How are your resolutions coming? If you’ve made a claim to one of the following five health resolutions, your answer is probably along the lines of ‘not well.’
Almost as guaranteed as a New Year’s Day hangover, most people come up with some sort of year-end resolution to strive towards in the new year.
Some are realistic (I will walk home from work every day, rather than take the bus), while others are simply too farfetched (I will make a billion dollars this year) to make it past February before they’re forgotten.
So that begs the question – how are your resolutions coming?
If you’ve made a claim to one of the following five health resolutions, your answer is probably along the lines of ‘not well.’
It has nothing to do with your willpower or abilities/inabilities – these health resolutions were doomed to fail before you even started.
These are the most common health resolutions we come across every year, and they’ve never been successful for the person. If your resolution is on the list, you may want to fine-tune your nutrition goals for 2017.
“I’m going on a diet.”
First of all, ‘going on’ a diet doesn’t even make sense: it also implies you’re ‘going off’ it too. Anywho, this is one of the short-lived resolutions that never makes it over the long haul.
Instead of making explicit proclamations that you’re going on a diet – which implies a rigid, schedule-like regimen – focus on lifestyle changes instead.
For example, instead of just saying ‘I’m going on a diet to lose weight’, you can modify that resolution to ‘I’m going to eat healthier this year by including more fruits and veggies into my meals.’
Your eating patterns shouldn’t be defined, or constructed, by a schedule or plan – it should be a continuous, evolving lifestyle.
“I will exercise every day.”
Doesn’t this sound absurd to you: a person who sits on the couch after work everyday, turning around and working hard at the gym every evening for the next year?
C’mon. Even Michael Jordan coming back to basketball didn’t go full throttle when he decided to un-retire. Even if you have a mild exercise routine going, it’s a very unrealistic goal.
So start small. Start by committing to one day a week of hard exercise, and increase the frequency of your workouts from there. Remember that if it’s something you dread, and not something you’re looking forward to, you’re likely over-exerting yourself.
And don’t forget – days off for rest and recovery are important, too.
“I will stop eating sugar.”
Again, this health resolution simply makes no sense to us. What does that even mean?
If you’re implying you’re avoiding sugar because it’s ‘unhealthy’, well, fruits, 100% fruit juices, and dairy all contain sugar. Are you really going to cut these nutritious staples because they contain ‘bad’ sugar?
Now if you make that statement more accurate – ‘I will stop eating added sugars’ – then you’re onto something. Axing cookies, cakes, candy, and their added-on sugar value is certainly something you can live without in 2017.
Related: Watch how sugar affects your brain
And even if that’s your resolution, you’re still unlikely to achieve it. Are you really going to say no to your favourite dessert, even just a bite, for the next 365 days? Enjoy in moderation!
“I am giving up carbohydrates.”
If you say you’re going to give up something you love, whether that’s food or another interest, it usually results in a bad time.
Especially when it comes to carbs. Besides, there’s no evidence pointing to bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes being eradicated from a diet will improve a person’s health. These foods (surprise) contain more than carbs, useful nutrients like fiber, vitamin B, selenium, iron, and more.
Rather than focusing your health goals on not eating carbs, direct those efforts to managing meal sizes, using healthier toppings & substitutions to your standard meals, and consuming more, 100% whole-grain goods.
“I am not going to drink.”
On the heels of a terrible NYE hangover, this is a comically paradoxical resolution (as in, they’re probably making this claim inebriated).
We assume you don’t have a drinking problem, or you should stay true to that resolution exactly. But if you’re a social drinker who’s giving up alcohol to lose weight…well, you don’t have to.
If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer or two with friends watching the game, why deprive yourself of things you enjoy?
You could skip the bread or dessert at dinner to facilitate that glass of wine. Or pass on the nachos & cheese while you’re having that beer. You’ll still be aligned with your ultimate goal of losing weight, and not be grumpy about it. So revise that resolution to not drinking during the week, saving the good stuff for the weekends – it’s certainly more feasible in the long run, anyway.