Help for Your New Years Diet Resolutions

Dumping donuts for New Years resolutions.
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New Years resolutions to eat better or to lose weight are common -- especially after loading up on sugary snacks and high-calorie holiday fare. And although they're made with good intentions, they're difficult to keep and most of the time the resolutions fall by the wayside in a matter of weeks. 

But failure isn't inevitable. Increase your chances of success by following these steps.

1. Set Your Goal

The first step is to make your resolution.

It's best to keep it reasonable -- something you can accomplish without stressing yourself out too much. If your diet is terrible, it's not likely that you can eat perfectly clean right off the bat -- it takes time and practice. So, for example, start with a resolution to eat salad as a meal three days a week, or resolve to drink plain coffee three mornings per week in place of your usual mocha lattes. Revisit your resolutions on the first of February. If you can mark your goals as "Mission Accomplished!" then you can move on to something a little tougher. 

2. Get a Game Plan

Increase your chances of success by getting organized. Think about the things that will set you back and come up with tactics to deal with those situations. Pack your own lunches instead of eating at fast food places. Make a grocery list and shop when you're not hungry. Download a menu if you're going to a restaurant with friends -- think about what you should eat before you go.

Is snacking in front of the TV your downfall? Stock your kitchen with low-calorie raw vegetables and a tasty veggie dip instead of chips. Or try some Greek yogurt and berries instead of ice cream. 

3. Enlist Your Friends and Family

Once you set your goals, it's a good idea to tell other people about them and ask for their help.

Like when you're craving a big ice cream sundae or you want to eat a bag of chips. Call a diet buddy and talk about it -- a little encouragement might be all you need to snack on an apple instead. Then you can return the favor and help others who are going through the same thing. 

4. Buy the Right Equipment

One of the things that's difficult about a new diet is knowing exactly how much food you're eating. It's important because you can't calculate your calories or nutrient intake correctly without that information. You may be tempted to guess, but it's so much better measure your portions. Buy an inexpensive kitchen scale and a few measuring cups so you can measure your meals until you get good at eye-balling typical serving sizes. You might also want to invest in a good bathroom scale that gives you your weight and your body fat percentage. Monitor your weight and body composition regularly to keep on track. 

5. Get Help From the Professionals

Get clear on what makes up a healthy diet. Pick up a self-help diet book, or better yet, schedule an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist who can help you design meal plans, learn how to choose foods that are good for you, and help you achieve your health and diet goals.

You can also join an online community like Calorie Count, which has all the tools you need for success.


United States Department of Agriculture and United Stated Department of Health and Human Services. "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020." Accessed April 2, 2016.

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