New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthy 2020

Tired of making New Year’s resolutions that you don’t keep? Here are some tips for building healthy habits and making your food goals stick:

Keep it Simple

Stay away from vague, drastic, or unrealistic resolutions like “eat clean,” “lose 50 pounds,” or “get a six-pack.” These types of resolutions inherently set you up for failure. Instead, aim for small, specific, and sustainable lifestyle changes.

Avoid Fad Diets

If you’ve ever tried a fad diet before, you’re not alone. Perhaps you tried to live off grapefruit and cabbage soup, bought a gimmicky weight loss tea, or went on a green juice cleanse. Were you able to stick to these diets for a long time? Even if you did manage to lose a few pounds, were you able to keep them off once you went back to your normal way of eating? Fad diets are not only ineffective, they can be downright dangerous for your health. When setting your New Year’s resolutions and goals, avoid the following red flags to steer clear of fad diets in 2020.

  1. Diets that are too restrictive. A hallmark of fad dieting is telling you to avoid entire food groups, like carbs or fats, or recommending dangerously low-calorie intakes. These types of diets are impossible to maintain and following them long term can make you susceptible to nutrient deficiencies and health problems. When evaluating a new eating plan, ask yourself, “Is this something that I could realistically stick to my whole life?” If the answer is “no,” then ditch it.
  2. Diets or supplements that advertise rapid weight loss. Losing more than 1-2 pounds per week is not healthy and can lead to rebound weight gain. Small lifestyle adjustments that bring about gradual change are the way to go.
  3. Diets or supplements that promote detox. Your liver and kidneys do a great job of detoxing your body every day. A smoothie or supplement promising to remove toxins from your body is not only unnecessary but can be harmful. Supplements, which are unregulated by the FDA, have been found to contain dangerous substances like heavy metals or traces of pharmaceuticals. Stick to a balanced diet and let your organs do the rest!

New Year’s Resolution Ideas

The following list contains some ideas for simple and sustainable lifestyle changes. You can also work with your dietitian to come up with your own. Just try to pick only 1 or 2 things so you can really commit to sticking to them for the duration of 2020 and beyond.

  • Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • Walk for 30 minutes a day, five days per week
  • Drink water instead of sugary beverages like soda or juice
  • Pack a lunch from home 3 times per week instead of going out to eat
  • Resolve to snack more intentionally—eat two small, balanced snacks (like nuts and fruit, cheese and crackers, yogurt and oats, or hummus and celery sticks) in addition to meals

Remember: there are no quick fixes

The best diet is not a diet at all, but a balanced way of life that includes a broad array of healthy foods (and even some treats in moderation), along with regular physical activity. My resolution is to start going to a yoga class once per week and to feed my body lovingly without focusing on a number on a scale. If you get off track with your resolutions, don’t get discouraged! Just pick up where you left off as soon as possible and you’ll be on your way to healthier, happier you in 2020.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

Nutrition and Diabetes Counseling Center of NC