Happy New Year! Happy New You!

woman smileForget the earthshaking resolutions…

I vow to lose 30 pounds by Valentine’s Day!  I’ll never touch another cookie!  I’m going to exercise an hour every single day!!

Studies show that despite great intentions, the vast majority of resolutions are abandoned within weeks of the new year!  This year, consider a small change or two that can add up to a healthier you!

Eat in at least once a week. Research shows that restaurant meals, even healthy sounding meals, generally conceal huge amounts of fat (often the unhealthy variety), sodium, and calories. Part of the problem is the size of restaurant meals (often 2-4X normal serving size), but part is simply preparation. Sure you can ask for special preparation, but the best way to control what goes in your food and in your body is to prepare it yourself.  And, no, ordering in doesn’t count!

Write down everything you eat for one week…yes, that’s right, every morsel that goes into your mouth…whether it’s part of an actual meal, a crust eaten off a child’s grilled cheese (my personal favorite!), an almond or two grabbed as you pass the bowl. Every morsel, every nibble, every sip, every lick of a spoon. Why? Research shows that journaling is an extremely effective way of learning about your eating habits and how they may be sabotaging your best healthful intentions.

Follow the 25% rule. At every meal, leave 25% of your food untouched (and no, this doesn’t mean eating the meat and potatoes and leaving the vegetables behind!). If you’re dining out, consider asking for a to-go box along with your meal and set aside the 25% portion before starting. If you prefer not to take food home with you, ask the waitstaff to clear you plate (with the 25% portion left behind!) when you finish.

Stop the pop! Talk about empty calories! If you haven’t yet given up your regular soda habit, this is a great resolution to focus on. Replace soda with unsweetened green tea and you may even boost your calorie burning engine!

Select your own food as if you were choosing for your children. If you wouldn’t want them to eat something because it’s not the healthiest alternative, why choose it for yourself?!

Practice conscious eating. Craving a cookie? Give it five minutes. If you’re still salivating over that Oreo, put it on a plate, sit down at the table, and really savor it! Sit at the table to enjoy meals as well. Research shows that we tend to consume more calories (and feel less satisfied) when we eat in front of the TV or while standing.

Put serving-sized portions on your dinner plates before bringing them to the table…and leave the leftovers behind!

Downsize your plate size. Choosing 9” rather than 11” dinner plates gives the illusion of a fuller plate and a great deal about satisfaction has to do with illusion!

Shoot for getting the vast majority of your calories from fresh, non-processed food sources. As Michael Pollan puts it in In Defense of Food,  “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Eliminate all processed food for one week and see how you feel! If you wouldn’t eat a chemical like MSG or BHT if it was served to you on a plate, why eat it in your food?

Throw away your Forbidden Foods list (with the exception of hydrogenated or transfats…the evidence against these fat criminals is simply too compelling to ignore!) Remember that healthful eating shouldn’t be a temporary phase, but rather a permanent lifestyle! Can’t live without your cheesecake? Eat it…on occasion…in moderation!

Move more. Take the stairs, park at the end of the lot, vacuum…every form of movement adds up to a healthier you!

Here’s to a healthy happy new year!

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