One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthier. Here, Christine Clark, dietitian for Northeastern University Dining Services and University Health and Counseling Services, offers five strategies for improving your eating habits and overall health in 2014.
Decrease calorie intake: Even something as little as using low-fat milk instead of creamer in your coffee can make a difference over time. Replacing one 12-ounce can of regular soda with a glass of water each day would decrease your weekly calorie intake by up to 1,085 each week. This small change can make a substantial difference.
Exercise often: Find a workout you enjoy. If you start running but don’t like to run, you will likely not stick with it. There are great exercise classes available on campus at the Marino Center. Ask a friend to join you because the buddy system can help keep both of you motivated and on track to reach your goals.
Make healthier choices: Reasonable, simple changes can help you start eating healthier. You could begin by including a piece of fruit with your breakfast each day. Once you have accomplished this goal, set out to add a vegetable with dinner a few nights a week until you start eating veggies every night.
Develop a weight-loss plan: Determine how you plan to lose the weight. Watching portion control, cutting back on total calorie intake, or exercising more to burn off extra calories are all small steps that can help you reach your long-term goal. Using smaller plates and bowls is a great way to help you cut down your portion sizes.
Get support from family and friends: Share your goals with family and friends so they can offer encouragement and help you stay focused. A friend can also be an exercise buddy or someone to cook a healthy meal with. You may also consider meeting with the dietitian at UHCS to get even more support.
Trying to revamp your overall diet or begin an intense exercise program can be overwhelming. Creating a program with smaller and more attainable goals will give you a sense of accomplishment every few weeks, which will keep you motivated to reach your ultimate goal.