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PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE WELLNESS COMMUNITY

 

5 Tips to Reset Your Diet This Year

By Suzanne Gerdes Fultz, MS, RD, CSOWM, CDN

Registered Dietitian and Weight Management Specialist

Suzanne Fultz Nutrition, PLLC

www.designyourfoodspace.com

 

For many of us, the New Year is synonymous with a new diet, starting back at the gym, or another health and wellness goal. These good intentions often end up backfiring the moment life gets busy or hard – which, let’s be honest, it’s not an if, but a when.

So, rather than using 2023 as the year to make wide sweeping changes to come out as a new you, why not reframe your mindset around your nutrition and wellness goals.

 

Tip 1: Make a game plan

Stress and stress eating derails even the best of healthy eating plans. Rather than flailing when it happens, be conscious that it will happen and take some steps to prepare yourself for how you will respond. During stressful times, your perception of how much time you have for preparing healthy decreases. Solution: keep some easy to prepare healthy items on hand.

 

Tip 2: Focus on progress over perfection

Following through with healthy eating habits, such as eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, or choosing whole grains over refined grains, or just limiting eating out, does not happen overnight. Our eating habits were developed over years, so it will take time before you can run on healthy eating autopilot. As Voltaire said, “Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Instead of throwing everything out the window when you have a slip-up, learn from moments when you revert to your old habits.

  • Problem: Picking up takeout on the way home from work. --- Fix: Prep a few options on the weekend.
  • Problem: Grazing on treats throughout the day. --- Fix: Put healthy snacks like apples or oranges in eye-view.
  • Problem: Mindlessly munching on snacks at night. --- Fix: Try eating more at meals so you feel more satisfied.

 

Tip 3: Create a swarm of B’s

Stanford’s behavior-change expert and author, BJ Fogg, explains that three things can create lasting behavior change – an epiphany, an environment change, or taking baby steps. Focusing on small, positive change leaves you feeling good and like you can make yet another positive change. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose desired outcome, such as, eating less sugar.
  2. List small behaviors that can help you reach your outcome
  3. Frame behaviors like this: "After I (insert prompt here), I will (insert behavior here) Example #1: After I finish my coffee, I will fill up my water bottle. Example #2: After I finish my lunch, I will take a walk outside.
  4. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small.

 

Tip 4: Reward all successes

All too often, all the focus is placed on the scale. All success is defined by whether the scale goes down or not. There are so many other successes to be celebrated when you are working to improve your diet and health. Whether you have picked up a new cooking skill or find that you have more energy, these victories will also help to keep you motivated if you start to pay attention to them. Here are some examples:

  • You feel stronger during your favorite activities.
  • You fall asleep faster and wake up less during the night.
  • Your medication dose to manage your health condition was lowered.

 

Tip 5: Take action

Are you confused about all the diets and nutrition advice from family, friends, social media and the rest of the world? There is a lot of information and misinformation available at your fingertips, but good advice doesn’t change. Choose one of these habits to get started on resetting your diet in the new year:

  • Make half the food on your plate be fruits or vegetables at each meal.
  • Choose whole grains for at least half of your meals and snacks.
  • Pay attention to your hunger signals - eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied.
  • Favor water over sugar-sweetened drinks.
  • Aim to eat lean meats over high fat meats, or eat meatless meals at least once per week.

 

Behavior change, whether it’s a nutrition goal, or something else, comes down to your mindset if you are to achieve sustainable, lasting change. The five tips above can be built upon each other to reset eating habits in the new year. Follow these five tips and you will find that changing your diet does not have to be painful or leave you feeling deprived of good tasting food.

After all, food is meant to fuel you, but it is also meant to be enjoyed!