(StatePoint) — Millions of Americans resolve to lose weight and commit to healthful eating at the beginning of each year, but many resolutions are notoriously broken. Why? Many registered dietitian nutritionists say fad diets are partly to blame.
“It’s tempting to focus on losing weight fast, which can lead many to turn to dangerous fads and crash diets,” says Jessica Crandall, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson. “However, research shows that slow, healthy weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes.”
Crandall says forgetting fad diets and getting back to the basics of moving more and eating smarter are your best bets for success in the new year.
Be realistic, be specific
“Planning to hit the gym for four hours every day or stick to a super restrictive fad diet is overwhelming for your body and mind,” Crandall says. “Instead, choose smaller, healthy changes you can stick to over the long term.
One large goal can seem overwhelming. Instead, build a plan that works for your unique nutritional needs and lifestyle, A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you develop a plan that’s right for you. Here are some challenging, reachable resolutions to consider:
• Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
• Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.
• Get active! Fit in physical activity where you can in your day, whether taking a family walk after dinner or hitting the gym.
• Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
Also, make sure the goals you set are measurable, so you can easily review and track your progress, as well as reward yourself. Allow time to achieve each smaller goal so you are not discouraged if you haven’t met them.
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 overcome midnight snacking urges and hit the gym in even the coldest months.
“It’s important to be sure to track your progress towards your health goals and give yourself encouragement and solutions along the way,” Crandall says. “To make things easier, it’s always a good idea to have a food and nutrition expert on your side.”