Sticking to a healthy new year's resolution

| 02 Jan 2018 | 01:04

Many people make health and fitness related New Year's resolutions that often don't last very long. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, owner of owner of Vernon Nutrition Center and author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, has some sage advice about how to set and keep a health-related resolution.
“Diet and fitness changes need to be lifestyle adjustments if you expect to keep results for good,” she said. “You can’t focus on quick fixes or making too many drastic changes at once. When you do, you burn out, give up, and end up right back where you started.”
She said setting a resolution/goal to improve your health is great, but “it has to be realistic and attainable.” Palinski-Wade suggests, “Focus on small, simple goals that you can envision achieving without much effort. Once you’ve achieved one goal, focus on tackling the next small goal, and then the next. All of these small goals will snowball into big results that you can maintain.”
She added, “Focus on how you eat and not what you eat. Sure food choices matter to a point, but restrictive diets don’t work long term. If you instead focus on how you eat, by sitting down to meals, eating mindfully, and really getting in touch with your body’s hunger and satiety cues, weight management becomes easy. Shifting the focus from the ‘what’ to the ‘how' ‘allows you to become one of those people you used to hate — the people who can eat whatever they want and not gain weight. When you are mindful of what you are eating, you become much more satisfied with your choices, cravings disappear, and much less likely to overeat. To be more mindful, always place your food on a plate. Remove all distractions and just focus on the food you are eating. Involve all of your senses — what does it taste like, smell like, what’s the texture, how does it look, etc? Chew each bite slowly and put your fork down in between bites. This simple shift will allow you to achieve a healthier body weight without the constant struggle brought about by ‘dieting’”
Palinski-Wade stressed, “If you are going to count one thing in 2018, it should be the grams of fiber you eat each day. The majority of Americans consume less than half of the amount of fiber they should each day. Increasing fiber allows you to feel more satisfied with fewer calories. Fiber rich foods also add volume to meals without adding calories — which means you can feel like you are eating more while actually taking in less overall calories. In addition to the weight management benefits, increasing fiber can reduce cholesterol levels, improve gastrointestinal health, and may even provide a bit of a metabolism boost as the body works harder to break down the resistant starch. Aim for a minimum of 30 grams per day. Boosting fiber can be done without much effort.”
When it comes to sticking to a resolution, she advised, “Ask yourself- 'Is this a change I can see myself sticking with for a year or just a few weeks?' Any change you make should be a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. If it seems too difficult to stick with long term, you shouldn’t set it as a goal. Think small for big results.”
The holidays invariably lead to baking and increased sugar in many people's diets. Palinski-Wade said, “When baking, you can swap out added sugars for pureed fruit. For instance,
you can replace added sugar with pureed prunes using a 1:1 ratio to maintain the flavor while cutting calories. 1 cup of pureed prunes adds nine grams of fiber. As a bonus, adding just five to six prunes per day to the diet may help prevent bone loss.”
She also encouraging reducing the intake of processes foods and adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet as well as limiting foods that contain sugar as one of the first five ingredients.
Vernon Nutrition Center has locations in Franklin and Ramsey, New Jersey. To contact Palinski-Wade, visit or e-mail: