Top 4 Diet and Health New Years Resolution Spoilers
(And How to Beat Them)

Resolutions spelled out in plastice block letters wrapped ith a tape measureYou've made New Year's Resolutions for a healthier you, and this year you're determined to make them stick. Good for you! But keep in mind that sticking with and achieving your goals may depend on whether you're prepared for those inevitable obstacles that can become "resolution spoilers."

To help you stay on track, here are suggestions on how you can overcome some of the most common sidetrack spoilers.

Spoiler #1

I got too busy to keep it up. New habits often require a time commitment and chances are your life will not get less busy. The key is to start with a change that you can work in to your existing schedule. Be specific and begin gradually:

  • "I want to walk every day." Set a specific time goal like 45 minutes. Start with 10 minutes daily – or add 10 minutes to your current time – then add a little more each week.
  • "I want to eat more meals at home." Add one home-cooked meal to your current schedule. Use specific strategies: cook extra amounts one day and eat leftovers another day; or bake a pan of turkey lasagna on the weekend and freeze in meal size portions for future meals.

Spoiler #2

I don't like cooking/dieting/running. The problem here is the goal, not you. If you want to eat better/lose weight/be more active, think practical and (as much as possible) enjoyable.

  • "I want to eat more vegetables." Think healthy convenience: purchase pre-chopped vegetables, stir-fry meat strips and frozen brown rice. Stir-fry the meat, add plenty of veggies with a little broth and while that steams, microwave the rice. Season to taste – a tasty, veggie-filled meal. Bonus: ready in 15 minutes.
  • "I'm going to lose ten pounds." If you hate those 1200-calorie menu plans, try other options to help you eat fewer calories. Eat less of what you now eat by using smaller plates. Or find ways to have fewer high-calorie drinks or less fried food – sensibly – that won't make you miserable.
  • "I want to do a vigorous activity 3 times weekly." Find something you enjoy. Dancing or sessions with a punching bag are options and you're more likely to do it if it's fun.

Spoiler #3

I got off track because I got sick/went on vacation. Routine is key to starting and maintaining new habits, so interruptions to your usual schedule can be resolution killers. Plan for these interruptions and have a strategy to ease back into your routine and your specific goal:

  • "I was on vacation for 10 days and haven't been back to the gym." Plan for some support like a scheduled training session at the gym or ask a friend to go with you.
  • "I was sick for a week and it messed up my eating." Keep healthy, convenient meals in the freezer to help get back on track until you return to your routine.

Spoiler #4

It didn't work: I was eating better/exercising for six weeks and only lost 3 pounds. Actually, that's great! Sustainable and typical weight loss is gradual and slower than we'd like, but you should see a few pounds loss within 6-8 weeks. Setting appropriate and realistic goals may be the most important thing you can do to achieve success. Select strategies that you can follow:

  • "I will change my after dinner snack from chips to a piece of fruit." For weight loss goals, break it down to specific changes that you can make over weeks and months. You might substitute lower calorie foods at some meals and snacks, or change habits that lead to overeating such as eating in front of the TV.
  • Read the 7 habits of successful weight loss and maintenance.
  • "I will find new strategies when I reach a weight loss plateau." This is a good time to consult a registered dietitian to help you find new ways of eating and exercising that lead to weight loss you can sustain for a long time.

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