At this time of the year, many people make new year’s resolution to lose weight. And initially there is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm to fulfil them. But a few weeks down the track most will give up on these goals for a number of reasons including that they were too hard to achieve, they weren’t realistic or you simply weren’t ready for that sort of commitment.
Rather than going on a strict diet or setting goals that are too hard to achieve, try setting small more realistic mini goals to work on this year that will result in long-term health benefits. Here’s a few:
- Increase your vegetable intake:
It may not sound like much of a goal but only 1 in 20 Australians eat the recommended amount of vegetables each day. This is probably because the recommendations involve quite a bit of vegetables that is 5 serves for adult females and 6 serves for adult males. One serve is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. Increasing your vegetable intake will meal that you eat less of other more calorific foods with the added bonus of more vitamins, minerals and fibre. Of course the majority of these vegetables should be low kilojoule / calorie vegetables life salads and green leafy vegetables rather than potatoes…
- Increase dietary fibre intake:
According to the National Health and Medical Research Council adequate dietary fibre is essential for proper functioning of the gut and has also been related to risk reduction for a number of chronic diseases including heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes. High fibre foods are also filling and may help reduce food intake. Most Australians don’t get enough fibre each day. We need 25-30g daily which isn’t easy to achieve each day. Learn more about fibre here: http://daa.asn.au/…/smart-eating-for-y…/nutrition-a-z/fibre/
Increase fibre intake by increasing vegetable intake, choose breads with more grain and seeds, adding high fibre seeds e.g. chia and linseeds to meals and snacks, including high fibre legumes e.g. chickpeas, 4 bean mix to meals, choosing higher fibre cereals etc.
- Drink more water as opposed to other beverages:
Water isn’t a popular drink for some but it is kilojoule / calorie free, hydrates you and may even help fill you up to some extent. While in general they say to have 2L per day, this is just an estimate, the amount of fluids you need depends on your weight, work, how active you are and if you are spending time outside in the hot sun. If you’re not keen on water, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice or slices in it, add some diet cordial to it, make herbal or fruit flavoured teas with it.
- Cut down alcohol intake:
Alcohol is a popular beverage in particular on the weekends or after a stressful day. But 1 gram of alcohol alone (not to mention added mixers) provides 29 kilojoules / 7 calories. It doesn’t take many drinks to have consumed the same amount of kilojoules / calories as a meal. Often people can go really well with their eating during the week but then consume the extra kilojoules in alcohol keeping their weight at a stand-still or even slowly gaining weight over time. Can you reduce your alcohol intake this year?
- Move more:
Yep – this is always one that no one seems to like me posting about but it’s important. Getting more active has many health benefits that we all know about so I won’t repeat. Why not just set small goals here, even if it’s just to increase your daily steps to begin with or have 1 or 2 exercise days and build on this over time. Some tips on how to get more active are in my post here: Move More, Sit Less