What's the point in setting yourself such a challenge that you won't want to stick to it?The Food Coach Judy Davie takes a look at some common and commonly broken weight-loss resolutions and suggests how you can make them more achievable.
"This year, I will go on a diet and lose weight."
Let's start with that old chestnut! A diet is simply a word to describe what we eat, but has such bad associations these days. As soon as someone refers to being on a diet their subconscious is asking how long for. Try instead:
"This year, I will make healthier food choices most of the time."
"I will give up alcohol."
Anyone with a social life will find this far too much of a stretch. A healthier and happier resolution is:
"I will drink differently and drink less."
Some tips on achieving this:
- Have at least three alcohol-free nights during the week.
- Instead of beer, switch to a refreshing white wine mixed with soda, or a champagne.
- Instead of pre-mixed spirit based drinks, drink vodka with fresh lime juice and soda.
"I will cut out pasta at night."
It's not the pasta that's the problem it's what's in it and how much you eat. It's healthy to enjoy the things you love occasionally so your resolution should be:
"I will enjoy an entrée-sized pasta meal once or twice a fortnight with a green salad on the side."
"This year, I will exercise 6 times a week for an hour a day."
This one is great if you love exercise and have enough spare time to do it. For many people, that's not so achievable. As easier resolution may be:
"This year, I will make sure that I move my body as much as I can everyday."
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Throw yourself into vigorous housework.
- Find an exercise you enjoy and do it with a friend for support.
"I will cut out gluten in food."
Unless you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, there's no need to add this to your list of resolutions. Gluten-free is only a healthier option for those who experience a problem with the gluten.
However, there is no doubt that eating too many highly-processed wheat products can lead to weight gain so a better resolution would be:
"I will cut down on the amount of biscuits, cakes and pastries I eat and chose wholegrain products where possible."
"I will eat 5 serves of veggies every day."
This is a very good one and worth sticking to, but don't bash yourself up or throw your good intentions out the window if you don't achieve it every single day. A more forgiving resolution is:
"I will try to eat 5 serves of seasonal vegetables a day."
"I will only weigh myself once a week and not every day."
While it's better than weighing in every day, weighing yourself once a week can still be disheartening. Weight fluctuates, so if you're doing all the right things don't become an emotional slave to a little electronic machine. Instead try this liberating resolution:
"This year I will throw the scales away and use a tape measure or measure my success by how my clothes feel and how often my friends tell me I'm looking well."
"I will not eat chocolate."
Chocolate is one of the great joys in life, and there's no reason to give it up provided you only eat good chocolate. Cut out white, milk chocolate and cheap chocolate used in kids snacks and biscuits each with a very low amount of cocoa. Instead take advantage of the antioxidant power of theobromine in cocoa and make this year's resolution:
"I will only eat small amounts of chocolate containing 70% or more cocoa."
"I will take up a course."
We're not all natural academics, and for some people study is so hard they spend most of their time with their head in the biscuit tin. Being busy and interested is part of the weight loss battle won as many people eat through boredom. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you get out and do something. Try:
"This year I will take up a hobby or something new to do that interests me."
"This year, I will not snack."
Everyone can benefit from sitting down to a piece of fruit or handful of nuts later in the afternoon when the blood sugar levels have dropped, but while some people may refer to this as a snack, in fact it is a small meal.
There is absolutely no health benefit to grabbing a couple of biscuits or packet of chips to eat on the run. Mindless eating is a sure-fire way to accrue kilojoules.
"This year, I will sit down every time I eat anything and consider it a meal regardless of how small it is."