Make 2013 The Year You Achieve Weight Loss Resolutions
Millions of Americans resolve to lose weight and eat healthfully at the beginning of each year, but resolutions are notoriously broken. Registered dietitians—the food and nutrition experts—weigh in on why resolutions fail and how to best set yourself up for success in 2013.
"It may be tempting to focus on losing weight fast, leading many to turn to dangerous fads diets and crash diets," said registered dietitian and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Angela Ginn . "However, research shows that slow, healthy weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes."
While you should consult a physician before adopting an exercise plan, primary care physicians identify nutrition experts such as registered dietitians as the most qualified providers to care for obese patients, according to a recent study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
"Forget about fad diets and work with a registered dietitian to get back to the basics with realistic and personal goals for eating smarter and moving more."
Be realistic. Be specific. "Expecting to hit the gym for four hours every day or to stick to a super restrictive fad diet is overwhelming for your body, mind and schedule," Ginn said. "Instead, choose smaller, healthy changes you can stick to over the long term, such as taking a walk during your lunch break or adding more fruits and vegetables to your plate each meal."
"One large goal can seem overwhelming, so set yourself up for success with realistic goals, and divide large, vague goals into smaller, more specific goals," she said.
For instance, rather than saying I will eat better, break this into specific goals like I will eat one more piece of fruit per day and I will choose whole grains more often.
"Goals should be challenging but also reachable," Ginn said. "Consult a registered dietitian to build a plan with goals that works for your unique nutritional needs and fits with your lifestyle."
Also, make sure the goals you set are measurable so you can track your progress, Ginn recommends. For instance, choose goals so as "How much?" or "How many?" so you can easily review and track your progress, as well as reward yourself. These smaller goals will help keep you from getting discouraged because you can see results more quickly."
Build a support network. Enlist family and friends to try new healthy recipes with you or to be your workout buddy. Having a support network can help you focus on positive results rather than temptations, and motivate you to stick with your plan.
"A registered dietitian can also help you track your progress towards your health goals and give you encouragement and solutions along the way," Ginn said. "It's always a good idea to have a food and nutrition expert on your side!"