It’s a new year again and as I scroll through my social media feed I can’t help but notice how many people have made resolutions regarding their diet and nutrition. Sometimes, I am concerned when people make nutrition-related resolutions because the assumption is usually that the resolution is just about food, but is it?Nutrition-related resolutions should take into account one’s health status, attitude towards food and food accessibility (the list goes on). Apart from genetics, I believe our attitude toward food will determine whether or not we will stay on track with our resolutions. Here are some quick tips to consider on your journey whatever that may be:
- Know your hunger cue. You should only eat when you feel belly hungry. Don’t eat based on feelings or emotions. The only gain from emotional eating is short-lived happiness and calories. Consider dealing with emotions through avenues like exercising, dancing, painting/coloring or crafts. They will keep you distracted and who knows you may end up discovering a talent you didn’t know you had!
- We live in a time when billions of funds are channeled into food ads, so consumers need to be on the offensive more or less. Always ensure you eat before you leave home or have nutrient-dense snacks with you. You would be better prepared to handle any feelings of greed or ‘long throat’ as a result of enticing ads on your route. Fruits, cut-up vegetables, reduced-sugar/salt protein or energy bars, and dried nuts or fruits are good options to curb your appetite until you can have a meal.
- Stop labeling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Opt to eat more wholesome, minimally processed foods that are nutritionally beneficial for you most of the time. If you must, eat foods that are less nutritionally beneficial for you less often. Aim to enjoy what you eat all the time if possible. When you don’t label food, it will be easier for you to indulge once in a while without feeling guilty, which will prevent more eating out of guilt and end the guilt cycle before it even begins.
- Try to make your own food often. You will save money over time, and you can control and know what goes into your food. If you cannot cook or you live alone, consider joining a cooking class/club or cooking with friends and family.There are also recipes online you could try out.
- Don’t jump on every food trend band wagon. Food trends come and go, some go quicker than they arrived. Just because someone had a vision that he/she should eat only insects for longevity doesn’t mean you should switch to an insect-based diet too. If you wish to stop eating a particular food, check with a professional who can help you plan your meals or recommend nutritional supplements to reduce your risk for nutrient deficiencies.
- When it comes to nutrition information, take what you read or hear with a grain of salt. Nutrition information is readily accessible today and there are many people selling ‘jargon’ all in the name of nutrition. Verify information by checking with reputable sources such as government agencies, professional associations and professionals trained in nutrition and food sciences.
- Finally, although not food-related, it is important to stay active daily. You don’t need an elaborate regime to do it, just run, dance, jump, play, just move. If you are like me and find yourself spending more time reading magazines at the gym than actually exercising (don’t judge me, lol), then consider joining a group fitness class or workout at home. There are many apps and videos you can use to guide you.
The New Year brings an opportunity to start afresh so start where you are. Set realistic goals and don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others. We are all different so do what works for you, and be proud of your achievements no matter how small they may be. At the end of the day, your health matters and you should aim to take care of it the best way you can.
Be sure to follow Nutribitz for evidence-based nutrition information :-). Feel free to send us suggestions and any questions you may have. We’ll do our best to help you along the way.
Cheers to a nutritionally sound mind, body and soul in 2017!