Did you know that MyPlate's theme for the month is "Resolutions into Solutions"?
How will you help your clients turn their resolutions into solutions?
MyPlate offeres 2 key tips: focus on long-term solutions instead of quick fixes, and encourage self-assessment resources. Let's take a look at each one in more detail, shall we?
Quick-fixes are appealing for a variety of reasons. Speed is definitely high on the list. Many people want to see results "now, now, now!" and don't want to spend time doing an overhaul of their eating plans or habits. Plus, people want to act while their motivation is strong.
Unfortunately, in order to make a lasting change, more long-term solutions need to be implemented.
Those quick-fixes are often unsustainable, and many of them can even damage people's health (I'm looking at you, fad diets and cleanses). Once the initial energy wears off, people tend to backslide into bad habits and reverse any positive changes they may have made during a burst of "quick fixing."
Don't let that happen to your clients.
In order to make resolutions into long-term solutions, people need to set goals that are sustainable over time. This often means starting slowly and implementing changes gradually. Small changes can add up, and they're often easier to sustain than large, life-changing adjustments. When it comes to changing eating habits, it's wise to consult with a health educator, like a dietitian or doctor. The same is true for exercise habits. As people implement these changes, encourage them to (healthfully!) reward themselves for sticking to their plan and reaching milestones. This can help keep motivation going even after the initial burst of energy.
Here are a few small changes that can make a big difference over time...
- Replace soda with water
- Increase fruit and vegetable consumption
- Find a way to be active on most days
- Try new and healthful snacks
- Eat fruit for dessert
- Choose leaner types of protein foods
- Replace full-fat dairy with low-fat or nonfat alternatives
- Try a new exercise class (in person or online)
- Try to make a plate match MyPlate during at least 1 meal per day
- Switch out some refined grain foods for their whole grain counterparts
- Go for a walk on most days
How will you help your clients make long-term changes?
Holding oneself accountable is a great way to make motivation last past that initial burst of resolve. Tracking progress provides a look at how a person's efforts are paying off, along with a great opportunity to check in and make sure that she or he is on track. Self assessment can also help people identify other goals that they may wish to address as well.
There are lots of great self-assessment resources available today. MyPlate has come up with a great introductory self-assessment sheet, and we address a few more in the members-only post Self-Assessment Resources. That post also comes with a printable self-assessment page that you can use as you see fit!
It's time to turn resolutions into solutions!
Oh, and here's a free PDF handout about healthful goal setting and addressing long-term plans...
We're here to help you look your very best, right now, so here are some other great resources to help your clients...
There's always more in the Nutrition Education Store!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.