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New Year's resolutions are abundant, with a top resolution being to lose weight or get fit and healthy. January starts off with people full of motivation and ambition. But by the end of the month, most find themselves struggling to meet their weight loss or nutrition goals. Worse yet, they may give up altogether.

Here are some strategies to help make you more likely to succeed with meeting your weight loss and nutrition goals:

Be specific

The more detailed the better.  It is easier to identify your success when you make a detailed resolution instead of a vague one like “I want to lose weight.”

Here are some examples of detailed resolutions:

  • I will reduce my calorie intake by no longer eating and drinking anything other than water at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • I will eat more fiber by including at least 4 four servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • I will plan a dinner menu each week and grocery shop accordingly so I do not make unhealthy impulse purchases.
  • I will track my intake daily on an electronic calorie tracker such as a wearable device or a Smartphone, in order to help me better understand my intake.
  • I will pack my lunch instead of eating out on my work days to reduce my calorie intake.
  • I will eat less sodium by buying frozen vegetables instead of canned ones.

Set yourself up for success 

If you are trying to lose weight, don't keep tempting items on hand. If you know you have a weakness for late-night sour cream and onion potato chips binges, stop buying them. The age-old economics principle of supply and demand applies here. If you keep a supply of sour cream and onion potato chips, your demand for it will increase accordingly.

Don’t grocery shop if you are hungry. If possible, shop minus the kids. Young children are susceptible to marketing by food companies who capitalize on the “nag factor”. Junk foods are strategically placed at their height and may end up in your shopping cart.

Expect the unexpected

We've all had those times when we plan to cook a healthy meal after work, and then suddenly we need to run the kids to a last-minute sports practice.

Since you know those moments will come up, have some healthy options in your freezer that you can just heat and serve, or even in the pantry go grab and go. This will help you avoid a drive-through dinner.

Create a support system

Share your goals and nutrition resolution with friends and family. Enlist their support to not only keep you on track, but celebrate your success. Buddy up with someone else who has similar goals at you do.

Celebrate your success

This does not mean you should binge eat some frozen custard if you lowered your cholesterol or shrank your waistline. Rather, look for non-dietary approaches to reward yourself.

  • Compliment yourself. Try on that dress shirt or blouse and look at yourself in the mirror. Appreciate how much better you look!
  • Remind yourself how much you have accomplished in such a short amount of time.
  • Book a date with your spouse or with a friend, and wear an outfit that makes you look fantastic.
  • Get rid of your clothes that are now too big. Donate them with pride. 
  • If you feel the need to buy something, choose an article of clothing or a book or special household item that will remind you of your progress.

Track your progress  

If you own a Smartphone, install a free app like MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople or LoseIt. Start by entering your long-term goals. Then take ten minutes each day to log your activity and intake. Don’t forget to weigh yourself each day before you eat or drink, and record that as well.

Having a plan in place will help you achieve your nutrition and weight loss New Year resolutions.

Sadhana Bienzen is a registered dietitian nutritionist who lives in Franklin with her husband and four children.

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