Tag Archives: goals

Getting back on (or staying on) track

How are your New Year’s health resolutions (or word-solutions) coming along? Are you still on track, or did you fall prey to “Fall of the Bandwagon Thursday” and “Fat Friday” (mentioned in an earlier post)? If you aren’t where you’d like to be, never fear! Here are some tips to help you get back on track. If you you are still cruising along, great job! You can still use these tips as motivators to keep doing what you are doing.

1) Realize change doesn’t happen overnight. You aren’t going to magically not want chocolate, sugar, coffee, or whatever it is you are trying to avoid more frequently. You won’t lose 15 pounds in a month (if you did, go see a doctor because that isn’t healthy). You won’t love getting up early to exercise for the first little while (or ever). Change takes time. Hopefully, you set goals for 2017, meaning you have ALL YEAR to accomplish them. Cut yourself some slack.

2) Focus on the positive little steps you make rather than focusing on any missteps. Even if your progress is two steps forward, one step back, you are STILL getting one step forward in the net. I also like to think of “good” and “bad” choices as two separate accounts rather than one. That way, a “bad” choice doesn’t negate any good. It just fills up the wrong bank. I still have my “good” choices accumulating.

3) Know when to quit. Did you make a goal to exercise and you hate every minute of it and every day is a struggle? Maybe that goal or that exercise program isn’t right for you right now. Be ok to give up on that AND pick a new goal or routine. (That AND is very important). Not every goal is right for every person at every time. Learn about yourself and figure out what is right for you right now. For example, I used to run quite a bit. I had hoped to start running again. But I never can seem to get myself out of bed for a run. A workout video is a struggle, but manageable. So, right now, running isn’t for me. It was in the past, and it may be in the future.

4) Find intrinsic rewards. Exercise (generally) makes you feel more energtic and happier. Eating healthy food (generally) makes us have a more positive outlook. Look for these rewards in your choices rather than just the numbers on the scale, the distances/weight/time improvements, etc.

Hope these tips help you no matter where you are on the goal track. Happy health!

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New Year’s Resolutions

I am a big believer in setting goals.  The start of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate where you are in many areas of your life and set some goals for improvement.  I hope you will set some health related goals for the new year among your other resolutions.  Here are some tips I have for making any goals, but they might especially apply to any diet or weight goals.

– Be specific.  Don’t set the goal to “eat more vegetables” or “exercise more”.  A nebulous goal makes it almost impossible to measure your success.  For example, my goal last year was to exercise at least four times each week.  It gave me a specific number to aim for, but also didn’t give me an excuse to sleep in every fifth day.

-Think through the execution of your goal.  Sometimes you will realize a goal is not possible because you aren’t willing to make the changes necessary.  Say you want to pack your own lunch for work every day.  Thinking this through, this requires buying extra food for those lunches as well as probably getting up 10-15 minutes earlier to make that lunch.  If those aren’t reasonable changes for you, don’t make the goal about packing lunch.

-Put your goals somewhere you will see them frequently.  I use a note on my phone for my daily to-do list.  I keep my goals at the top of that list.  It means I have to see them every time I open my list and helps me remember to put those items among my to-do’s.

-Re-evaluate frequently.  You may reach a goal faster and easier than you thought.  Great!  Challenge yourself to something new.  Maybe a goal is harder to attain than you anticipated.  This gives you a chance to think of new approaches.

-Call an audible.  This kind of goes with the last one.  Don’t be afraid to just say something isn’t going to work.  If you set the goal to go to the gym three times a week and you discover you hate the gym, call an audible.  It’s ok to give up on a goal that is dragging you down.  What isn’t ok is to just give up on yourself.  Take what you learn from the failed goal to create a new, better goal for yourself.

What are your diet or health related goals for 2015?  I’d love to hear them in the comments.

For more on “healthy” resolutions, read here.

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will will answer them in upcoming posts!

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What resolution?

It’s the end of January. How many of you have given up on your New Year’s resolutions already? Some stats I found said that only 8% of people are successful in completing their resolutions and only 64% of people make it past the first month.

Why is it so hard to keep our resolutions? It may be that we are setting the wrong resolutions. We may be focusing on a goal that just doesn’t matter that much, when we could focus on something more important and more rewarding. Or maybe the goal is too big or too hard. It can be hard to keep working at something when you aren’t seeing any progress. We forget that we have all year to achieve our goal, not just 2 weeks. We might need to have some sub goals to help us keep going.

Part of my work as a dietitian is help people set goals to improve their eating and lead healthier lives. Here are three common health resolutions I hear people make and some suggestions for how to make them better.

1. Lose weight.
Weight loss can be a noble goal, but isn’t the most practical resolution out there. There are plenty of data out there showing that leading a healthy lifestyle at ANY weight can have significant health benefits. Focusing on eating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains and being more active is more important. Weight is just a number. Health is much more complicated than that single number can show. Besides, weight loss isn’t as simple as calories in, calories out, unfortunately. You may find yourself putting in a lot of effort to lose weight with little result if you are only looking at the number on your scale.

So, if you feel that weight loss MUST be your goal, I would suggest adding as sub-goals those healthy lifestyle changes. Add an extra serving of vegetables to your dinner. Go on a walk for half an hour rather than watch TV. Eat fruit for a snack instead of candy. You can achieve these much more quickly than losing weight, giving you that shiny star of success to keep you going until the weight comes off. In the meantime, you will have already made important progress toward living a more healthy life.

2. Don’t eat (fill in the blank).
Eliminating a food from you diet is pretty unrealistic for most of us. By applying that “forbidden” label, the food just becomes more enticing. Our cravings keep growing until we finally cave and binge. I prefer a “moderation” approach. Eat too many carbs? Then try cutting your portion sizes by half. Eat too many sweets? Try sticking to treats only once a week. You can still eat your food, but your intake is more controlled.

3. Get fit.
Exercise is a great goal to have. But please set something realistic for you. Most of us won’t be ready for a marathon by the end of this month or even this year. I admit this is an area I especially struggle with. Last year, my resolution was to exercise 1 day a week. Sad, I know, but at that point in my life, it was a big goal for me. This year, I increased to 4 days a week. Life happens, but I can feel good about getting to the gym most days. A little stretching in the goal is good, but keep it do-able for you.

Remember, no one is perfect. It is never too late to pick up, dust off, and start all over again. Whether it is trying your old resolution again or making a new one, you can do it. Remember, there are still 334 days left in 2014. Let’s make them count!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will will answer them in upcoming posts!

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