Take Small Bites for a Fuller Year

For many of us, this is a time for resolutions and renewed goals, such as eating smart and making healthier daily choices. Experts say that small changes are the ones that people are actually able to maintain.

It is important to set measurable goals such as: “I will drink 2 more glasses of water every day for the next 2 weeks.” Here are some tips for starting off the year right:

  • Stop the “diet” mentality. Being “on” or “off” a diet is not helpful in trying to eat healthier. Do the best you can when making food choices, but be realistic. Aim for progress, not perfection. If you have a “bad” day, get right back on the wagon and don’t beat yourself up.
  • Eat breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. A breakfast that’s high in lean protein, such as egg whites and low-fat cheese, can help you feel full and eat less throughout the day. Eating carbohydrates, such as muffins, bagels, or toast, are more likely to boost your appetite later in the day.
  • Let yourself splurge now and then. The 80/20 rule (eating smart 80 percent of the time and loosening up the reins the other 20 percent) really works. If you allow yourself the occasional indulgence, you won’t feel guilty when you do indulge, and it will be easier to get right back to sensible eating. Moderation is key!
  • Read and write. Read nutritional information on the foods you eat, and apply this info to the portion you are eating. Keep a “lifestyle log”—writing down foods eaten and the time. Keeping track can help identify your food cues and triggers so you can begin to make changes in your eating patterns. It will make you more aware and accountable.
  • Move! Find something active that you actually enjoy. The “buddy system” is extremely helpful. A lunch-break walk with a friend makes regular activity easier to stick to and enjoyable, too.

Claudia Ulintz, RD, LD

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