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Simple food resolutions for the whole year

vegetables and fruitsAs I’ve mentioned in my previous New Year’s resolutions blogs, resolutions are successful when they are specific in nature, measurable and realistic. Continued success is enhanced when a plan or steps detailing how the goal will be achieved exists. There are many food related resolutions one can make: reduce portion sizes, minimize late night snacking, always have breakfast, limit sugary beverages, etc. This blog focuses on one particular food related resolution that will have an impact on your health and on Mother Earth.

More plants please!
Americans consume almost double the protein their bodies need. Most of this protein is animal protein, which tends to be high in fat and saturated fat. The Western diet is heavily based on meat and research shows that it might not be the best for us.

A plant-based diet has its benefits; including an increased intake in fiber and reduced consumption of fat. Because of this, and concerns about the earth’s resources (it takes more resources to sustain cattle than to grow plants) vegetarianism continues to grow all around the globe.

One way to start reaping the benefits of plant-based foods is to make a concerted effort to include them in our diet. A simple way to do this is to elevate the importance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and other plant based foods in our meals. With the Oscars coming up, I thought of a great analogy. Instead of meat being the best actor, make it the supporting actor. Point the cameras and shine the light on non-meat foods!

Another strategy is to designate one day a week as a meatless day. Meatless Monday not only has a ring to it but it is also the name of a nationwide evidence based initiative that promotes eating more plant-based foods. This initiative based out of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has a goal to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent “for personal health and the health of the planet.”  The site, www.meatlessmonday.com has more information about this initiative, provides recipes, promotions and more.

Many people are concerned that following a meatless diet will not provide enough protein. There are plenty of meatless sources of protein such as: beans and other legumes, eggs, dairy (yogurt, milk, etc.), soy products (tofu, tempeh, etc.), and nuts and seeds.  There are other sources as well, which will be discussed in future articles.

So, make yourself a promise to include more plants in your life, and not just houseplants to beautify your home. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and designate the Mondays in your schedule as Meatless Mondays!



Wellness tip: set SMART goals

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/3876552794/

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/3876552794/

Is your New Year’s resolution still going strong? If not, it may not have to do with your willpower, maybe it was just the wrong goal. To make the most of your resolution, set a SMART goal.

A SMART goal is:


Setting a SMART goal and recording your progress along the way can help increase your success and make a lasting behavior change.

Specific–Think about what actions you will take to make your desired behavior change. Focus your attention to that specific behavior.

Measurable–Make sure you are able to measure the progress of your goal. Measurements provide tangible evidence that you have accomplished the goal.

Achievable–Don’t make the mistake of setting your goals too high. You want to feel challenged, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

Realistic–Make sure you have all the resources you need to achieve your goal. If you truly believe that you can accomplish your goal, then your goal is most likely realistic.

Timed–Set a timeframe for when you would like to achieve your goal. Give yourself enough time.

Remember you can always make adjustments to your goal along the way. When you track your progress, it is easier to see where adjustments need to be made. This year, set a SMART goal to help make your New Year’s resolution last.

Recipe for a successful New Year’s resolution

Store displays and music on the radio station seem to indicate that the holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving feasts are being planned, December parties organized and in some cases end of the year resolutions considered. New Year’s resolutions are as common as apple pie. More than half of Americans consider exercising more while more than one third cite weight loss as their New Year’s resolution. Others double up the promise by committing to do both in the upcoming year. But despite all the good intentions, most resolutions are soon forgotten come spring.

Studies have shown time and time again that for a resolution to succeed certain parameters have to be in place. Probably the most important is how well our resolutions, goals or promises are articulated. Ideally goals should be S.M.A.R.T.

S = Specific

Vague goals will likely fail. Instead of “I want to lose weight,” consider making “I want to lose 15 pounds by June” or “I want to lose one pound a week” the goal. The more specific the goal, the better the results.

M = Measurable

Can you measure your success? Ask yourself “Is there anyway I can measure how I am doing?” or “How will I know that I have reached my goal?”  For example: “I want to drink more water” does not really tell you how much more you want to drink. A better goal might be “I want to drink 8 cups of water each day,” or consider “I want to drink two more cups of water than what I am currently drinking every day.” These goals tell you exactly how much, and it will be easier for you to measure how well you are doing with this goal.

A = Achievable

Ask yourself: “What is important for me to achieve?” or “Is my goal too easy or too hard?” This is where you have to really know yourself and be honest with yourself. If you make the goal too easy you won’t really feel that you have accomplished much. If you make it too hard you might feel disappointed if you don’t reach it.

R = Realistic

Ask yourself: “Am I willing and able to work toward this goal?” and “How hard am I willing and able to work toward this goal?” If you truly believe that you can achieve your goal, you most likely will. You can make hard goals that are realistic but know how challenging your goal should be.

T = Time

Ask yourself: “Have I given myself enough time to reach my goal?” S.M.A.R.T. goals usually include some sort of deadline or timeline. “I will lose weight this year” does not really tell you much about when you will lose the weight. Will you lose all you want the first month or the last month of the year? Again, you have to be honest and be able to articulate how long you are willing to give yourself to reach your goal. Deadlines also give you something to look forward to during your efforts.

When resolving to change a habit, do it slowly. Focus on one habit at a time. Working on too many habits at once will likely be frustrating. Also, don’t forget that you don’t have to set just one big goal for the behavior you want to change. You can start by focusing on short term baby steps that lead to your overall goal. So you may want to focus on ways to cut down on evening snacking for example, which ties in to your overall resolution to lose weight. However, remember to make these short term goals S.M.A.R.T. goals as well for better results.


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