It is that time of year again when we are all bombarded with quick-fix solutions to help us achieve health and turn our lives around, prompt! It’s the time that headline news consists of belly busters and boot camp strategies, local gyms meet their yearly quota on new members, and as a nation we discuss our least favorable qualities and decide that we will make a change this year! Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Time Magazine recently released statistics stating that only 8% of people stick to their resolutions. I don’t know about you, but that is enough for me to throw the whole New Year Resolution initiative out the window! I intentionally did not post this on January 1st for this very reason.
Yes, I do believe that we all need a motivating factor to pump us up and get the motivation juices flowing, but let’s be real. Coming off of a holiday season filled with indulgences that we dream of only once a year, it is nearly impossible to slap ourselves back into submission once the clock hits 12. We need to work our way into this health thing gradually. We must make our peace with the eggnog, the latkes, the gingersnaps, and those amazing little hors d’oeuvres that appear only during the holidays. Saying “sayonara” and “see you next year” takes some time. So my proposal to you is, be easy on yourself. Don’t become a statistic. Wait until you are prepared.
We are more likely to fail when we force deprivation before we are intellectually ready. Now, I am not condoning carrying on this wild fiesta for months! Commit to yourself that you will make a minor change in a reasonable time period. A simple and small step will make a difference in your 2014 waistline.
This allows you to ease into the New Year on a positive note, without forcing you to jump into your fatigues and go whole-hog on your Nintendo Wii or to drop a car payment at Whole Foods. At this point, we are priming the pump for a sustainable year of good health. I have listed some good examples of small changes below to start on Monday, January 6th (because all anti-climactic things tend to start on a Monday):
- Walk for 20 minutes 3 times per week. This is about establishing a routine. It doesn’t matter if you put your sneakers on and wander at a snail’s pace for the first few weeks (or few months-really!). What matters is the fact that you’re slowly creating a new routine for yourself. It is human nature to strive for more, so I promise you won’t be slugging along for too long.
- Say goodbye to remaining holiday sweets. Alright, so I know I said that saying sayonara to the holidays need not occur overnight- but this is how it starts. Rid yourself of any holiday scented naughty sweets. We have the rest of the year to be naughty, so let’s raise the bar a bit.
- Bring back the veggies! Hey, remember what a sweet potato looked like before we adulterated it with marshmallows and granola? It is actually a wondrous jewel trapped in its own casing, all edible. What about spinach before the cream and cheese? Let’s get back to basics in the New Year and remember to eat our veggies in their naked state (well, maybe with a little olive oil and garlic).
Enjoy this lovely January weekend, and let’s ease into 2014 together!
Bryee Shepard, MS, RDby