Archived Story

‘New-tritions’ for the New Year

Published 9:23pm Saturday, January 5, 2013

By ANDREA NIKOLAI

“Losing weight” was the number one resolution for 2012, according to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology. Number five was “staying fit and healthy.” As the new year hits, many of us look to improving our health. Approximately 45 percent of Americans set resolutions, but only about eight percent achieve them. Although this isn’t very encouraging, research shows that people who make a resolution get closer to their goal than those who don’t. So, if you’ve already made a resolution to improve your health this year, or thinking of making one, take heart. Here are some tips about setting a health resolution and a couple supportive 2013 food predictions to help you to not only get closer to your goal but be added to the eight percent who achieve it.
First, I’m challenging you to mix it up. Instead of making one specific resolution, such as not drinking any soda, try choosing a theme or an intention. This is a phrase related to the direction you want to be moving, such as “healthy and satisfied” or “fit and strong.” Make the theme one that will cause you happiness rather than setting a resolution that you view as more of another responsibility or punishment. It is very unlikely you will continue anything that makes you miserable. Link your theme to your values, such as raising a healthy family, or to something that boosts your mood or helps you to feel a sense satisfaction, such as deciding to participate in a physical activity that you enjoy to help you to feel more confident.
Then, break it down into simple, doable goals. You might have heard of making your goal attainable, and this part is important. If you never take walks, simple and attainable probably isn’t aiming to walk 30 minutes five times per week. Maybe begin with simply walking out the door and down the sidewalk, or just even putting on your shoes. Make it realistic, and don’t set yourself up for failure.
Try adding something versus taking it away. If you tell yourself over and over you can’t have ice cream, what are you thinking about all the time? Ice cream! Taking something away or denying yourself will only make you want it more. Using the adding approach, you could add more fruit for snacks (x per day), which in the end, could displace the ice cream. You could do the same thing with soda and your family. Get some fun refillable water bottles for the kids and work to increase water to help reduce the soda.
To make a healthier food change that has great taste and is still easy on the wallet, buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Buying “in season” is essential to getting produce with the best taste, while at the least cost. Fruits and vegetables in season right now are oranges, clementines, pears, persimmons, sweet potatoes, kale, collards, turnips, and Brussels sprouts. You might try including these to help you reach your goal.
Lastly, create an environment for success. If you are working to create a fit and healthy family, buy less sugary drinks and less chips, cakes, and cookies as snacks. Add some applesauce cups, whole grain crackers, yogurt, string cheese, nuts, light popcorn, and cut fruit to have around most of the time instead.
After reading over multiple food predictions for 2013, I found some consistent trends that you can take to help you in achieving your health goal. With the increase of meat prices, experts are predicting more protein from meatless sources, such as beans and legumes. Beans and legumes are a very lean source of protein that not only help with lowering cholesterol and keeping blood sugar levels stable, but they increase regularity and help you to feel full. Also, more Americans are predicted to turn to frozen foods to help in making home-cooked meals in a flash. Frozen vegetables are often as nutritious, if not more so, than fresh, as they are frozen at their peak freshness, and vitamin and mineral losses are minimal. So jump on board with these trends, add something in your life that makes you smile, and start with some small changes to help you and your family have a healthy 2013.

Andrea Nikolai is a registered dietician at Washington Pediatrics and can be reached by calling 946-4134.

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