There are endless fad diets, new food products and potential improvements when it comes to food and nutrition but only one that will actually lead to success. Don’t spend another year suffering through vague desires like ‘I want to eat better’ or ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I’m giving up sugar!’ Those all-too-common, lofty, undefined and impersonal goals won’t get you any results and will leave you yo-yoing, frustrated and in the same spot next year as you are now.
This year, change things up to find success with food by making this resolution: I will learn to use food as a positive tool in my physical and mental well-being by making small, realistic improvements that work for my individual body’s needs and fitness goals. This statement encompasses what every one of us truly needs to focus on: using food in a way that enhances life and helps meet goals. It is a very involved statement, so let’s break it down a bit.
Learning what works for your needs means being more in touch with what you eat and how it affects your digestion, skin, mood and energy levels. Instead of buying into diet culture that comes with restrictive, harmful and ‘catch all’ type rules, experiment with finding your very own style of eating, whether it is gluten-free, paleo, intermittent fasting, vegan, or a mixture of all of them–just as long as it works for you. If you try eating a certain way and it makes you bloated, sluggish and unhappy, try something else! Listen to your body’s response to food, make adjustments and build on that progress throughout the year.
Of course, the goal isn’t to be strict all the time. It’s simply to recognize what practices will and will not help you reach your goals. We all occasionally choose the option that works against our plan and that is OK. Note the ‘why’ behind that choice and move on. Food is more than just fuel; it needs to play a positive role in how you live and feel, and that includes having a little fun, too.
Part of this resolution is to connect what works with your body to the fitness and lifestyle goals you have. Those trying to build muscle will have different nutrition needs than those trying to run their first 5K. Basically, if you’re a lifter, stop trying to eat like an IRONMAN! When you are choosing foods, check in with yourself and ask, “What are my goals and will this meal help get me there.” If you are struggling with how to eat for your goals, consult with an expert sports dietitian who can help.
This resolution will help you find what truly works for your body’s needs and focus on using food as a positive tool to reach your body, health and fitness goals. Try it out and you might have the most successful year of eating ever!