SARASOTA (Jan. 3, 2012) – Improving health and fitness are among the top 5 New Year’ resolutions Americans make each year. But too often we set goals too high and fail to set ourselves up for success!
Whether you are looking to lose a little around the middle or control diabetes, hypertension, have more energy, or fit into your favorite jeans…you must take a realistic approach – or prepare for disappointment by March, said Julie Sibbio-Bender, a Sarasota Memorial dietitian who frequently counsels patients in the hospital as well as people who seek advice through the hospital’s outpatient nutrition counseling program.
She and Sarasota Memorial’s team of dietitians offer the following advice to help you achieve your personal wellness goals in 2012. The first step is to identify your motivation for change…that strong motivator that will help you overcome setbacks and obstacles. Second, set small realistic goals that you believe you can achieve. Finally, write it down, tell a friend, and find support!
If you are overwhelmed on where to begin, start with one or more of the 5 Resolutions for Life!
1. Make yourself a priority: Set aside time to shop for healthy foods and plan your meals. Make this a positive step for YOU - involve your spouse, children, or friends! Schedule sleep and exercise and move them to the top of your priority list. By eating well, exercising, and obtaining adequate sleep you will be a more productive employee, parent, and spouse. You may find that planning also helps manage stress and anxiety!
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Many Americans are walking around chronically dehydrated. Water can do wonders for our energy level and fuel us towards weight loss success! Start the day drinking water and mindfully drink through the day incorporating 60-100 oz. Limit coffee, soda, and high calorie beverages. If you need flavor, squeeze an orange, lemon or lime into your water or sip on a herbal decaf hot tea.
3. Slow the pace to lose the weight: Many people eat as if the food is going to run off the plate! If that is you… Slow down and train yourself to eat “mindfully”…savoring the flavor, texture, and benefit of the food you are eating. Recent research has demonstrated that if we eat quickly, take large bits, and use super-sized utensils we will eat more. However, if we take smaller bites and chew food well, we inevitably eat less.
4. Find the Right Fuel Mix for You: Most meals should contain a lean source of protein source: fish, eggs, chicken, beef, tofu, nut butters, etc. These foods will help keep you full longer. Next at least ¼ of your plate should have a whole grain such as brown/black/wild rice, pasta, potato, quinoa, beans, etc. which contain filling fiber and aids in cholesterol lowering. Load up on volume and fill ½ your plate with veggies! Why? Well they are low calorie, high in fiber, plus they contain naturally occurring compounds called antioxidants that help the body fight many serious disease. Eat more “color” to reduce your waistline and risk of disease.
5. Move to the Rhythm of a Collective Beat: Yes that means, don’t move alone. Find support and align with others who have similar goals of health and wellness. We are bound to keep with our healthy lifestyles if we have the support and motivation of others. Find a walking or dancing partner, or try a new activity like indoor cycling, swimming, or Zumba with a friend. Discovering activities you enjoy will help keep you motivation to move more….
Small changes can make a significant impact on your health, Sibbio-Bender says. Once you accomplish small changes, you become more confident that you can reach long-term goals. So start with a positive attitude and invest in your health today for a big return in the year to come. Or, consider meeting with a Registered Dietitian to help individualize a nutrition and wellness plan! For information, call Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Office at (941) 917-7468.