Why commit to unrealistic short-term resolutions when they aren’t going to last?
Here are some Red Flags that your resolution may not be suitable or effective for benefiting your health.
Your Resolution may not be a great choice if it:
- Makes you feel deprived.
Ie. A fad diet. It can fail because you really love carbs but the diet says you cannot eat them. You avoid carbs for a while and then end up bingeing.
Instead: Focus on what you can add in (vs take out). For example, including or increasing vegetables at lunch and dinner.
- Creates more stress in your life.
Ie. Counting calories. It can fail because for some people it becomes obsessive and time consuming. The focus on calories can take away from food satisfaction and trusting your body.
Instead: Focus on balancing your meal with protein, grain and vegetable(s) choices.
- Creates rigidity.
Ie. Food rules. “I can only eat gluten-free, organic, dairy-free, clean, and sugar-free”. It can fail because you are limiting your options so much (and unnecessarily unless there are food allergies, etc.) that you don’t know what to eat.
Instead: Allow yourself flexibility. Maybe you aim to eat less sugar when you are at home but don’t worry about it when you are invited to your friend’s for supper.
- Has no evidence of improving your health.
Ie. Doing a cleanse or detox. It can fail because there is no evidence to show it improves health and in some cases can even be harmful. Also, it’s not changing long term habits or behaviours.
Instead: Avoid harmful behaviours like binge drinking. Seek out a credible regulated health professional such as a Registered Dietitian for evidence based health advice.
- Affects your sleep.
Ie. Not eating enough in attempt to lose weight. It can fail because lack of intake can interrupt sleeping patterns where you wake up at unusual hours from hunger. Lack of sleep can affect hormones that can actually increase appetite.
Instead: Learn to trust your body that it knows how much it needs to be nourished. Build awareness of your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
- Doesn’t fit into a reasonable schedule.
Ie. Working out 7 days a week. It fails because realistically you don’t have that kind of time and don’t enjoy the gym.
Instead: Focus on fewer days a week of quality exercise that you enjoy (group class or fun hockey league?) and then do something active with your family on the weekend.
- Creates disconnection and/or social isolation.
Ie. Extreme eating patterns. It can fail because you have to prepare a totally different supper than the rest of your family or you can’t eat at restaurants.
Instead: Focus on creating healthy family meals and connecting with the people you are eating with. You may find you eat slower, enjoy your food more and feel more satisfied!
Instead of resolutions think about:
- Starting now or anytime. Don’t wait for the New Year to make changes!
- Being realistic. Make small changes in your day-to-day routine. You will see the benefits in the long-term.
- Finding support(s). Making changes with your spouse or a friend can be fun and encouraging (and help when you are feeling less motivated). Also, accountability can be beneficial in supporting sustainable change.
- Avoiding extremes. No one needs to eliminate anything from their diet. Look at what your food is providing you: a mix of nourishment and enjoyment. It’s the frequency or quantity that may need to change.
- Avoiding diets. There is no point to eating from a diet plan that you know you can’t live with for the long-term. Diets and diet culture may actually lead to more weight gain.
- Avoiding bad advice. Avoid advice from online celebrities, personal testimonials and people trying to sell you their product. Just because they are famous, popular or pop up in your online search does not mean they are health experts.
- Avoiding “all or none” thinking. There will be moments of getting off track – that does not mean you failed. It’s when you allow your negative thoughts to keep you off track that leads to an unhealthy lifestyle.
- Taking a wholistic approach to health. Maybe your food intake and fitness are healthy but is stress being managed? Stress can impact physical health in so many ways. Ie. trigger IBS symptoms, affect hormones, etc.
What changes can you make in your day to day routine that will improve your health?