Resolutions that last past January
With the frantic December chaos of Christmas parties, present shopping, challenging work hours, completing projects before the holidays, and the tug-of-war between seeing family and friends, we often hit the end of December feeling frazzled and like we could spend the New Year in bed with the covers pulled over our heads.
1. Firstly, be kind to yourself.
Make resolutions that will fit into your current lifestyle and not ‘stress you out’ trying to achieve the perfect diet. Diet means the types of food a person, animal or community habitually eats. The dictionary also states a diet is a special course of food which a person restricts themselves. Unfortunately in the western world, this is the main meaning of diet and can have negative connotations, conjuring up thoughts of avoidance, hunger, suffering and temptation. So instead, let’s think of diet as the type of food you habitually eat to remain healthy and satisfied.
Instead of avoiding something this year, why not ‘add’ into your current diet? For example, you could add protein from nuts, seeds and eggs at breakfast to keep you fuller longer. You could add vegetable or fruit snacks during the day between main meals. You could drink green tea on your coffee breaks. You could ensure you drink 2 litres of water daily. It is interesting that when you add something into your current diet, it will often replace the things you are trying to avoid in the first place, because you stay more hydrated, fuller and more satisfied. You may even enjoy the subtle changes you have made and find they are pretty simple to stick to for the long term. One small positive change can then lead to other significant changes that may result in a huge difference to your overall health and wellbeing. So rather than start the year avoiding and restricting food, make a promise to add healthier food options into your current diet.
3. Keep a food diary.
You can create sections for each day to cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks. It can also be helpful to see the time of day/night you are eating and drinking. This can be a really helpful tool to reflect on. Do not use it as a judgement or criticism on yourself but as a reflection. You may want to add in a comment on what sort of day you had. You can then pin point your emotions on to what your food drivers are and make mindful changes in the future in order to achieve the goals you have set yourself. When keeping a food diary you can review and get a clear picture of what you are eating, when you are eating, and why.
Working with others to achieve a goal can really help to keep you on the right track and make it a long-term habit. Find a colleague, a friend, or a family member and agree on some simple, healthy eating resolutions. Then you can share ideas and healthy recipes and even make food for each other. Doing something with someone else is much more motivational for you to keep going.
Be prepared with food in the cupboard and fridge. Prepare the food you want to eat the night before, so it’s a quick grab-and-go in the morning. Make extras and freeze them, so they are ready for that evening when you are too tired to cook from scratch. This makes it much easier to stick to your healthy eating goals and not succumb to calling for take-away or raiding the biscuit tin.
6. Eating out.
It can be a good idea to look ahead at the restaurant menu to see what they are offering and pinpoint some food choices that interest you before you get there. It is often easier to make healthy choices following a meal or snack when you are satiated than when you arrive at a restaurant hungry and confronted with a menu.
7. Food shopping.
Many of us use online shopping now and have the advantage of our groceries being delivered to our doorstep. When shopping online, make sure you have eaten before hand. Shopping when you are hungry may draw you away from your healthy eating goals. Make a food list and stick to it. If you are actually shopping in a supermarket, don’t stray from your list. You will find fruit, vegetables and meat are on the outer aisles. Most of the processed foods are in the inner aisles. So don’t bother going in unless you need cleaning products.
With January fast approaching, think about what your healthy eating resolutions might be and what you really want to achieve in the coming year. Keeping it simple and having support may be the best approach to keeping you dedicated to your resolution past January and throughout the year ahead.
Good luck and enjoy your healthy eating!