National Healthy Weight Awareness Month

Happy New Year! January is a common time when people think about achieving a healthy weight. It is a time when New Year’s resolutions for healthy and diet-free living habits are given focus. Obesity is among the top major health issues and is even said to have reached epidemic levels in the United States.

Unfortunately, many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions before January even comes to an end. Dividing your long term goals into smaller, more achievable goals will help keep you motivated! Healthy eating does not have to be an all or nothing approach. You can start with one or two healthy switch-ups in your daily routine. As you reach your goal of mastering these switch-ups, add a couple more, or start working toward one of the other small goals. Over time, as you crush these small goals, you will reach your ultimate long term goal!

Try not to use the word “diet” when making your New Year’s resolution and setting your goals. Diets don’t work in the long run as people think of them as temporary; therefore, they only have temporary results. If you want long term results of a healthier you, a lifestyle change is in order!


Here are some tips and simple changes to help you get started:
•Buddy up! Find a friend to lock arms with. Together, you can support each other and hold one another accountable to stay on track toward your goals.
•It starts at the grocery store! Do the majority of your shopping around the perimeter of the store; that’s where the good stuff is! The middle is mostly filled with processed, unhealthy items. If it has an expiration date in 2017 or later, skip it! Oh, and be sure your belly is well fed before shopping to help you maintain self-control!
•Breakfast: the most important meal of the day. This is not just a cliché! Breakfast should be a healthy mix of protein and whole grains and weigh in at about 300 calories. A couple simple examples are whole grain toast with natural peanut butter and a piece of fruit, or a couple eggs with toast and apple butter. A protein meal shake is also an option as a quick meal on the go when your morning is busy.
•Nix nighttime eating! Cutting out after-dinner snacking is an easy way to help shed extra pounds. It’s easy to consume a meal’s worth of calories while watching TV or other relaxing activity. Try drinking decaffeinated tea or hot water with lemon while you relax instead of snacking.

•Keep track! Thanks to smartphones, it’s easier than ever to keep a detailed food log no matter where your day takes you. A few good app options are Calorific, The Eatery, Evernote, Lose It, My Fitness Pal, My Food Diary, My Net Diary, My Plate, and Nutrition Menu. Most of these apps have a database of tens of thousands of foods, including many popular restaurant menu items.
•Get moving! Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t need to spend hours working out or force yourself into grueling activities you hate. A little exercise is better than nothing. Adding just a modest amount of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health, as well as your physical health!

These are just a few small changes you can make to work toward long term improvement! Just
remember to check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Focus on consistency, the payoff will come in time.

And remember to be kind to yourself! Don’t feel guilty if you indulge once in a while. One splurge meal a week doesn’t usually result in any significant weight gain. It’s about what you do the next day and the day after that’s really important – so don’t stay off-track. So be sure to whittle away at those extra calories over the next day or two, preferably by boosting exercise rather than eating too little. Starvation is not the healthy answer!

Submitted by Alison Mulder, RN,
Director of Nursing, from our Willmar office