By Terry Kanakri
As we welcome the year 2023, many of us will make a common and popular New Year’s resolution to shed some pounds and become more fit to achieve better health.
However, according to DiscoverHappyHabits.com. a study showed out of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, by the end of the year, only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them. And, in another study, 35% of participants who failed their New Year’s resolutions said they set unrealistic goals.
According to experts, if you want to be successful in fulfilling your New Year’s resolution, then don’t set unrealistic goals that are hard to achieve, or you’re likely to end up disappointed and put undue pressure on your physical and emotional well-being. That includes vowing to do what it takes to lose weight and getting in shape in 2023.
“They key is going into the new year with a positive mindset first and foremost, and to think of weight loss as a lifestyle change and not as a new diet since fad diets don’t really work in the long run,” said Roohe Ahmed, a registered dietician and health educator with Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
“Another key to success is setting realistic expectations. Don’t go in with the mindset that it’s all or nothing. Take small steps and you’ll be surprised about what you can accomplish!”
When it comes to shedding those extra pounds, Ahmed recommends combining a healthy diet with an exercise program. She notes it’s important to consult with your physician before you start an exercise regimen or make any drastic changes to your diet, however.
According to Ahmed, if you want to lose weight and become more fit, necessary lifestyle changes need to take place in four areas:
As much as possible, try to reduce or eliminate ultra-processed foods such as hot dogs, lunch meat and spam. Also, try reducing added sugars, which include sugary beverages like juice and soda, as well as desserts.
It’s also important to follow the recommended healthy food plate method. That means filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, carrots and mushrooms; one-quarter good quality protein of lean meats, as well as plant-based proteins such as legumes or soy beans. About one-quarter of the plate should be filled with starchy vegetables/ legumes/whole grains such as beans, lentils, peas, corn, potatoes, quinoa and brown rice.
Try to engage for at least 20 minutes per day of moderate exercise such as brisk walking, jogging or biking. Ideally, aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Studies have shown that a good night’s sleep is invaluable to our physical and emotional well-being. Aim to sleep for 7-9 hours per day.
We all know stress is part of life. However, find time every day to decompress. If your mental health becomes strained, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
“Following these recommendations in small steps when resolving to lose weight and get in better shape in the New Year will make it more likely that you will be successful and achieve your goal for a healthier 2023,” Ahmed said.