Do You Hate New Year’s Resolution Diets

“Do You Hate New Year’s Resolution Diets?  Try these 3 tricks instead!”

What’s the perfect diet?

Another blog for New Year’s Resolutions?  Ugh.  Do you hate nutrition blogs as much as I do?  Perfect people, with their perfect bodies, eating their perfect foods, and completing their perfect work out.  And they want you to join them, “follow X diet and you can look just like me” or “follow Y meal plan to lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks.”  But who can follow these diets, for the long haul, anyway?

Life is messy. 

We have unruly kids, frustrating spouses, sick family members, needy pets, and hurting friends. 

I, for one, don’t even want to bother trying to be perfect – it’s failure waiting to happen.  But, I do want to be healthy.  I do value taking care of my body, and want to do right by it – to an extent.  But if it means following a rigid diet with no flexibility, I just don’t think I’m cut out for that kind of life. 

So, what is the perfect diet, when perfection doesn’t exist?

It’s doing the best you can do.  Whatever you can do.  Whenever you can do it.

It’s fixing a quick sandwich (and having the kids make their own) between work and the kids’ basketball practice, to keep you from getting fast food after the practice.  It’s trying to eat breakfast each day, so that you’re inclined to eat less (or not eat) at 10 pm.  And if you already eat breakfast, it’s trying to add protein, so that you’re more satisfied and less starving coming into lunch time.  It’s taking an hour on the weekend, to think through your upcoming week, make a meal plan, and write a grocery list.  It’s understanding that things will come up that prevent you from being perfect.  It’s doing your best in spite of the obstacles.

Through my over 20 years of experience as a dietitian, plus my review of the research and publishings of some of my favorite scientists, I have come up with three suggestions for how to better your diet for the New Year:

1. Plan ahead.  Chances are, you will fail to follow the plan perfectly, but, having a plan each week will promote success.

This plan should be SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based:
“I will make a meal plan each week”
“I will eat one serving of fruit each day”
“I will not go more than 5 hours without eating something during the day”
“I will replace my refined flour starch with a high fiber alternative” (as in bread, rice, pasta, tortillas, etc.)
“I will limit and measure my bowl of ice cream in the evening to 1 cup or half a bowl”
“I will sit down to eat my meals” or “I will turn off the TV while eating.”

2.   Be accountable.  People with a good support system are more successful than those without.  People who keep logs have more success than those who don’t. 

Ideas for establishing accountability:

  • Check in with yourself each morning to measure your progress. 
  • Use an app to help you log your intake and activity.
  • Have a partner with whom you check in, this may be a friend, a spouse, a sibling, etc.
  • This author is available for support and accountability.  It’s what I do!  And what I love to do!!  Contact information to be provided.

3. Be flexible.  Life happens.  People with an all or none attitude, most often get none, not all.  Understand that you will most likely mess-up along the way and don’t let that destroy your attempt to change.

“I’m going to mess up.  But I’m going to get back, you know, and get after it and try to do better the next day.”  Tim Tebo

My favorite quote from Michael Jordan, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

Remember, it’s not about a perfect formula that you need to follow for optimal health.  It’s about a pattern.  There is no magical diet.  There is no magical food.  Food is not “bad” or “good.”  It’s not “clean” or dirty.  It’s food.  Enjoy it.  But enjoy it in moderation.  Be mindful about what and how much you eat.  These daily decisions add up to affect your overall health and well-being.  One “bad” food/meal/day can be forgiven.  The more you practice good habits, the better you get.  So, don’t avoid getting started for fear of failure.  Take it one day at a time.  Contact me if you would like help getting started, would like support, or need accountability.