Why overhaul your diet in a day when you can take small steps over time -- and still reach your diet goals!
Wendy C. Fries
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
Are you making bold resolutions on January 1 to "eat right" -- whatever that means? Stop trying to overhaul your entire diet in a day! Resolve to think small and you can reach any diet goal -- one focused step at a time. Why not start with these simple tips?
New Year's Diet Resolution No. 1: Go Slow
Resolving to get more fiber in your diet this year? Maybe more fish or fresh fruit? Any diet change is easier if you take slow, small steps. For example:
- Vow to add a piece of produce to your brown bag lunch daily.
- Designate a day as fish day.
- Package up a single serving of your favorite whole-grain cereal, then treat it as your midmorning snack.
New Year's Diet Resolution No 2: Water, Water, Everywhere
Water: It's cheap, fat-free, and gives your body a quenching boost. Find the idea of eight cups a day daunting? Think small:
- Drink one glass first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth.
- Tempted by more soda? Another glass of wine? Drink a cup of water with a splash of your favorite beverage in it first.
- Resolve to drink one more cup of water today than you had yesterday.
New Year's Diet Resolution No. 3: Go for the Gold ... and Red ... and Purple
Colorful produce is packed with disease-fighting plant compounds, so when you shop, reach for a rainbow.
- Designate a color-a-day. Maybe Mondays are yellow, with grapefruit, golden apples, or corn starring in meals, while Tuesdays are purple with plum and eggplant.
- Get the kids involved and go for a theme: Build a green pizza with emerald bell peppers and artichokes, or a red produce-infused chili.
- Vary the rainbow -- pick up a new-to-you fruit or veggie the next time you shop.
New Year's Diet Resolution No 4: Tackle Mindless Munching
You're chatting with friends around the dinner table or watching a DVD -- and you just keep nibbling. Try these tips to reign in the munchies:
- Pop a stick of gum or a sugar-free mint in your mouth.
- Brush or floss your teeth.
- Pay attention -- look at each piece of food you plan to eat.
- Busy your hands with a glass of water, a cup of tea, or cleaning off the table.
New Year's Diet Resolution No 5: Stack the Odds in Your Favor
Don't forget to help yourself succeed, and to reach out for help when you need it.
- Buddy up with a friend or family member with diet and weight loss resolutions. Then share your ideas, plans, and successes regularly.
- Leave the temptations -- ice cream, chips, soda -- at the grocery store. Promise yourself you'll cater to cravings only outside the home, in one-serving portions.
- Socialize with non-food events. Get your friends together in the park, for a hike, or at the movies.
Bonus New Year's Diet Resolution: Baby Your Body
Prevention: It's a lot less daunting than treating a chronic condition, so do the little things that keep your body thriving.
- Get moving 30 minutes a day most days. Go for a walk, give the car a good scrub, take a hike. Whatever gets the blood pumping qualifies!
- Get those tests you know you need. Cholesterol checks, prostate exams, pap smears -- stay ahead of the game by staying healthy.
- Get all the snooze-time you need. Sleep helps body and soul recharge, stay healthy, and cope with stress.
Take enough steps and you'll reach any goal. Resolve to make a few small diet resolutions this year and then just watch how far you'll go!
SOURCES: American Dietetic Association: "For Good Taste and Health, Follow
the Rainbow." WebMD Feature: "Make 2006 New Year's Resolutions a Reality," "8
Secrets to Diet Success." WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column: "Top 10
Diet and Nutrition Resolutions."
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