Losing weight in 2014

December 31, 2013 

Millions of Americans resolve to lose weight and commit to healthful eating at the beginning of each year, but many resolutions are notoriously broken. Why? Many registered dietitian nutritionists say that fad diets are partly to blame.

"It's tempting to focus on losing weight fast, which can lead many to turn to dangerous fads and crash diets," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Jessica Crandall. "However, research shows that slow, healthy weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes."

Crandall says that forgetting fad diets and getting back to the basics of moving more and eating smarter are your best bets for success in the New Year.

Be realistic, be specific.

"Planning to hit the gym for four hours every day or stick to a super restrictive fad diet is overwhelming for your body and mind," says Crandall. "Instead, choose smaller, healthy changes you can stick to over the long term."

One large goal can seem overwhelming. Instead, build a plan that works for your unique nutritional needs and lifestyle. Here are some challenging, reachable resolutions to consider:

Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.

Get active — fit in physical activity where you can in your day, whether taking a family walk after dinner or hitting the gym.

Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

Also, make sure the goals you set are measurable, so that you can easily review and track your progress, as well as reward yourself. Allow time to achieve each smaller goal so you are not discouraged if you haven't met them.

Build a support network

Enlist family and friends to try new healthy recipes with you or to be your workout buddy. Having a support network can help you overcome midnight snacking urges and encourage you to hit the gym in even the coldest of months.

"It's important to be sure to track your progress towards your health goals, and give yourself encouragement and solutions along the way," says Crandall.

This New Year, don't be disappointed. With a smart plan in place, you can make fitness and nutrition resolutions that are easier to keep.

For more tips on setting effective New Year's resolutions and to learn more about healthy weight loss, visit eatright.org/healthyweight.

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