COLORADO SPRINGS – We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to stick to our New Year’s resolutions and often have unrealistic expectations.
We spoke to registered Dietitian with UCHealth David Egerdahl, who suggests making small changes to your lifestyle instead of setting your sights on one big resolution. Instead of the “12 Days of Christmas” make this year the “12 months of Resolutions”.
MONTH 1: Keep a food diary.
“Food diaries have value. When you monitor what you eat, you’re more likely to start making corrections,” says Egerdahl.
Keeping a log may show you that you’re consuming a lot of empty calories.
MONTH 2: Drink more water.
It may sound simple but lack of water can lead to dehydration.
“Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired,” explains Egerdahl.
MONTH 3 – Cut out soda or sugary drinks.
This can be a challenge, but just one soda contains 150 calories.
“If you drink two cans a day, and cut those out, that means you’d lose one pound every two weeks,” says Egardahl. “In two months, you’d probably lose 5 lbs just by eliminating sodas from your diet.”
There’s even more calories in specialty coffee drinks.
MONTH 4 – Walk.
This one is simple! Set a goal to walk 20 minutes per day a couple times each week.
“UCHealth even has a group called ‘Walk with a Doc,’ says Egerdahl. “Where once a week, strangers all meet up and walk with a physician.”
Information on that group can be found at walkwithadoc.org.
MONTH 5 – Cut out snacking.
All those snacks can add up!
“If you do need to snack and crave something crunch, try veggies like carrots or celery,” suggests Egerdahl.
Month 6 – Eat dinner at the table instead of the TV.
Sitting in front of the television promotes mindless eating. Instead sit down at the table and enjoy your meal!
Month 7 – Add fruit or vegetables to your diet.
“I know people who eat no vegetables!” says Egerdahl. “I’d suggest adding just one serving of fruit or vegetables to each meal.”
If that’s too much, start with just one serving per day.
Month 8 – Eat out less, or when you do, take home half your meal.
Restaurant portions can be huge and often are much more than you need. If you do eat out consider splitting your meal with someone or taking home half.
Month 9 – Add some vitamins to your diet.
“Ideally people would be meeting their nutritional needs through their diet,” says Egerdahl. “I’d encourage people to talk to their doctors about what kinds of supplements might be best.”
To start, consider taking at least one multivitamin each day.
Month 10 – Spend more time talking with people and spend less time on social media.
“There have been lots of recent studies that show a link between screen time and depression,” adds Egerdahl. “Even more recently, lots of stories in the news that spending so much time online is impacting kids’ mental health.”
Being healthy is much more than just your physical health, pay attention to your mental health this year.
Month 11 – Download a meditation app.
There’s an app for that! Taking time to meditate can change the entire tune of your day.
The best part? There’s free apps out there that do just that!
Month 12 – Join a meetup group.
There are meetup groups for everything – hiking, parenting, cooking – you name it! You’ll make new friends and get off the couch. Try meetup.com for just about any interest out there.