Next time you’re around a group of people, have everyone take off their left shoe and trade. Then, try to put on their shoe to see if it comfortably fits. If it doesn’t, try to switch with someone else to see if theirs fits. Chances are no one else’s shoe will fit nice and snug like yours does because your shoe is the perfect size for YOU! Unfortunately, when it comes to diet advice we are all forced like a herd into one way of thinking and told to follow the “perfect diet” that suits everyone. The problem is that we are all so incredibly and wonderfully unique! Does Mr. Adkins come knocking on your door to ask you what are your health goals, foods you enjoy eating, if your family has a history of heart disease, if you know how to cook, or what medications your taking? He sure doesn’t and no popular “diet” ever will. Following a restrictive fad diet doesn’t consider your personal needs leaving most people ready to quit after the first month and end up re-gaining any weight they lost and lose the muscle they built. So if you’re thinking about heading to South Beach because they just might have an endless supply of diet bars… run the other way!
You might be asking yourself, “Okay, if I can’t follow these popular diets how will I ever reach my goals?” The answer lies in making small changes every week that create long lasting habits. If you made one simple change every week, you will have created 52 new healthier habits in a year! Here’s how to start…
1. Make a plan. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, so set up a calendar and pick specific dates to begin a new goal.
2. Create good goals. A good goal is specific and challenging but also realistic. Make sure each goal defines exactly what you will do and when you will do it. Example:
Not a good goal: “I will eat more vegetables.”
A good goal: “I will add a small salad to my lunch and grilled vegetables to my dinner every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to eat more vegetables.”
3. Get an accountability partner. Accountability can do wonders for your goals! Tell everyone you can about what your goals are and make sure they constantly ask if you are accomplishing them!
Goal ideas to get you started:
1. Make at least 50% of the grains you eat whole grains, such as whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice, quinoa, etc.
2. Choose lean proteins, such as turkey and chicken (without the skin and not fried), fish, edamame, beans, and lentils.
3. Eat from the rainbow (and I don’t mean Skittles)! Try to include fruits and veggies from a variety of colors at every meal.
4. Drink enough water for you! A good goal is to take your body weight and divide it in half to get the number of ounces you should strive for.
Don’t be fooled by fads that will leave you feeling deprived, frustrated, and back to where you started. If you diet for a month, all you will lose is a month. If you diet for a year, all you will lose is a year. Remember that building habits builds lasting success!
Please feel free to reach out if you need ideas for new nutrition goals or would like personalized recommendations.
Gina Worful, RD