Every year begins the same—with anticipation that the 12 months ahead will be better than the ones before. Although this may look differently for each individual, for many, it starts with establishing goals that result in a healthier version of ourselves. In fact, staying fit and healthy and losing weight are common resolutions set at the beginning of each year. Unfortunately, these goals aren't always easy to achieve. In fact, most people give up within just a few weeks of attempting a "new and improved" lifestyle.|
When it comes to weight loss, specifically, it can be difficult to find a plan that works. After all, Google "weight loss" and you'll find that there are thousands of ways to lose weight, but not all of them are sustainable. Although you may have considered dieting to be your best option in the past, research has indicated that it really isn't, especially if you want to lose the weight and keep it off.
This year, drop the old-fashioned approaches and try a few of these new tactics on for size. They might just be the key to finally successfully achieve your weight-loss goals.
8 Innovative Ways to Change Your Weight—for Good
1. Dedicate time and space for meals. Before you can make decisions about what to eat, it's important to provide yourself with opportunity to eat. Just making time for meals and snacks can serve as a great starting point for reinventing your eating habits. Setting aside time to eat puts your body in a schedule, making you less likely to binge at 9 p.m. after a full day of healthy choices. Once you give yourself the time needed to incorporate foods into your day, you can then fill those opportunities with right foods that will nourish you.
2. Set smaller goals. When it comes to New Year's resolutions, we often think radically instead of realistically. Although it can be easy to think we need to change everything about the way we eat all at once, chances are good that you are already doing some things right. Overhauling your entire diet in one fell swoop will lead to feelings of deprivation and eventually frustration, neither of which adds up to a healthy, long-term relationship with food. According to registered dietitian Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN of Lively Table, "Small changes add up to a big difference in the long run and make weight loss much more sustainable than short-term diets."
3. Love your food. Guess what? Depriving yourself of the foods you love isn't a good strategy for weight loss. In fact, loving the food you eat is incredibly important if you want to be successful at achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Even foods that may offer little from a nutrient standpoint can offer other benefits, like enjoyment.
Although foods that only offer enjoyment shouldn't make up a significant portion of your meal plan, they should fit somewhere in your meal plan to ensure you are happy with what you're eating. Kim Melton, RD, owner of NutritionPro Consulting, practices this herself. "I eat one small portion of something I enjoy almost every day and I don't feel guilty about it," she says. "I balance it out with an otherwise healthy diet. I love this because it works well for me and satisfies any cravings I might have."
4. Commit to trying a new recipe once a week. Instead of looking for what foods you can take out of your meal plan, why not consider what foods you can add? Believe it or not, our food supply is incredibly diverse and the combinations in which we can enjoy nutrient-rich foods is practically endless. One way to discover some of these unique combinations is to practice cooking regularly with foods that offer nutritional benefits. Consider experimenting with a new recipe each week, or if you need a little extra help in the kitchen department, consider signing up for a meal kit delivery service that features basic food groups in each box it sends.
5. Make a fruit and vegetable bucket list. If trying an entirely new recipe seems overwhelming, consider introducing one food at a time instead. Stefanie Dove, RDN, CDN encourages people of all ages to do this in her role as the school's nutrition services communication's specialist at Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia. "When you make eating fruits and vegetables fun, it's more likely you'll stick with a healthful lifestyle." The bucket list also keeps healthy eating from being boring. Always eat a spinach salad for lunch? Try swapping your spinach for kale one week or topping it with avocado the next to keep your taste buds interested. You might just find your next favorite fruit or veggie.
6. Choose to move with joy. Does the phrase "No pain, no gain" sound familiar to you? If so, it's possible to think the less you enjoy a workout, the more "right" it is for your health. Just like with our food, if we don't like what we're doing to stay active, it probably won't become a lifelong habit. "Exercise is a huge part of weight loss, but it doesn't mean you have to spend hours at the gym," Nazima Qureshi, RD, CPT, of Nutrition by Nazima says. Instead, Qureshi recommends finding and choosing an activity you will enjoy, and consider mixing it up regularly to prevent boredom. "Whether it's hiking, swimming, yoga, kickboxing or anything else you enjoy, you are more likely to stick with it."
Finding the workout that works best for your body and your goals can take time, so don't get discouraged if your first attempt doesn't stick. While Pilates might work for some, high-intensity interval training works best for others. Don't feel pressure to go along with what's trending at the moment or the workout your friends or coworkers most enjoy, but rather try out a few different workouts until you find the one that makes you excited to get sweating.
7. Think about what you drink. Please, no detoxes this year, okay? Instead, simply focus on the important role proper hydration can play. Drinking water throughout the day will help your body work the way it should and can help keep your eating on track. Since thirst and hunger can often feel similar, it can be easy to drink too little and eat too much if you aren't staying adequately hydrated.
What you drink can also benefit your health in other ways if you get creative with what you're drinking. Lindsey Pine MS, RDN, owner of TastyBalance Nutrition, recommends adding sliced fruits or herbs to a cold glass of water. Not only will it make the water more flavorful, but it also adds a subtle dose of extra nutrition in each glass.
8. Ditch the diets, and focus on your internal cues, instead. Have you ever heard the saying, "We teach ourselves how to diet, not to eat"? It's true! People often spend much of their lives trying to manipulate the natural desire for food, instead of letting the body lead them to what they need.
Luckily, you can tune back into your body's internal cues, like hunger and fullness. Research has indicated that taking a mindful approach towards eating can result in many positive benefits, including achieving a healthy weight. Mindful eating is not only important for understanding and appreciating food as fuel, but it will also set the stage for allowing your body time to evaluate whether you're actually hungry or just mindlessly munching on what's in front of you because it's in front of you.
This year, commit to learning to embrace food in a new, healthy way by forgetting every fad diet or trend the Internet or history swears is the magic trick. Adopting these simple change will lead to a healthier attitude about how you eat and lose weight for life.