Mindset Needed to Keep Healthy Eating Resolutions

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight – or maybe eat healthy? If so, you’re not alone. That’s the top resolution people make each year, but only 8 percent of them are successful.

The reason many people fall short is they set too many resolutions, or goals that are so ambitious, they’re unrealistic. And as humans, if we don’t feel a sense of accomplishment in what we’re doing, we often stop doing it.

In the case of New Year’s resolutions, once you lose momentum, it’s hard to get back on track.

Why Making Change Is Hard

One of the biggest challenges people have with resolutions, or making change in general, is how they think about it.

People often view their end goal, or the change they want to make, with the mind of a sprinter. They want to get there as fast as possible. When in reality successfully making a change, especially when it involves your health, isn’t a race. It’s a continuous journey that requires hard work, practice, and learning.

Forget About Diets

An important step in the journey to eating healthier is erasing the word “diet” from your vocabulary. It implies eating a certain way for a short period of time. As most of us know, diets usually result in us falling back in our old habits. It’s easy to derail on a diet too. Eating a piece of cake or ice cream can make you feel like you failed your diet and lead you to quit it altogether.

Instead approach healthy eating with a food plan; it implies a permanent way of eating instead of a means-to-an-end. Focus on goals that you can live with for the rest of your life. It forces you to pay attention to what you eat, when you eat it, and why you eat it.

Below are a few ideas of food plans or approaches to eating you can try over the course of days, weeks, months, and longer. As you find plans that work, challenge yourself by adding new ones.

  • Attempt to have at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal. Increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you eat not only improves your nutrition, but also helps you feel full longer.
  • Cut the number of times you eat out per week in half. Treat going out to eat as a reward, not an excuse because you don’t want to cook. Preparing meals at home allows you to have the ability to choose lower fat ingredients that are commonly not available at most restaurants.
  • Remove empty calories from your diet – like soda, candy, chips, and pastries. Start choosing more foods and drinks with little to no added sugars. Here’s a resource you can use to learn more about eating fewer empty calories.
  • Read nutrition labels to help monitor the fat content and calories on food you buy at the grocery store. Paying attention to labels helps you become aware of what you’re eating. You may be surprised at what’s in some of your favorite foods. Use that information then to determine if it’s still a food you want to eat on a regular basis or save as a treat.
  • Use healthier alternatives for foods you eat on a regular basis. Using two egg whites in place of one egg can saves six grams of fat. Or, using reduced fat cheese instead of full-fat cheese can cut up to five grams of fat per ounce. For more tips, check out this blog post on 10 easy tips for eating healthier.
  • Keep a diary of what you eat, even if it’s just for a day, a week, or even a month. Most of us aren’t aware of what and how much we eat in a day. Awareness can be a great teacher. There are a variety of online programs and apps that are very easy to use.

The United States Department of Agriculture provides more information about daily food plans and the amount of each food group you need per day. Click here to visit their website.

Celebrate Success

At the end of each week, celebrate your accomplishments; however, try not to use food as a reward.

Make sure you set time aside to consider what you did, what you learned, how it felt, and if you’re ready to, what you can do next. What you will come to find is eating healthy really can be easy and enjoyable when you approach it the right way.

Meet the Author

Amanda Motl, RD, CD, CDE is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes counselor at Aurora Medical Center in Summit, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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