Conquering your New Years Resolution: Lose the Diet to Lose the Weight

01.11.2013 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

AP Photo

Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN; Washington Redskins Team Dietitian 

For the past couple weeks, we have been bombarded by the annual chit-chat concerning New Year resolutions.  What I found interesting this year, added to all the sobering statistics of how resolutions don’t work, is the fact that the amount of people making New Year resolutions in the first place is at an all-time low, suggesting people are “giving up” before they even begin.

I heard a reporter explain that the problem with New Year resolutions is they are too much like a diet but she did not expand on the comment, leaving me to speculate on how this statement rang true.  I concluded that it touches on the human nature of how making a resolution (or going on a diet) customarily involves an enormous change in a small amount of time with the expectations of immediate results (a recipe for disaster, in my experience).

Change to humans is a life stressor. According to Farlex Medical Dictionary, “the causes of stress can include any event or occurrence that a person considers a threat to his or her coping strategies or resources.” Many people use food as a coping strategy, so it makes sense that a diet would be considered a threat by means of taking away an important resource in our lives.

Add to this the fact that change involves the unknown, planning, preparing and sacrifice; all of which can be very overwhelming.  Throw a couple daily stressors into the mix and voilà! there goes our “diet” right down the drain. 

So what are we to do when we find we are carrying a bit of extra weight?  The answer is not to “go on a diet”.  The key is to accept that change is needed and work with it not against it. 

In my many, many years of working with athletes and non-athletes alike, I have discovered a series of steps that a person needs to obtain successful weight management for a lifetime.  I’d like us to use this off season to work through these steps so that we enter the 2013 season the fittest fans in the NFL! 

Step #1:  Assess where you are today.

To make changes we need to discover what changes need to be made.  The food log is your tool to discover the eating behavior you need to target.

Your very first step is to keep a 7 day food log.  Don’t change anything about your eating behavior this week, just record, non-judgmentally, everything you eat and drink for a full 7 days.  For detailed instructions on keeping a food logclick here.

Once we have a blue-print of our current eating habits and patterns we will be ready to begin transforming these behaviors into healthier habits, patterns and behaviors.  Check back for my next blog on making health enhancing modifications and finally achieve the healthy weight you have been looking for!

Make it a healthy week!


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