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Here we go again. If your January always kicks off with your tried-and-true resolution — starting that New Year's diet and shedding a few pounds — but goes out the window by February, we've got your back. We asked nutrition experts to share their one simple piece of advice for actually sticking to your New Year's resolution. It just might be easier than you think.
1. Focus on HOW you eat... not WHAT.
"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... you become much more satisfied with your choices, cravings disappear, and [you are] 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? 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.’" —Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies
2. Eat until you're not hungry — not until you're full.
"Eat until you are no longer hungry, NOT until you are full. Eating to fullness means you're over-fueling, so if we look at food as fuel, and a source to add energy to cells, then we logically only need to eat until those cells are full. This often occurs before you feel full. There is an empowerment to pushing the plate away before reaching fullness. In the meantime, you'll cut calories and lose weight." —Kristin Kirkpatrick, author of Skinny Liver and manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic
3. Forgive yourself.
"It's all about your frame of mind — forgiveness is key, because anyone who thinks they'll get on track and stay perfectly on track is setting themselves up for failure. The best way to be successful is to be forgiving of your errors (whatever they may be!), and to just hop back on and keep on going as fast as you can after you fall off track." —Isabel Smith MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition & Lifestyle
4. Treat every meal like a new Monday morning.
"Take every meal as a 'Monday morning,' a new unique opportunity to eat well. I am not a huge fan of resolutions because they set you up to fail. It’s better to create goals knowing that it will be a work in progress to get there." —Keri Glassman, RDN, celebrity nutritionist, founder of NutritiousLife.com
5. Banish grazing.
"Grazing throughout the day often leads to unintentional overeating, which can derail the best New Year’s diet. Instead, opt for pre-planned, nutrient-dense snacks that contain satisfying healthy fats and protein and are easy to take on-the-go, like 100-calorie packs of Wonderful Pistachios and single serving pouches of tuna. For a savory homemade snack, roast seasoned garbanzo beans with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. These make for a better alternative to greasy chips and processed snacks." —LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian in Los Angeles, provides nutrition counseling and consulting to individuals, families and organizations
6. Stay organized.
"Create a plan for success. Diet resolutions eventually fall by the wayside because old habits are hard to kick. A key to creating new habits that stick is taking a little time to plan and organize your physical and social environment to support your new goal. So if your resolution is to eat more fruits and vegetables, set a reminder on your phone to grocery shop at a set time each week and choose your favorite fruits and vegetables that are most convenient for your lifestyle. For example, if you like citrus fruits but don’t like the sticky hands, keep a box of Halos in your office for a nutritious snack that’s easy to peel. If you like Brussels sprouts but don’t have time to cook most nights, roast an extra batch on the weekend and have them there when you get home. No matter what your goals are, decide what healthy resolutions would be easiest and most enjoyable for you, and then set a plan for success." —Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, founder of patriciabannan.com and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight
7. Start with baby steps.
"Most New Year’s diet resolutions involve HUGE changes that leave the person feeling deprived and generally unhappy. This is why the success rate of people who set New Year’s resolutions is somewhere between four percent and six percent. If you want your changes to stick, don’t go on a diet — change your diet. This subtle difference can lead to long-term success. When making changes, it’s important to start with baby steps that are so small they are laughable. When that small change is solidly embedded in your routine, add another one. It’s like building a house — you can’t put on the roof before the foundation is dry. But when it comes to dieting, that’s what most people do." —Christie Miller is the founder of EatTrainWin.com where she coaches successful women how to make practical, achievable, and sustainable changes to lose weight and feel good for life
8. Eat mindfully.
"Eat mindfully. Ditch dieting this year. It's all about mindset and mood, not losing the marshmallows and mayonnaise. Eating consciously throughout the year will help kick your automatic habits around food that leave you in a rut and struggling to lose weight. Making thoughtful choices about food will reduce how much you eat by approximately 300 calories a day without struggle or suffering. Mindful eating isn't a diet you will hop on and off throughout the year. It's about being aware of your food traps and making conscious choices around food." —Dr. Susan Albers, NY Times best-selling author and clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, whose new book Eating Mindfully for Teens comes out April 2018
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