New Year and a New You! Make a resolution that can work for you

How often have you made a resolution to lose weight and get more active starting in the New Year and then give up after a few weeks? If your goals are too big and broad it can be hard to stick to a New Year’s Resolution. You are more likely to reach your goal if it’s small, realistic and measurable.

Below you’ll find ideas for easy changes you can make to your eating habits, physical activities and stress management. Begin with one or two of these “resolutions” to create a more balanced, healthier you.

Healthy Eating

1.  Add one or two vegetable or fruit servings to meals and snacks. Use this handy chart to help you keep track and aim for 7-10 half-cup servings each day.

2.  Switch to lower fat dairy products. Try 1% or skim milk or yogurt and pick reduced fat cheese with 20% MF (milk fat) or less.

3.  Have a meatless dinner once each week. Enjoy tofu, eggs or legumes instead of meat or poultry. Try Sweet Chili Tofu Stir-Fry.

4.  Get more fibre. Aim for 25-38 g per day. Many Canadians fall short of this valuable nutrient, which helps with keeping your bowels regular and helps manage cholesterol levels.

5.  Have breakfast each day. Try oats with milk and fruit, or whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana. Adults who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight.  

Physical Activity*

1.  Walk more! Walking improves mental health and reduces your risk of chronic disease. Walk your children to school, start a lunchtime walking club at work or take a family walk after dinner. 

2.  Instead of renting a movie, rent an exercise DVD or active video game. They’ll keep you off the couch and provide a fun, new way to stay fit.

3.  Get more active without joining a gym. Community centres, houses of worship, running clubs and local sports clubs may offer interesting activities for free or at a reduced cost.   Some activities to try are yoga, dodge ball, flag football, ultimate Frisbee, snowshoeing, floor hockey, hiking and badminton.

4.  Can you add a new type of activity to your routine? Canada’s Physical Activity Guide recommends doing a combination of endurance, strength and flexibility activities each week. Endurance exercises include walking, skiing, mowing the lawn, swimming and cycling; strength exercises include weights and resistance training; flexibility exercises include martial arts, yoga, Pilates and stretching. 

*Remember, if you’re new to physical activity, see your doctor or healthcare professional before getting started.

Stress Management

1.  Get enough sleep. Like eating well and staying fit, getting about eight hours a night is essential to our health and well-being.

2.  Help others. Volunteer, donate to charity or spend time with people in need. Some organizations that could use your help are the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. If you’d like to help educate members of your community about safe and nutritious food selection, preparation and storage, look for a Community Food Advisor program in your neighbourhood.

3.  Make time for friends and family. Being social is a great way to reduce stress, especially if you share problems and solutions from day-to-day life.

4.  Control stress through relaxation exercises. These can be as simple as deep breathing or stretching. Check your local community centre for a class in your neighbourhood.

5.  Take time for yourself each day – even if it’s only for a few minutes. Listen to music, read a book, soak in the tub or do anything else that brings you happiness.

Set and track your goals with EaTracker 

EaTracker is a free online tool created by Dietitians of Canada that makes it easy for you to track your eating habits and physical activity. It also has a My Goals tool to help you set and reach your goals.

With the My Goals Tool you can:

  • Choose from a list of ready-made goals or write one yourself.
  • Get weekly emails from EatRight Ontario with tips and motivational messages!
  • Log in weekly to track your progress.
  • Get support with your goals by talking to the dietitians at EatRight Ontario at 1-877-510-510-2.

Start today! Sign up for EaTracker yourself or call EatRight Ontario to get started. Best of all, it’s free!

You may also be interested in:

Your guide to setting healthy living goals

10 “SMART” physical activity goals 

Bottom line

Choose one or two goals that will fit in best with your day to day activities. Once you’ve achieved your first few goals, make some new ones! Each small step will help build a healthier you. 

Last Update – April 6, 2017

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