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Dietitians Dish: Keep New Year resolutions simple

Jan. 3, 2011 at midnight
Updated Jan. 3, 2011 at 7:04 p.m.

Loretta Cordes

By Loretta Cordes

It is that time of year when everybody is thinking about New Year's resolutions. You may be disappointed that you gained a few pounds during the holiday season, or that you did not exercise like you wanted to during this busy time of year. Guilt and frustration are common feelings this time of year. Here are some basic tips to help you get started on improving your health:

Be specific. You may not be able to focus if you make your goals too broad.

Be realistic. Are you making resolutions that seem impossible to accomplish? For example, losing a large amount of weight quickly and exercising two hours every day may not be possible. If losing weight is one of your goals, think about losing 10 percent of your weight in the beginning. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Try losing a half-pound or a pound per week. Slow weight loss is important because it will be easier to keep off.

Do not forget about exercise. Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and help control weight. Find an exercise that you enjoy. If you are new to exercise, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Log your food intake. When you write it down, you are forced to be aware of how much you are eating. If you have to write down a piece of candy, you may not choose to eat it. A food journal can help prevent mindless eating. If you have a smart phone, try some of the applications where you can log your intake such as LoseIt or Sparkpeople.

Analyze your intake. Are you drinking your calories by drinking sodas, sports drinks and juice? Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Are you eating a lot of fried food? This can really add the calories to your intake. Are you including fruits and vegetables as part of your daily intake? Have an apple as a snack instead of a bag of chips. This will decrease your overall caloric intake. Are you eating out the majority of the time? Cooking at home can allow you to plan healthier meals by controlling the ingredients.

Get support from family and friends. This will improve your chances of being successful.

Have a happy, healthy New Year.

Loretta Cordes is a registered and licensed dietitian with a Master's of Science Degree in Human Sciences and Certified Diabetes Educator. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.

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