We’re now just over halfway through 2015, which means it’s been half a year since you made those all-important New Year’s resolutions. Think back to the beginning of the year. You were so intent on losing weight, eating better and exercising more. Did you? Have you been diligent and kept up with your goals? It’s very likely that a good number of people reading this did not succeed. In fact, the majority of New Year’s resolutions are kaput by the end of February. There’s still time, however, to turn it all around, and the best way to do so is to look at the things we’ve done wrong that got us off track in the first place.
Blount Memorial registered dietitian Angie Tillman says many people set themselves up for New Year’s resolution failure before they even begin. “A lot of people make the common mistake of trying to change too much too quickly,” she said. “Sometimes when we try to take the ‘all-or-nothing’ path, we can get discouraged easily, particularly if we don’t see the immediate results we’re after. Obviously, it’s later in the year, but it’s never too late to recover your resolutions and make them work for you. Try focusing on why you set those goals to begin with, and think about why losing weight and getting healthier are important to you. Are you just trying to fit into a smaller dress or pair of pants, or are you hoping to feel better, improve your overall health and have more energy? How you answer that question can help you stick to your plan, and be content with the progress you are making, rather than looking at how far you still have to go,” she explained.
When making your resolutions, Tillman says it also is important not to focus on specific foods that you want to get rid of. “A lot of times, I hear people talk about how they want to give up specific foods that they crave, but know are not good for them such as pizza and ice cream. When we do this, it often leads to craving those foods even more because we know we aren’t ‘supposed’ to have them or aren’t ‘allowed’ to have them,” she said. “Instead, simply try eating more vegetables every meal, packing your lunch more often and taking a short walk each day. Don’t worry about eating ‘perfectly’ every day, or committing to an intense workout regimen. Remember, success is based on setting realistic, long-term goals. One method that I’ve found works for some people is the ‘80/20’ or ‘90/10’ rule, where 80 or 90 percent of the time, you’re doing your very best to make healthy choices with your meals and getting consistent, routine exercise. The other 10 or 20 percent of the time, you should allow yourself a treat, and take a break from your workout,” she explained.
Tillman says it’s also important to make use of every tool available to you. “You might want to look into joining a gym, using a pedometer or fitness tracker, and using fitness and nutrition apps on your smartphone,” she said. “You also can consider talking to an expert, particularly if you have a significant amount of weight to lose. A certified personal trainer and a registered dietitian can help you form a realistic plan for long-term successful healthy living,” she explained. “Just remember not to be too hard on yourself if you haven’t reached your New Year’s resolution goals. Weight loss isn’t easy, and long-term weight loss and maintenance are a lifelong journey. Remember not to give up, and never let one small mistake or bad decision get you off track or prevent you from reaching your goals,” she added.