Last week’s blog covered why diets do and do not work, so this week, the focus is on ditching the diet mentality and taking the first concrete steps toward more nutrient dense eating in 2019.
Many people genuinely want to eat healthier as a New Year starts. January 1, they pick a ‘diet,’ and around mid-January, they are struggling to keep it up. So, first off, let’s get off that roller coaster.
- If you take an all or nothing approach to eating and can’t sustain ‘all,’ you are left with ‘nothing.’
- Recognize that the scale is not the best marker of progress.
- Eat regularly. Consistency in the timing of food is a great start.
- Improve eating by changing how food is viewed.
- Nutrient dense food intake nourishes people to fully engage in life’s activities, including WODs, skiing, dancing, hiking, or whatever gives life meaning, while at the same time, reduces risk of chronic diseases.
- Small changes in eating really do work (eg, add a raw vegetable serving to lunch weekdays). Dumping everything you know and like about food does not.
- Understand what motivates you. Is it internal (‘I do this to feel strong’) factors or external (‘I want to look good in X clothing) ones? Strategies to keep motivated:
- Set a challenge (eg, one new eating change per month like—January: nail down a nutrient dense breakfast 5 of 7 days per week; February: pack a lunch 5 of 7 days per week; March: eat a cooked vegetable and a side salad at dinner 6 of 7 days per week, and so on).
- Recruit a friend or loved one to join you!
- Switch things up (eg, that new breakfast skill needs options so boredom does not set in—hard boiled eggs vs scrambled, whole grain toast or oatmeal, Greek yogurt and berries, leftover chicken and rice).
These ideas could lead to more nutrient dense eating, but they aren’t the only way to do it! My weekly blog in 2019 (Like Boston Iron and Grit on Facebook to receive it Thursdays) will continue to provide more ways for our community to eat well. No eating or nutrition topic is off limits! Need a strategy to address an issue that is keeping nutrient dense eating out of reach? Let me know so that we can support and encourage each other in our 2019 nutrition journey!
Happy New Year and happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN