Here we go again. It’s New Years Day and once again we are setting ourselves up for failure. Telling ourselves we will lose ten pounds by the end of the month, promising to go to the gym five days a week, probably even hiring a trainer to get a jump start. But, Jodi Krumholz, director of nutrition at the Renfrew Center, an eating disorder treatment facility in Pompano Beach, suggests that to really make a difference this year, it’s all about making small achievable changes.
“There is a tremendous amount of disordered eating in the general population,” explained Krumholz. “Often people develop black and white thinking that if they can’t do something perfectly then they are not going to do it at all, so we work hard on changing that thinking.”
For example, maybe you have been eating holiday cakes and cookies every day the last few weeks. Try to eat sweets less often, about three times a week, and be mindful of portions. Moderate these things rather than cut them out entirely.
Be honest with yourself
The same thing is true with exercise. Instead of trying to go to the gym every day, Krumholz suggests it may be as simple as 10 minutes of activity three times a week at first. Choosing fun activities like jump roping, hula hooping bike riding and other active things you enjoy can also make a difference.
“Everybody is different, so we have to be honest with ourselves about what we can handle,” said Krumholz. “Avoid that all or nothing thinking.”
Getting support from others can also help. How much support a person needs may depend on their resources and capabilities.
“The best support system could be having a friend holding you accountable,” said Krumholz. “Find a friend who will go with you to exercise.”
Some may need a dietician or therapist depending on their situation. A registered dietician can help you set realistic goals and could support you through the process. After assessing the person, a registered dietician can plan out attainable goals they can achieve and feel good about.
Avoid distracted eating
Remember to eat without distraction away from the T.V., computer or while driving the car. This will help you to be more mindful of how much you are eating. Determining your portion sizes in advance and placing only that amount at your finger tips can also help.
Choose healthy options
During the holiday it is common to eat a ton of carbohydrates like pastas, rolls, potatoes, rice, casseroles, etc. Try incorporating about one to one and a half cups of starch with most meals. Carbs in general can allow a person to retain a lot of fluid. You’re best off eating carbohydrates with fiber in them like whole wheat bread and brown rice. Quinoa is also an excellent carbohydrate that incorporates more protein than the others.
Over the holidays, you probably had your fair share of prime rib, hams, sausages and other higher fat meats. Consider introducing some leaner meats like white meat chicken, pork or turkey. Also remember fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which has shown to improve cholesterol. Try salmon and mackerel. For vegetarians, tofu, TVP, hummus, nuts and seeds are great sources of protein.
Limit those candy canes and chocolates as they spike your blood sugar quickly and then ultimately leave you very hungry. You might want to give away some of those stocking stuffers to a friend or bring them into work.
Take one step at a time
Remember, it’s okay to make only one change at a time. Start by limiting desserts or making a conscious effort to cook at home at least three to four dinners per week. Meals should incorporate lean meats, high fiber carbohydrates and lots of fruits and vegetables. Try to be mindful of portions sizes by eliminating distractions and portioning food before eating. Start the new year by promising to walk at least 10 minutes three times per week and slowly step that up as you get used to it. Also engage in activities you enjoy like throwing a Frisbee, bike riding or jump rope. Do what you want to do not what you think you should! In making all these small changes you will see how successful you will be. You will be in a much better place when the next new year arrives.
With 16 locations throughout the country, the Renfrew Center helps women with eating disorders and other behavioral health issues. For more information, visit renfrewcenter.com