Fitness Facts: New and improved New Year’s resolutions

January 04, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

By Emily Orvos
GCU Registered Dietitian

The holiday season has truly flown by this year – can you believe it’s already 2022?

How many times have you said, “My diet starts on January 1?” As a dietitian, I frequently get asked about nutrition-related New Year’s resolutions, including what “diet” is best. Unfortunately, this question doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone has unique needs and goals, so your diet should reflect that.

That being said, the most common mistake I see among resolutioners is focusing on a restrictive, short-term diet instead of building healthy habits that last a lifetime. Keto, Whole-30, intermittent fasting and other diets may provide temporary success but are too rigid for most individuals’ lifestyles in the long term. This often leads to yo-yo dieting rather than lasting health.

The best “diet” for you is one you can follow for years to come. Rather than choosing a fad diet that may not be compatible with your lifestyle, focus on small habits that build over time. Results may not come as quickly, but they are much more likely to last than with the quick fixes. Remember: Slow results are maintainable results.

Another important tip I share with individuals I work with is to focus on what you can add to your diet rather than restrict or eliminate. This helps rid you of the all-or-nothing mindset than can be harmful when trying to improve your health. For example, how can I add more protein to this snack? How can I add more fiber throughout my day?

Here are some examples of lifestyle habit-based New Year’s resolutions that focus on adding rather than restricting:

  • Add breakfast before work or class every day to fuel your morning. If you aren’t a regular breakfast eater, start with something small, such as a banana with peanut butter or Greek yogurt with berries.
  • Add more homemade lunches each week rather than eating on campus every day.
  • Buy a reusable water bottle and always carry it with you to add more hydration. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces to start. For example, a 150-pound person should drink at least 75 ounces of water daily.
  • Add 30 minutes of movement into your day five times per week. Walking is great if you need to start small.
  • Add a vegetable to your dinner each night. Canned and frozen count, too. Find creative recipes that make you excited to try new veggies.
  • Prioritize sleep – start by adding 30-60 more minutes if you aren’t consistently sleeping at least 7-8 hours per night.
  • Try a new recipe once a week. This can be a fun way to add variety in your diet.

These are just a few examples of habits to add to your routine. Remember, you know yourself best! Think about what habits are most realistic and make you feel excited to live a healthy lifestyle.

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