Let’s make some REAL New Year’s Resolutions

As 2018 is coming to an end, you will hear more and more talk of New Year’s Resolutions and “New Year, New Me” ideas. There are some mixed reviews from people when it comes to resolutions. Many people dislike the concept of the New Year’s Resolution because they find they cannot stick to the plan they set for themselves. The important thing to remember is your New Year’s Resolution should be set just as any goal wound be. Goals are more often successfully reached when they are realistic and specific. For example, saying “I want to eat healthier” leaves a wide area for interpretation and does not guide you in making yourself accountable. A more specific and realistic goal would be to eat at least 2 fruits per day. Making a goal you can stick to and measure will make you successful in the upcoming year! Here are a few tips and ideas you can try when making your New Year’s Resolution.

  • Don’t focus on a specific weight loss number or number on the scale.
    • While some people find a numeric weight loss goal motivating, it can also be demotivating if this goal is not attainable. If you find you have to set a numeric goal keep it in small increments like 1-2 pounds per week.
    • Try to focus on measurements around your body, how your clothes fit and how you feel overall.
  • Try adding “Meatless Monday” to your schedule.
    • Research shows that people who eat red meat are at increased risk of death from stroke, heart disease or diabetes.
    • Try switching out the meat at meals with fish, beans, quinoa, lentils, tofu, or nuts.
  • Increase your physical activity
    • If you are just starting out exercising, begin slowly and build your way up to your goal. Start with walking and increase intensity as you feel comfortable.
    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends at least 150 minutes (~2.5hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes(1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
    • Moderate-intensity aerobic activity includes: brisk walking, dancing, tennis, biking slower than 10mph, gardening
    • Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity includes: running, hiking uphill, swimming laps, jumping rope, cycling 10mph or faster
  • Decrease salt intake.
    • Did you know 9 out of 10 Americans eat too much salt! Over 70% of the sodium you eat comes from packaged and restaurant foods.
    • The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300mg sodium per day (with an ideal goal of 1,500mg)!
    • To decrease sodium intake try using fresh or dry herbs and spices to add flavor to prepared foods at home.
    • Ditch the salt shaker at home—don’t add salt at the table.
    • When shopping check the packaging to select foods that have the lowest sodium content per serving.
    • If you are using condiments select the lower-sodium options.
  • Decrease intake of added sugar
    • The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 6tsp for most women and 9tsp for most men. To put this into perspective a typical 12 ounce soda contains about 8 tsp of sugar!
    • Cut back on sugar intake by drinking sparkling water or unsweetened tea.
    • If you buy juice make sure the label reads 100% fruit juice.
    • Add flavor to your coffee or tea using cinnamon, nutmeg or even ginger!

Remember, there will likely be some days you fall off track with your goal and THAT IS OKAY! Do not beat yourself up because no one is perfect. View each day as a fresh slate to continue your New Year’s resolution.

You can get more information here:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/meatless-meals/art-20048193

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-to-reduce-sodium

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/added-sugar-infographic

By: Erica Harper MS, RD