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At the start of a new year, a lot of people feel pressured to set drastic New Year’s resolutions. You may hit January 1st and think, “Wow, 2019. THIS is going to be my year. I’m going to eat perfectly healthy every single day and everything will go just as planned. You start off strong for about a week or two, then you face the tough reality of your extreme changes.

Suddenly the new changes that you thought would reshape your life suddenly feel overwhelming, impractical, and old habits may start slipping back into your life.

As we start the new year, here are some ways to start a healthy year successfully and with practical goals in mind.

Tip #1:  Avoid the trap of fad diets

As a dietitian, I get a LOT of questions from people asking for my opinions on fad diets. Whether it’s the ketogenic diet, paleo, vegan, the coconut oil craze, cutting out sugar, or trying the Whole 30, it can be easy to fall victim to fad diets without knowing the consequences of them.

There is a reason why they are called “fad diets” because that’s exactly what they are: a fad.

An intense, short-lived craze that does not last long. Fad diets like these may be trendy, but hidden risks come with diets that give up entire food groups, like dairy or grains, or limit one macronutrient group, like carbs.  As an athlete, this is harmful because severely limiting your carbohydrate intake rapidly reduces your body’s preferred form of energy: carbs! Many of these diets exclude or minimize essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function properly.  

Following a balanced diet with carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats is recommended for optimal training and athletic performance.

Tip #2:  Don’t make too many drastic changes at once

Instead of making crazy changes to your diet that are impractical and often cut out foods that you enjoy, start by making small changes and set SMART goals – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

An example of this could be “I will reduce the amount of times I eat fast food from 4 times to 1 time per week by next month in order to improve my cholesterol levels.” Going cold turkey right off the bat often leads to cravings, which can lead to uncontrolled binging after a fad diet. Instead, ease your body into eating healthier and I promise it won’t feel as scary.

The bottom line is that having a balanced, healthy diet with everything in moderation is going to be the best bet for your health and training! Fad diets may prove to be successful in weight loss WHILE you are on them, but research shows that additional weight gain is even more likely after restricting throughout the fad diet.

Make the most of the start of 2019! Set goals, follow a healthy and balanced diet, and attack your training plans for the new year! For more nutrition questions or healthy recipes, contact your dietitian, Kristina!

Email: kristina.swanson95@gmail.com

Food Instagram: @cookingwithkswanny  

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