Ready? Set? Get fit! It’d be great if it was that easy, but it also doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. We tend to complicate things when it comes to the food we eat, but there are simple things we can do that can have a lasting, positive impact. Even before we start talking about smart food choices, we have to get our head in the game. Here are three strategies to get the new year started right.
Set yourself up to win
What are the top five things you need to change in your eating habits or lifestyle in order to attain your weight/fitness goals? Think positively and be truly realistic. Pick one or two goals, come up with a plan, and work hard to conquer them over one to three months. Acknowledge your accomplishments as you achieve them and give yourself grace when you mess up, because you will mess up. Evaluate your efforts, tweak what you need to, and move on to your next goals.
Instant gratification would be nice, but it’s not realistic when it comes to health and fitness. Conviction and confidence lead to success.
Do what works for you
Each body has it’s own method for running efficiently. The foods that make you perform at your best may not work well with your training partner. That’s why you can’t expect to find your “magic bullet” in food trends. You have to do what’s best for you.
Food trends are great in that they make people think about the foods they are ingesting. But unless you have a diagnosed food allergy, there’s no reason to omit certain foods from your diet in an attempt to “eat better”. Unnecessary restrictive diets can make our lives unnecessarily miserable. There are some that feel better when not consuming certain foods. That’s fine, just make sure that whenever you take a food out of your diet you are getting those nutrients elsewhere. (Calcium and protein with dairy; or fiber, B vitamins, and iron with gluten.)
What has stood the test of time? Eating real, whole foods, being active, and having a plan. Aim for eating foods closest to their original form. Find activities that aren’t necessarily “workouts” but are fun. Chip away at your challenges.
Let it be known
A support system can be the deciding factor as to whether or not your efforts will work. Whatever your goal is, share it with someone and ask for support. This takes vulnerability and conviction. If you aren’t willing to share your goal, you’re not going to reach it. You’re not ready, but just acknowledging that is a great step. Find a different goal.
When you are ready, find a way to stay accountable. Find someone/something you can truly count on when things get hard. This could mean joining a team, asking a friend/coworker, committing to use an exercise/diet app you share with friends, joining an online forum, sharing your goals on social media. Be honest with yourself and your support system along your journey. And be confident of your successes!
Molly Trapp, MS, RD has worked in the field of nutrition for 13 years both in a clinical setting and in private practice for weight loss and sports nutrition. She thrives on endurance athletics such as triathlons, running, and being a mom to three active, young kids.