Three Easy Diet Changes for the New Year

There’s no month like January for fashion and fitness.

It’s the best time of the year to snag amazing deals on winter wear, as stores clear out their stock for resort styles. Discounts range from 50-70%, and you don’t have to deal with any of the holiday shopping madness.

It might also be the time of year when you discover that everything is fitting a bit snug (another reason to score amazing deals).

Oh no, you think, it’s just bloat. But you cut out the booze and the salt, and a week after flying, the pudge is still there, reassuringly soft, and promising to stay.

So, like countless others, you embark on a “New You” program. A new diet and exercise regime that promises to magically dissolve 15 pounds in six weeks. Six weeks! Guaranteed!!

Enthusiastic and energetic, you get to the gym and discover the place crawling with people, sweating on the machines. Even sweating on you.

Ick.

It’s gross.

And that amazing kale smoothie you thought would be a great breakfast option? Tastes like predigested grass.

No surprise that by the middle of February, people are usually off of their diets, and the gym returns to normal.

That’s not inevitable, though, which is why I’ll spend every Friday sharing easy ways for promoting fitness, health, and wellness, without falling into the usual traps.

And because New Year’s resolutions are often synonymous with diets, I thought I’d share a few guideline that are easy to follow and won’t weigh you down (get it?). Pick the one that’s easiest and that you can do most consistently. Pick more if you’re feeling ambitious.

My top 3 are:

1) Journal: keep a food diary. It can be as simple as writing down what you eat, without weighing food or tracking calories. If you don’t like writing, try keeping a visual diary and just photographing what you eat. Check out the YouFood app if you want to share your meals with friends. Journaling is a dieting technique that works without fail because it makes you more accountable…as long as you’re honest.

2) Food: if you do want to track food in more detail, but don’t have the time or patience to track and weigh all of your food, just track protein.

Many women don’t consume optimal amounts of protein. Although 0.35g/lb or 45-55g/day for women is often recommended, that’s just the minimum. Minimum doesn’t mean optimal, and you’ll probably benefit consuming more than that. Take your body weight in pounds, and times that by 0.64. That should be your starting point. If it seems like a lot, try adding a scoop of protein powder into your coffee/tea, or smoothie. I start my day off by mixing a scoop of mocha protein powder into my coffee–24g right there, and a boost of caffeine to boot.

3) Mentality: restricting leads to excess. If you tell yourself that you can’t have something, or that you have to exercise, you’ll come to resent these restrictions. Remember that making lifestyle changes is a choice. You’re not denying yourself anything, you’re choosing to incorporate foods and activities that make you feel well.

Feel free to give these a try for the next month, and let me know how it goes.

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Disclaimer: I’m not a medical practitioner, and am speaking from my own experience, and what tends to work best for me. Remember to consult a doctor who keeps up-to-date with the medical and nutritional literature.

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