So often the start of a new year brings about self reflection and thoughts of positive changes for the rest of the year. New Years resolutions for many people include diet and exercise goals. Here are my 6 tips to start the New Year off right.
- Be realistic with yourself and set 1 or 2 goals to work on at a time. If you start the year off working on 10 goals at once you may set yourself up for failure and eventually be tempted to “throw in the towel”.
- Aim for realistic lifestyle changes rather than “Fad diets”. For most people a “diet” has a start date and an end date. What happens after you have finished the 30 day plan? do you go back to your old eating habits? regain the weight you had lost? Instead of a fad diet work toward a lifestyle change built on healthy choices that are going to work for the long-term.
- Think of what you Can eat more of and not about what you Can’t eat. Sometimes when we have a long list of foods we should not eat it can be overwhelming and knowing you are not supposed to eat them can make them even more desirable. We need to have a healthy relationship with food, not one full of rules. For example, try to increase your fibre intake by incorporating legumes such as kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils into two dinners per week.
- Go for real food! Ditch the protein shakes, juice cleanses and especially the processed foods. Let’s put your teeth and digestive system to good use. Go ahead crunch on that apple, you will get more fibre and texture satisfaction than if you just had juice.
- Go for colour. Go for plant-based foods. Go for foods packed with phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural compounds found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. Many phytonutrients have antioxidants properties and have been linked to reducing the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease to name a few. Go for the red, orange, yellow and dark green fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrients are what gave those fruits and vegetables their colour.
- Little steps matter! Go one step at a time, its not all or nothing. You don’t’ have to eat perfectly all the time, you just need to do better than before. If you have made positive changes to your diet but the number on the scale hasn’t changed, It’s ok. Eating more fruits and vegetables does help with weight loss but more importantly it also helps in preventing diabetes and heart disease; and overall you will feel better.
These don’t sound too bad right? Certainly, It has to be easier than following a long list of rules that will prevent you from eating your mom’s famous apple pie at a special dinner because it has gluten, dairy and other “bad” foods in it. It takes time to make real sustainable changes, one step at a time.