New Year, New G.O.A.L.S.

by Stephanie Bouquet, MS, RD | January 30th, 2017

Wouldn’t it be nice to push a “restart” button and change unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits? I view the start of a new year as an opportunity to do just that. In order to be successful and see permanent change, I rely on the following strategies (G.O.A.L.S.) to point me in the right direction.

G: Get Ready

Success takes preparation. Implementing healthy behaviors is no exception. I encourage small steps to prevent feeling overwhelmed. For example, pick one dietary habit at a time to change. Start with having the right types of foods available to consume. Here are my easy supermarket to table suggestions.

O: Opt for Vegetables at Each Meal

Current recommendations for good health are to incorporate a minimum of 3 cups of vegetables daily into the diet. Among other qualities, these foods provide needed water and fiber into the diet to keep all body functions working right. Strive to add vegetables into all meals consumed to make the task less daunting and success attainable. Think you can’t incorporate vegetables into your breakfast meal? Think again. Check out my breakfast vegetable ideas.

A: Add and Adjust Exercise

Whether you already exercise or are just starting to move, it’s important to incorporate variety into your regimen. The body quickly adapts to exercise and will use the least amount of energy needed to sustain the activity. This means perform a combination of exercise types including aerobic (walking, bicycling) and strength training (free weights, resistance bands) for optimal health benefits. Remember, exercise should feel challenging. Follow the “talk-sing” test to gauge the intensity of your exercise. Exertion while exercising should allow for conversation (although you may not want to), but the inability to sing out your favorite tune!

L: Learn to Slow Down

Have you ever watched a young child eat? They will eat when they are truly hungry and stop immediately when they feel full. It does not matter if food is left on the plate, they listen to internal body signals. We are all ingrained with this ability, but most have learned to bypass these skills due to the variety of food available, the wonderful flavors of food or the social and emotional aspects of eating. It takes roughly twenty minutes for the brain and stomach to talk to each other to establish fullness. If you slow your rate of eating, you might find a smaller portion goes a lot farther and that fairs favorable on your waistline!

S: Start Each Day With Breakfast

The number one dietary mistake most make is to skip the first feeding of the day. Would you attempt to drive your car when the gas tank registers empty?  You would be hard pressed to get very far. The same goes for your mind and body. You must put fuel into the “tank” for it to work efficiently. This practice requires a little training (hunger cues are blunted in the mornings) so it’s best to eat within the first hour of waking.

Establish your own G.O.A.L.S. for better health. Happy New YOU!