Realistic Resolutions

“Welcome back from your holiday!” writes Rochez O’Grady who’s been back at work for a while and has big plans for 2015. With that in mind she’s penned her nutrition column on making realistic eating resolutions this year.

I’ve become weary of setting resolutions as we end up getting to mid-year and they often seem to fall by the wayside. Not because we aren’t strong enough to stick to our convictions, but because perhaps they were a bit unrealistic or life just accelerates too quickly and before you know its January again.

After a relaxing holiday (and some overindulging), it’s easy to feel like you want to detox and get back into shape. In reality this can actually set us back as we will be able to keep it up for two weeks and then slip into old habits. But I’m definitely not saying that cutting out alcohol for two weeks won’t help your liver recover. And it certainly will help you feel a whole lot better.

It’s not all doom and gloom though; a different approach can help us make some lifestyle changes.

Let’s look at motivation, first. Wanting to be thin and look good is not something that drives a lifestyle change. Motivation comes from wanting to be healthy so that you feel good, have energy and to prevent diseases in the long run. No one can be perfect – not even dieticians. We all like to eat the unhealthy options every now and then. It’s what we do the rest of the time that’s important.

Before setting a resolution ask yourself why you want to be slimmer, healthier or fitter. Delve into that question and find what is really motivating you. Once you’ve found that motivation remind yourself of it when you’re making breakfast or packing in your lunch and snacks for the day. Remind yourself of it when you have the option of opting for a healthier order at the restaurant.

Then it’s about actually starting to listen to your body. Your body tells you when it’s hungry and when it’s getting full. We just need to listen and not override our hunger by using the ‘I am too busy’ or ‘I didn’t have time to take food to work with me today’ excuses.

The best way to boost your metabolism, keep your energy levels consistent and prevent getting too hungry is by having 5 to 6 smaller meals a day. Usually every three hours is when we get hungry. This is a great starting point, try setting up these “appointments” with yourself.

To prevent missing or skipping an appointment, you need to know when and what you’re going to be eating. This means you need to be prepared. Go shopping at the end of the week and stock up your fridge. This will help you have healthy options to eat. You can pack your own food, snacks and lunch, or know that down the road there is a great place to grab something healthy. The first option is probably going to save you some bucks and also minimise your excuses. Try setting aside some time the evening before and get things ready for the morning. Leftovers can be a great option, or a sandwich or salad (you can pack things separately and put it together at work – keeping it fresh).

It’s not always going to be easy and sometimes you are going to have the odd day when you only get to eat lunch at 3 p.m. It’s fine, as long as you’re slowly becoming aware of it. It’s not about being good or bad, but to finding solutions to what might be taking priority above your health.

Once you can identify what is preventing you from being healthy you can change it. Be curious, not critical to find out where you can improve.

A great resolution is to start being kind to your body. This includes listening to when you’re hungry and when you aren’t. Encourage yourselves to make lifestyle changes through self-acceptance. Try and break the diet mentality you’ve been conditioned to follow. This means not making changes because you feel fat or want to be thin, but because you generally like to make healthy food choices.

Once you’ve accepted your body for as it is right now, you can move forward and make healthy lifestyle changes sustainable.

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