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New Year’s Resolutions

7 Jan 2016

Top tips for making healthy New Year’s resolutions that stick!

How many times in the past have you made New Year’s resolutions that are not only achievable, but sustainable? Often unrealistic expectations or failing to plan can mean that starting the new year with the best intentions and lots of enthusiasm, is not always successful. Here are my top tips for making New Year's resolutions and sticking to them, as well as some healthy, achievable and sustainable goals for the new year.

Don’t try to re-design your whole diet overnight:

Jumping to a whole new way of eating, which is completely removed from how you currently eat is not realistic, nor is it sustainable. Aim for small achievable changes, such as preparing a healthy lunch the night before work (so that you aren’t relying on takeaway for lunch), or including a side salad (or veggies) which each meal.

Try to stay away from fad diets:

The reason that we call these diets “fads”, is that they come and go. Eating is not a “one size fits all” approach and more often than not, these diets are designed by individuals who have no qualifications in nutrition (which may cause more harm than good).

Make sure that you have a plan:

As they say, failing to plan, is planning to fail. Make sure you don’t go into making your New Year’s resolutions without a plan to get you there. For example, if your goal is to drink less alcohol this year, then plan when you will drink (i.e. every second or third night instead of every night), and how much you will reduce your intake to. Think up alternative strategies such as taking a bath to unwind instead of having a drink, or drinking soda water between drinks.

Make SMART goals:

When making goals follow the SMART acronym: Specific: what, which, who and how?, Measurable: can you, and how will you track your progress?, Attainable: Is this goal realistic?, Relevant: is this goal worthwhile and why is it worthwhile to you? and Timely: what is the time frame in which to achieve this goal?

Suggested New Year's resolutions for a healthier you:

Increase your intake of vegetables and fruit:

Vegetables and fruits are low kilojoule powerhouses which are packed full of vitamins and minerals as well as phytonutrients and fibre. Many Australians do not consume the recommended intake of 5 vegetables and 2 fruits per day. In fact, less than 50% of all Australians met the recommended intake of fruit, whilst less than 10% of Australians met the recommended intake of vegetables according to the latest nutrition survey by the ABS. Increasing your intake of these nutrition powerhouses not only helps to prevent malnutrition – ensuring good health, but can also assist with weight loss and protect you from the risk of various cancers and chronic disease.

Eat 2-3 serves of oily fish per week OR alternatives (i.e. omega-3 enriched eggs or bread, or linseed):

As our bodies do not produce omega-3 fatty acids, we must obtain them from the foods that we eat. Omega-3 assists with heart and brain health, and has anti-inflammatory properties. A recent Australian study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics has shown that consuming Omega-3 fatty acids from fish (compared to taking capsules) resulted in a marked reduction in blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Like with vegetable and fruit consumption, Australians eat less than half the recommended intake of omega-3.

Drink more water:

Although not often thought as such, water is an essential nutrient, as our bodies cannot function without it. Water has various roles within the body including assisting with digestion, absorption, transportation, elimination and thermoregulation. Due to our hot Australian summers, our requirements may also be higher and failure to adequately hydrate can result in exhaustion, mental and physiological impairment and increased risk of urinary tract infections, kidney stones, colon and urinary cancers. Aim for at least 2L of water per day or more, particularly if exercising, or subjected to extreme heat.

Move more:

Less than half of Australian adults meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity per day (which is only 30 minutes!), with a whopping 39 hours of the week being occupied by sedentary activity - of which watching TV was the highest. With less active jobs/lifestyles, and more leisure activities being those that require no movement, it really should come as no surprise that 63% of Australians are overweight or obese. The good news is however, that even brisk walking can have massive health benefits such as increasing cardiovascular fitness, strengthening bones and muscles and reducing body fat AND is a great starting point. As mentioned earlier, achievable and sustainable changes are the key to success, so even going for a short walk each day will provide immense benefits.

Remember SMART goals!

Rebekah Alcock
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Recover Sports Medicine

If you have any questions regarding this post, or wish to book in to see our Accreddited Practicing Dietitian, please call us on 1300 858 774 or email contact@recoversportsmed.com.au

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