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With the start of a new year, it’s not uncommon for people to make a vow to themselves to eat healthier. More often than not, this resolution lasts through January – as do resolutions to go to the gym – before fading out as the months wear on. According to U.S News, a whopping 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are unfortunately against you.
There are ways to motivate yourself to keep these resolutions going strong throughout the year. However, there is no magic pill and YOU have to put in the work to keep good habits. Here are a few suggestions to help you maintain a healthier diet throughout the year:
It might sound annoying, but self-monitoring is crucial for weight loss. If you track your weight loss, you are more likely to keep it off. Why? Because it makes you aware of what you’re eating. It’s also recommended to record your emotions when you eat because that helps you identify your triggers for overeating as well as the foods you’re most likely to overeat. You can also jot down new dishes or recipes you’ve tried, which helps identify nutritional voids in your overall diet. There are many popular apps and websites for people who don’t want to commit to traditional pen and paper-based journaling.
Hire a personal trainer or nutritionist to help you reach and maintain your health and wellness goals. Or pay for extra fitness classes at a gym or boutique gym of your choice. When you pay for something, you’re more willing to commit to it as you’re being held accountable by someone else. As for the clothes, having new and updated workout gear can make a person feel more inclined to exercise. Research shows that we feel more confident and perform better in fashionable workout clothing. It doesn’t have to be expensive, though! There are plenty of brands that carry the latest in workout wear trends at reasonable prices.
If you’re not used to eating healthy, a smooth transition to a healthier diet isn’t going to happen overnight. It will initially be hard, and there will be stumbles and slip-ups along the way. Don’t quit. Maintaining a positive mindset is an important part of finding the resolve to pick yourself up and try again. Beating yourself up for mistakes is not going to get you any closer to accomplishing your goal. Give yourself encouragement, command encouragement from others, and try again. It is the only way to really make lifestyle changes.
Find a friend, family member or partner with the same healthy eating ambitions as yourself and make a plan to check in with each other. Trying to break old habits is tough, but stating your intention to a trusted friend who you know is supportive of your goal can really help. Verbalizing an intention can help make it feel more concrete. Be sure to choose the right person; it needs to be someone who can be gently encouraging rather than someone who provokes guilt and shame if you fall off the wagon. You can also join a support group. Nowadays, there are plenty of online support groups for weight loss that are beneficial for people who need accountability.
Think you have to give up all your favorite sweet and savory treats? Think again! A great way to still have some of your beloved indulgences is to MAKE YOUR OWN. Love pizza? Buy whole-grain dough or make the crust with almond flour or cauliflower rice, use a homemade tomato sauce or pesto and load it up with veggies. Craving pasta? You could use a Veggie Bullet to make noodles out of vegetables such as zucchini or sweet potato – slightly crunchier than pasta but delicious and full of nutrients. Ice cream on your wishlist? Blend almond milk, a frozen banana, two pitted dates, half an avocado and two tablespoons of raw cacao powder in a NutriBullet and you have a chocolate banana “ice cream”.
Of course, these things won’t taste exactly like your old unhealthier favorites, but as you find yourself adapting to a healthier lifestyle and losing the weight you desire, your taste buds and waistline will welcome them with open arms.
Making the resolution to eat healthier is the first important step towards a healthier life. To push through the second week of February and turn your resolutions into lifelong habits, however, you need to create realistic and actionable steps that you can follow such as keeping a food journal or learning how to prepare tasty and healthy dishes. Be held accountable, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Slip-ups will happen, but as long as you don’t quit, you’ll have a healthier and happier year!
Carrie Gabriel studied nutrition at California State University-Los Angeles and got her RDN through the Coordinated Dietetics Program there. She works as a dietitian for different corporate wellness companies, creating recipes for cooking demos and content for nutrition seminars.
She created her company, Steps2Nutrition, in 2012 in hopes of working more one on one with busy professionals and their specific nutritional needs. She has an advanced certification in weight management and specializes in gluten and dairy free meal preparation for various clients.
You can find some of Carrie’s healthy and delicious recipes and meal tips on her website, www.steps2nutrition.com, and on her Instagram and Twitter account, @steps2nutrition.