By Kristi Von Ruden, RDN, LD
As the new year begins, are you determined to lose weight, be healthier, feel better…or all of these? The goal might be clear but the path to get there can be confusing to say the least.
There’s no shortage of advice to be found from celebrities, television hosts and doctors, bloggers, Facebook, Instagram, coworkers, your neighbor—the list goes on. Along with the variety of sources is a variety of methods for making changes. This leaves many wondering if anyone knows what they are talking about!
Here is what we do know: our daily caloric intake has continued to increase over the past several decades. US Department of Agriculture data shows overall total caloric intake has increased by about 500 calories a day from 1970 to 2010…and not from fruits and vegetables. The majority of these additional calories come from added fats (48%) and flour and cereal products (34%)—mostly highly processed or refined versions.
Research repeatedly shows the harms of sugary drinks, refined grains and overly processed foods. The best diet approach focuses on produce and quality as well as inclusivity rather than exclusivity. When “dieting” or following a plan that is highly restrictive the motivator is quick weight loss. The downfall of many of these plans is missing out on nutrients as well as experiences… and sustainability.
Eating is complex and personal. We eat for a variety of reasons: hunger, taste, health, social cues, environmental cues, to name a few. Better health and weight loss start with forming new habits that work for you. Lifelong changes begin with being intentional and taking action. When moving forward with making changes, remember to be patient with yourself and the process. Rather than making changes based on willpower (in the moment) look at making changes as a development process that improves with continued practice.
Here are a few things to ask yourself when planning to begin:
- First, ask yourself why. Why do YOU want to make changes? Making changes needs to be important to you…not based on someone else wanting you to change. Take some time to explore what your "why" (or "whys") are.
- After you come up with your "why" look at how will you go about making changes. Start small - concentrate on one thing. If you struggle with what that one thing might be, keeping a journal can be very helpful in revealing current patterns. Then, set one goal to get started and build from there.
- Do you believe you can do it? Belief in yourself is an important ingredient in making changes stick. The more we practice a new habit the more we believe we can succeed. Research shows belief is easier when it comes within a community of support. There is power in groups and shared experiences.
Looking for support to lose weight, be healthier, and feel better? Check out the ReShape U program for classes, nutrition coaching, and support group sessions. Registration is open now! For more information and to register, call 507-646-1410 or email email@example.com.