Resolve for a healthier you in 2012

In striving for better health, instead of one big resolution, try 10 little ones. You can implement them all at once or one per week for the first few months of the year.

By Ian Lee, Health Castle

We've all done it: made a big, fat New Year's resolution that we swore up and down we'd stick to. And we did stick to it—for about six weeks. So what's the secret to making resolutions you can actually stick to throughout the entire year?

According to dietitian Gloria Tsang, author of the new book Go UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss and founder of nutrition network HealthCastle.com, the key is to skip the overambitious resolutions that often leave us miserable and frustrated and focus on small, achievable resolutions that add up to create dramatic, long-lasting results.

"You can't feast your way through the holidays and then expect to give up all sugar on January 1," Tsang said in a press release. "A goal like that is just not sustainable for the long term."

Instead of one big resolution, according to the release, Tsang suggests 10 little ones, which you can implement all at once or one per week for the first few months of the year:

Un-fat-free: Fat-free foods are often loaded with artificial thickeners and sweeteners to replace the lost fat. They bear little resemblance to real food and are not as satisfying as the real thing, so you're actually inclined to eat more.

Un-expect benefits from isolated fiber: Most products with "added fiber" use isolated fiber. But it doesn't work in the body the same way as natural fiber, and there's little evidence it actually does your body (or diet) much good.

Un-drink your calories: Liquid calories are the number-one reason for our obesity epidemic. A bottle of iced tea has about 200 calories, and an ice cream shop milkshake can hold up to 1,500. Stick to water when you're thirsty, and jazz it up with frozen berries.

Be unafraid of meat: Meat is not the diet villain it's made out to be – if you stick to a 3-oz portion size, in which case even prime rib only has 340 calories. Watch out for significantly larger portions. Remember, a 12-oz steak is four servings.

Un-blame carbs: It's not the bagels and the pasta you need to watch out for, but what you pile on top of them. Carbs themselves are not diet-killers, but mountain-sized portions of butter, cheese and sour cream are.

Un-HPF: Highly processed foods have way more calories than either meat or carbs—and they're packed with sodium and artificial additives. Skip these over-engineered foods.

Un-source your sugar: Natural, raw and agave sugars have been getting a lot of press lately, but the truth is all kinds of sugar have similar calories. Limit your intake of added sugar to 6 teaspoons per day, whether the sugar is “natural” or not.

Un-dashboard dine: Research shows that mindful eating is more effective for weight loss than following a rigid diet plan—and you're not eating mindfully when you're eating behind the wheel. Make time to eat at the table and learn to recognize your body's signals that it's full.

Unburden yourself: Get help with shopping and cooking from your family, or look into getting your groceries delivered. You're much more likely to eat healthy when it's not a big effort to do so.

Un-count calories: Don't obsess about choosing foods with the lowest calories, for the same reason you should avoid fat-free foods. Focus on foods you enjoy and savor every bite.

More simple, small achievable actions to reclaim health are available in Go UnDiet, now available in Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and iBooks.

Hunt Archbold (Editor) December 29, 2011 at 05:34 PM
There are some solid tips in this piece. I have to get off the sugars!!
Michelle December 30, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Great information and I like the suggestion for small changes not major or extreme measures to change your diet, etc. However, I am with you on the sugar issue Hunt....I love my desserts. :) Good Luck.


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