No sooner did the wrapping paper hit the trash can were resolutions made to eat better and lose a few pounds in the coming year.
K-State Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says the average person gains one-to-three pounds over the holidays, so it’s really no surprise that losing weight is a common theme when making New Year’s resolutions.
“That’s not very much when you think about it calorie wise,” said Procter. “But if we don’t do something to take care of this year’s gain and last year’s gain, it just sort of continues to mount.”
A restaurant is probably the last place we want to be when we’re trying to control portion size and calories. However, by taking control and following the same rules as when we eat at home: choosing healthy foods, and not continuing to eat when we’re full, Procter says dining out doesn’t have to be intimidating.
“I try when I place an order to do that hard part up front…to substitute a side salad or an order of steamed vegetables instead of French fries,” she said. “Then I feel like I’ve been in control, I’ve made the decision, and I have just done something positive for my health.”
Setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 45 pounds in a year, often result in failure. Procter thinks we’ll have greater success by focusing on a few small, but realistic goals.
“You know, it can be as simple as, ‘I’m not going to go and shop at a grocery store without a list…I’m not going to eat out as many times in a week as I did last year.’
“Some of those things can make a difference,” Procter went on. “And they also will give you the feeling that, hey, I’m already doing something…I can increase this…I can do one more thing because I’ve been successful.”
Procter says the day-to-day decisions we make throughout the year will determine just how successful we are at reaching our goals.