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New Year, Updated You

You don’t need a new you, you just need some new ideas.

Originally posted 1/2019. Updated 12/2020

This is the time of year where we start to see the “new you” or “make your resolutions stick” type of headline. It makes one think: What’s wrong with “current you”?  Nothing. You might just need a few tweaks. So…let’s change the narrative.

retrain your mind
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

What we think we can do is kind of what we get, so let’s use that to our advantage. You’ve heard of the placebo effect:

“Your mind can be a powerful healing tool when given the chance. The idea that your brain can convince your body a fake treatment is the real thing — the so-called placebo effect — and thus stimulate healing has been around for millennia. Now science has found that under the right circumstances, a placebo can be just as effective as traditional treatments.”

Directly from Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. Published 5/2017, updated 8/2019. The Power of the Placebo Effect

Think positive thoughts and believe you can try new ways to approach things. Now, consider these ideas to refresh your current routine:

Get three food groups at meals and two at snacks to automatically build in balance.

Use this as a visual reminder to eat balanced meals and snacks.

Stock your pantry, freezer and fridge with foods you like (yes, for real) and foods you are missing.

Organize your kitchen to make it easier and more enjoyable to make meals. Are your bowls easy to reach? Do you know where your measuring spoons are? Can you access your food processor? Rearrange things to make what you use most easy to get to.

Breakfast: Start your day off right by tucking in food groups you might miss later. Add a fruit and/or a vegetable. Go for a whole grain. Get some protein. Do some dairy. Think about balance, calories, AND nutrition. Peanut butter is your jam? Ok, use an actual tablespoon to measure the portion and pair it with an apple. You like cheese? Start with a pre-portioned string cheese and enjoy it with an orange. Leftovers? Yep, that’s ok, too. Visit MyPlate.gov to learn about each food group.

Lunch and Dinner: If you are eating one giant portion of one item instead of mixing things up, this is BORING (and not balanced). It doesn’t have to be an ordeal to make a better impact. Learn your options, including portions, so you can fit in pretty much every food you want to. Remember you have five food groups to choose from: fruit, veggie, dairy, grain, protein and you need the nutrition from all of them. Remember the 2 food groups per snack, 3 per meal? Start there and challenge yourself to start eating a variety. Bonus? Your taste buds may just be happier, too.

Snacks: Plan them. Don’t randomly graze and think this doesn’t count. There’s wiggle room, just know extra calories aren’t free.  Figure out how your choices fit in, or if it’s worth it. Maybe it’s not delicious enough to be worth the extra calories it’s adding. Maybe it is. Your choice. Higher fat treat? Ok, let’s shift the snack and condiments to lighter options to balance that out. Want seconds of one dish? Consider what food groups are in it and shift your intake of these food groups at other meals. Make it this easy.

Party food: Consider the entire array of food and beverage offerings before loading your plate. Choose your favorites. Party food is a treat. Treat yo’self. Then move on. And don’t skip your workout. Even if it’s a short one.

Restaurant: Read the entire menu before choosing. If there is an appetizer that looks amazing and you want it for your meal, go for it. You don’t have to order like everyone else does. Order what you want that makes sense for what you are interested in eating and need for overall day’s balance.

What will you choose to do first for an updated you?

choice in options
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

By Kim Kirchherr

Dietitian and ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with farm to table expertise.