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Common Challenges: Happy New Year - tips for a healthy 2012

Ah, January and New Year’s resolutions.  Those who consistently go to the gym throughout the year get slightly bothered in the beginning months of because of how crowded it is, the grocery stores notice healthier purchasing and increase their marketing and coupons on the organic or health foods, and dietitians read advertisement after advertisement on the web, in the newspaper, or in magazines promising for fast easy results as we roll our eyes (at least this one does).

I think it’s a great idea to make a resolution but it’s important to make it realistic and measureable to keep motivation and accountability intact.  Instead of saying “2012 is the year of health” why not make a specific measureable goal, share it, and have a buddy who can cheer you on?  I’d recommend changing the statement “2012 is the year of health” to, “in 2012, I will focus on eating 2 additional servings of fruits and vegetables and decreasing my lean protein from 7 oz. to 4 oz.”  Share the goal, hold yourself accountable, and monitor results.

If you are having a hard time finding specific goals here’s an idea to live by in 2012:

1)      Do not skip meals.  Skipping meals decreases your metabolism and forces your body into a state where it always feels it needs to store your food.  (see The vicious cycle of eating too little)

2)      Try to eat every four hours.  This will keep your metabolism moving forward and nourishment will provide fuel to make your body efficient.

3)      Insure each meal has a combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for fiber.  This will help with satiety and provide the appropriate vitamins and minerals your body needs.

4)      Make sure you drink 64-80 ounces of water a day. Our bodies are horrible with telling us we are dehydrated.  Often times our body confuses hunger with dehydration which can cause mindless snacking.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this note. I read a quote last week that said “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.”  This is so very true.  If you are planning to shell the money out for a gym deposit and monthly fees, why not see a dietitian first to insure you are eating appropriately? In the long run the visit with your dietitian can be less expensive and provide you with tips that can change your life.  Remember, most that go to the gym and complete cardio for 30 minutes burn approximately 250-300 calories.  You get those calories right back with a Chobani yogurt and ½ cup of fruit.  Healthy choices yes, but you are right back where you started from the calorie perspective.  If weight loss is the goal, your diet is just as important as your gym activity.  So what are you waiting for?  Make a decision that will change your life.  Call a dietitian today and get your assessment.  Need help?  Email me and I’ll even help you find a local dietitian in your area.  Cheers to a happy, healthy 2012!

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