Dear Holly: I want to be healthier next year. What diet do you recommend? -New Year’s Resolution?
Dear New Year’s Resolution: I don’t actually recommend any diets. The word diet implies a terrible and temporary withdrawal from your favorite foods.
Health is a lifestyle journey. Good eating is part of that. When people start a diet, they are not usually looking forward to it and often try to change too many things in their daily routine to be able to stick with any of them. Enter yo-yo dieting. A couch potato doesn’t become a marathoner in a day.
When I’m working on lifestyle changes and goals with clients, we create SMART goals, together. Smart stands for Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic and Time bound.
Specific – this means that you’re honing in on just what you want to change. Instead of “I want to eat better,” state, “I want to improve my health by eating more vegetables.”
Measurable – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. For this goal, I might say “I will eat one serving of vegetables, each day, at lunch. I will record my veggie intake on my personal planner.”
Action orientated – what is going to be your key to success? Are you going to include your favorite veggies in your weekend shopping, chop them and package in individual baggies so that they’re ready for lunch? Make a big pot of veggie soup and pack a thermos for lunch? Have a serving of leafy greens in your usual smoothie? Create your plan of action for success with your goal.
Realistic – making lifestyle changes should be a small step from where you are, not a giant leap. If the last time a green vegetable landed on your plate, we were partying like it’s 1999, a vegetable every day is probably too big of a change. Having a serving of veggies twice a week might be a good place to start.
Time Bound – how long are you going to try this new challenge before you reassess? Keep in mind that your initial SMART goal is merely the first step on your wellness journey. Start with one small goal and build momentum from there. “I will have one serving of vegetables, twice a week, for the next three weeks. Then I will reassess.”
Don’t forget a reward. In exchange for success with your goal, what is going to be your treat? I recommend something exciting to you, not too big, and not food. Maybe it is a magazine you don’t usually allow yourself to buy, a new bottle of nail polish or a bouquet of flowers to perk up your kitchen.
If your are going to make New Year’s Resolutions, be my guest! Just make sure that you create SMART goals. If you are ready to work with a nutrition professional, I am here to help.
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What’s your question for Holly? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by Holly Larson, Registered Dietitian. Visit Holly online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow her on facebook at facebook.com/hollylarsonmsrd. Have a delicious, healthy day!