New Year’s Resolutions and Dieting

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While many of us set our hopes high on lifestyle changes on January 1, commitment to our resolutions can dwindle over time. One reason for this is that our resolutions often involve extreme goals, and we expect immediate perfection. Instead, starting with small steps and celebrating milestones along the way are shown to be more helpful strategies in keeping resolutions. Focus on small, practical changes that help maintain a healthier lifestyle in the long term.

Yo-yo dieting

The cycle of dieting and new year’s resolutions often leads to feelings of failure. Yo-yo dieting, or the act of going on and off diets over time, and the cycles of losing weight and regaining it back can impact your metabolism in a negative way. We’re not just losing weight and regaining it, we’re slowing down our metabolism every single time we do it. Unfortunately, that means that the next time we try and make drastic changes to our weight and diet, it’s harder.

Avoid restricting entire food groups

Here are some simple, realistic strategies to make sustainable lifestyle changes that last!

Do not cut out sweets from your diet entirely. If you want something sweet like a cookie or chocolate, have it. Enjoy sweets in moderation. If you cut out something entirely from your diet, it might lead to binging. Putting food “off-limits” could lead to stronger cravings. Instead of eliminating food, focus on adding food into your diet. What are the things you would like to incorporate more of? To say “I want to add an extra vegetable in there every night” as opposed to “I can’t have pasta ever again” creates a gentler approach to creating balance in the way that we eat.

Integrate all types of food

For some, it can be helpful not to associate moral value with the types of foods we eat. Taking the approach of integrating all types of foods into your diet reduces the likelihood of labeling certain foods as “good” or “bad” and attaching emotions to foods. With this approach, a person can start to trust their own choices. Being less restrictive in your lifestyle can reduce cravings and thoughts about food and lead to more successful long-term changes. Listen to your body and what it wants. One day, meal or snack will not derail your progress!

Listen to your body

Start listening to hunger and satiety cues. Give your body dignity when it is full and eat when it is hungry. Hunger signs are normal and healthy, so nourish your body! Also listen to what your body enjoys eating, because we are more likely to make changes if we like the foods. If you do not like kale, do not eat kale. There are so many choices out there for fruits and vegetables; find the ones you enjoy!

Eat to support health and energy

This year let us try and avoid the quick fix mentality and focus instead on making slow sustainable lifestyle changes. Slow and steady may feel frustrating, but it will set us up for success. We also know that to support one’s overall health, we need to look at all aspects of wellness. If we are not eating to support health and energy, it is hard to get and stay active. And when we get active, we release happy hormones and feel better in our minds and bodies.

Kylie Mennel

Kylie Mennel, an enthusiastic and dedicated Registered Dietitian, is committed to tailoring nutrition services to meet the unique needs of the individuals she serves. At CICOA, Kylie excels in delivering personalized and person-centered counseling. Through attentive listening and thoughtful questioning, she provides medically tailored nutrition guidance to clients dealing with chronic conditions.

Prior to joining CICOA, Kylie contributed her skills to WIC, where she offered vital nutrition education to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to age five facing nutritional risks. She also has served as the Registered Dietitian at Beech Grove Schools, where her responsibilities included menu development and nutrition education for students of all ages.

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