When Resolutions and Diets Don’t Work

When Resolutions and Diets Don’t Work

Were you one of the millions of Americans who set a new year’s resolution to lose weight in 2018? Did you eat a few too many Christmas cookies at one too many holiday parties? Has the “D” word made its appearance and taken over your life?

If so, you are definitely not alone.

I have always loved setting and working hard toward reaching health and fitness goals. As each new year approaches, I find myself very excited about reflecting on the previous year’s goals and my progress. I have come to be more honest with myself about what I didn’t quite accomplish and what changes I can make so that I am closer to reaching all goals in the future. Did you notice that I did not did not once mention the words “resolution” or “diet?”

Truth be told, I cannot stand the words “resolution” and “diet” and rarely speak of them unless it is to encourage others to not focus on them. Not even for ONE MINUTE. To most people, they bring negative connotations and thoughts of failure. I’ve witnessed it firsthand over and over.

Why resolutions and diets don’t work.

These approaches often focus on an all or nothing mentality. They tend to be over-restrictive and require severe changes that most of the time cannot be maintained in the long term. Diets focus on “good” and “bad” foods and resolutions usually focus on things we are NOT going to do anymore. Do you see how the negativity can creep in?

Scales are not the best indicator of health and progress.

Most of us have a set number in our minds of what our ideal weight is and how that equates to health and beauty. The bottom line is that this number is often imposed on us from outside messages that we receive both subconsciously and consciously. Most of the time, the number we’d like to see on the scale is not realistic. Whenever possible, I avoid using the scale as a measure of progress with clients because it promotes unhealthy attitudes about food, our bodies, and our self-image.

How do we get moving in the right direction?

Making a list of a handful of healthy habits to focus on is always a good start. The key to steady progress is making a few positive changes to our daily routine that can be maintained and built on over time and then tracking them.

Here are 5 tips to get started on a healthier you in 2018.
  • 01
    Decrease the amount of sugar in your diet. Instead of a cookie or candy bar, reach for a container of greek yogurt.
  • 02
    Decrease the amount of alcohol you consume. Pouring a cup of hot green tea or a tall glass of sparkling water will leave you feeling more refreshed with much fewer calories.
  • 03
    Increase the amount of colorful vegetables on your plate. Spinach, red peppers, kale, and beets are a few of my favorites.
  • 04
    Move your body! Whether it be at a gym or walking or running on some trails, incorporating activity into your schedule on most days is one of the keys to a healthy mind and body.
  • 05
    Focus on abundance vs restriction. Focusing on all the nutrient-packed and tasty foods we can fill our plates and pantries with rather than the foods we should avoid will leave you feeling more satisfied and content.
Healthier eating habits and thoughts about our bodies do not develop overnight but take being intentional, patient with ourselves, and being consistent. Each of us can accomplish our goals for better health in the new year if we stay focused on the right behaviors and don’t give up.