By Kristi Winkels, RDN, LD
After celebrating the holidays (and maybe over indulging in our favorite foods) it’s not surprising that we’re ready for a fresh start in January. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is weight loss. Even though the intention is good, we often lack readiness to make changes and have unrealistic goals and expectations that set us up for failure.
This year, instead of making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, try making a smaller, more achievable goal that you can build on throughout the year. Here are some tips to get your started:
Get focused. Making a goal to lose weight is too broad. Try to identify one or two problem eating habits that you feel you can change. Maybe it’s grabbing too many handfuls of candy from the jar at work, snacking on chips and salsa after work, or hitting the drive-thru too often. Try keeping a food journal to help identify these areas of improvement.
Find your motivation. It’s difficult to make a change if it really doesn’t matter to you. Why do you want to lose weight, eat better, move more? Is it to feel better? To be healthier? To fit into clothing tucked away in the back of the closet? Write a list of the reasons it matters to you and keep it close by for review when you’re feeling discouraged.
Make SMART goals. When goals are too broad, it sets us up for failure (and there is nothing more discouraging!) SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed. These goals are small steps toward the bigger, long term goal. Here are a few examples of SMART goals:
- Bring a healthy snack to work 4 days/week to avoid eating from the candy jar.
- Cut back from 3 cans of soda per day to 1 per day, 5 days per week.
- Plan 3 dinners for the week on Sunday and get all of the ingredients needed.
- Go for a 10-minute walk, 3 days/week.
Get Support. Enlist the help of a friend, co-worker, or family member who is there to hear about your successes and challenges and to encourage you along the way.
If you’re not sure who can be your support, consider a program like Reshape U! which provides nutrition education and support. For more information, call 507-646-1410.