This week we have all all worked really hard to not break all of the new year’s resolutions we made last Thursday. Eating, dieting, and exercise are probably among the most popular new year’s resolutions to make, especially for women. I know I have a few that revolve around using my new gym membership and minding how many potato chips I consume post-dinner. Because of the huge lifestyle changes that need to be made to accommodate many of these resolutions, they are also among the hardest to keep throughout the year. Especially when we make sweeping resolutions that are very different from our typical routine.
As someone who loves food, I spend a lot of time reading about, preparing, and, of course, eating food. Going out to dinner is one of my biggest pleasures in life. When I travel, I obsessively read about where I will go to eat and plan full days around those stops. If I could eat, constantly, all day and not explode/die, I would. I fucking love food. Dare I say, it may be one of my top five things to enjoy in this world. So how do I continue to be a recipe writer, a food lover, and manage to keep myself fit and healthy this year?
Set Reasonable Goals
This year, instead of doing the typical New Year’s Eve cold turkey quitting spree, I’m being more forgiving. Instead of deciding that I will never eat sugar again, I’m being aware of how much I am consuming. We still have Christmas cookies kicking around our house. Did they go in the bin on January 1st? Nope. Is it challenging to only eat one sugar cookie while I’m snuggled up watching a movie with my man? Yes. But will the long-term benefits be worth it when I have more energy and am feeling more fit? Definitely.
Easing into a new routine can be a lot easier than suddenly flipping a switch in your life the first day of the new year. There is no rule that says you must change everything all at once, it’s an arbitrary pressure we place on ourselves that ultimately can be more defeating.
Ideas For Reasonable Food Goals:
- Track your eatting for a month or two to see which eating habits could be tweaked and pick one to work on for the next couple of months.
- Switch from soda to flavored (sugar-free!) seltzers.
- Be more aware of your portion sizes and acknowledging when you feel full. When I do this, I’m aware that I still want to eat, but my belly really doesn’t need any more food.
For me, part of breaking resolutions was the disappointment I felt when I didn’t 100% follow through with the ones I’ve made. This year, I’m taking a different approach. I am going to be proud of myself for trying and investing time into making better life choices. If I don’t make it to the gym five times a week (I’m on a roll now, but let’s face it, it’s only January 9th), I’m not going to give up on ever being healthy. I’m going to remember that setbacks happen and that change is hard work. I am going to be proud that I am making the effort to change at all.
I’ve written before about being more forgiving when shopping for food and the same idea applies right now. It is not worth the energy to beat yourself up if you have an extra slice of pizza at a party or a couple of beers after work. Sometimes after a rough day, I get home, crack a beer and put my feet up because that’s going to soothe my weary body. And that’s OK, as long as I recognize that that cannot be my constant. My constant should be a focus on my goals of trying to eat more vegetables, consume less calories via alcohol, and exercise my body at least three times a week.
Tips For Finding Forgiveness:
- Remember how much of the year is left—all of it! There is plenty of time to refocus and continue to build on the foundation you are creating right now. Don’t give up, forgive and move forward instead.
- Allow yourself rewards. If you’re choosing to really forgo something you love in the name of health or a tighter bod, every so often have that burrito or margarita. You will feel better about your wins if you get to celebrate. And trust me, knowing that you have a margarita in your future can be more helpful than you think.
- Acknowledge your accomplishments. For every setback that sticks out in your mind, you probably have a whole bunch of really positive things you’ve achieved, even if they’re unrelated to the thing you’re feeling guilty about. Remembering all of the things you’re successful at will help make bouncing back from a supposed “fail” easier.
Remember, we create these resolutions and place them on ourselves. Ultimately we are in control of them and they do not have to rule our lives or make us miserable. If something you decided to do this year does not feel right, it is OK to not to do it this year. That is not a failure.
Listen to your body and your instincts, talk to your doctor, do your research, learn as much as you can before committing to a diet or exercise routine that is very new for you. You deserve to be both happy and healthy this year and every year without the process becoming a guilt-fueled challenge.
Happy New Year, Darlings.