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How to stick with it: New Year’s Resolutions vs. Lifestyle Changes
Weight Loss

How to stick with it: New Year’s Resolutions vs. Lifestyle Changes

By Anna Bryant, Bariatric dietitian with UT Methodist Physician Weight Management and Wellness Center.
Posted: December 31, 2019

I’ll be honest, I hate the idea of resolutions. Instead, I prefer to focus on positive lifestyle changes that range from food, drink, sleep, activity, or stress management.

With whatever your resolutions or positive lifestyle changes may be, let me challenge you to ask yourself “why?” What is the reason behind your goal?

Is it to improve your health or prevent future health conditions?

Is it to increase your stamina or energy during the day?

Improve your self-esteem? Or even your overall quality of life?

Remember your why as you tackle your goals for motivation. When setting resolutions, goals or positive lifestyle changes, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Be realistic with yourself.

What’s the point in setting a huge, lofty goal? This often makes it seem very unattainable.

Consider setting small goals to ultimately meet your larger goal. Remember to stick with one to two small changes at a time to make them more realistic.

Once you're comfortable with the changes you have made, then you can pick another one to two things to work on. By tackling changes a couple at a time, you can convert them to actual habits.

For example, if you’re used to eating out for lunch every day start with “I’ll bring my lunch to work three days each week." And as that becomes easier, you may find yourself bringing your lunch more often.

What are your “whys” for this goal? Maybe you’re trying to save money or better control the foods you’re eating.

2. Eliminate the guilt.

So often, we set unrealistic goals — such as eliminating sugar or even an entire food group. What happens when you have a slip up and eat that cookie or that bag of chips? You feel guilt and shame, which is an awful feeling!

It is okay to “indulge” in those foods we view as off limits. When we allow them in moderation, we find the cravings for those foods go down, the actual intake of those foods go down, and we avoid the guilt and shame!


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3. Personalize it.

We are all different people and that means that a healthy lifestyle isn’t one size fits all. Exercise caution when receiving nutrition advice and always consider the source.

Just because one person lost weight or got healthier with a specific method does not mean that same method is right for you.

Be leery of personal trainers who give nutrition advice (they’re experts in exercise not nutrition) and people who call themselves nutritionists or nutrition experts. Always look for a registered dietitian or RD when searching for nutrition advice.

Meeting one-on-one with a registered dietitian can allow your goals to be specific to your wants and desire for a healthy lifestyle.

Most of us are aware of at least a few changes we need to make in our lifestyles whether it’s food, drink, activity, sleep or even stress management-related. Start there!

4. Consistency is key.

Chances are life will not be smooth sailing while trying to form new habits or even after the habits have been formed. There will always be ups and downs, but we have to remember to take it all in stride.

Just because we get derailed does not mean we can’t get back on track.

Never be afraid to ask for help. There are many people we can look to for accountability or guidance. It’s okay to share our goals with others so they can check in with us.

Remember your body has no clue if it’s December 31st, January 1st, or even June 2nd!  It’s never too late to work on a better you! Changes only become habits and when you’re ready.  Are you ready?