because I’m stubborn and sometimes it’s for my own good. Suggested realistic resolutions: aim to cook at least X number of meals at home a week, bring a lunch to work at least 4 days a week, only buy coffee out once a week, switch to drinking your coffee black, aim to add an extra serving of vegetables or fruit every day, try a new (to you) fruit/vegetable/grain/other whole food every time you go grocery shopping. Resolutions should be about making your life better.