Did you set any health resolutions for the year? Having trouble sticking to them? With a month of 2020 under our belts, many of our resolutions may have already gone out the window. The key is to create healthy habits, forgiveness when we fall off track and set goals for the long term.
We sat down with Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Carla Coriaty-Hulla to pick her brain on setting realistic nutrition goals and sticking with them all year long.
What’s the best way to set realistic nutrition goals?
The most effective way I have seen my clients set goals and stick with them is when they identify old unhealthy habits and make new, healthier habits. The first step is realizing which habits are not healthy. For example, we have a client who used to stop at a local donut shop every morning to meet friends for coffee. Most of the time he also ordered a bagel and donut. This was a difficult habit to break since it was also a social outing for him since he retired. We helped him come up with a replacement for the bagel/ donut and now he has a fruit and vegetable smoothie instead. He replaced his unhealthy habit with a new healthier one. If the goals are realistic and attainable it’s more likely to continue them. We encourage people to indulge only on special occasions. This allows them to feel less restricted.
What are some tips to stay on track all year long?
Expect to indulge a little on special occasions. Many times, we start diets and life gets in the way. Instead of working life into the new healthier habits, we use it as an excuse to discontinue. Understand that birthdays come once a year and there are many holidays throughout the year. Allow the indulging to end as soon as the holiday is done. Get rid of leftovers and get back on track with exercise as soon as possible.
Forgiveness is also important. People get discouraged when they fall off track and have a hard time getting back into the swing of things because they’re frustrated. Forgiving yourself will make it less of a struggle to get back on track.
As a nutritionist, I’m sure you don’t recommend a quick–fix or crash diet? Why or why not?
Most quick–fix diets will work however, they don’t work long term because they don’t teach good nutrition habits. Changing habits over the long term teaches us better habits that are learned and adopted. Losing weight slowly assures that it will stay off longer.
What are the most common bad habits you see and what’s a good way to break from them?
Many people have a bad habit of snacking on sweets late at night or while watching TV. It’s not good for our GI wellbeing to eat within two hours of going to sleep. What works for some people especially those that have GERD or reflux is we just make a healthy rule while explaining the reasons. Not eating within 2 hours of bedtime also allows for a more restful sleep.
Carla Coriaty-Hullais is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a New York State Licensed Board Certified Dietitian Nutritionist. Carla’s mission is to provide personalized, high-quality nutrition care by integrating traditional nutrition practices with holistic and complementary interventions.