2022 Mindfulness over Resolutions

by Brittany Scanniello, RDN

It’s almost the New Year (goodbye 2021) and you are ready to hit the ground running! Maybe you are the New Years Resolution “type” maybe not, but what you do know is that you are ready to take control of your health. Finding the right health plan is not always an easy task. With so many different opinions and ads out there these days, what do you look for? How do you know a health plan is right for you?

The New Year is a great time to make a resolution for healthy living. Diet and weight loss goals are usually on top of most people's lists. However, turning to a fad weight loss diet program leaves many unfulfilled, unhappy and unchanged. This year, what about focusing on health and diet changes that promote and sustain a vibrant lifestyle ALL YEAR LONG! Food has the power to reduce risk of chronic disease – to promote a lifestyle where you are energized, happy, satisfied, and balanced. What you eat and put into your body is much more significant to your overall health than just the total inches of your waistline.

Each New Year, I ask my clients what their health goals are for the year. This is something we come back to session after session. One of the biggest take-aways I have had over the years, is the importance of ‘re-framing’ the mindset to a more positive light when sitting down to set that New Year Resolution. I work with my clients to focus on sustainable change and what that looks like for them. When they adapt and really embrace what sustainable change means to him or her, not only are we hitting their health goals, but there is also always an added bonus of calmness, contentment, happiness and overall well-being. Not all ‘resolutions’ are created equal...I have gathered some of my favorites over the years, and put them together to ease this aspect of your 2022 Kick Start:

I will start with my top 5 “Big Picture” Resolutions. Think of these as a mindset. Being mindful is a motto here at Supernola that we work to bring to our daily lives, to our products and to each one of you.

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1 – Aim for weight maintenance over the holidays

A simple shift in mindset around the holidays from weight loss to weight maintenance is not an easy one, but an important one. With holiday parties all around us, on average, the typical American gains between 1-2 pounds per year over the holidays. While this may not sound like much, research shows that those 1-2 pesky little pounds are rarely dropped after the holiday season, only adding to one’s constant feeling of needing to “diet”. In doing the math, over the course of just 5 holiday seasons that would translate to 10 unwanted pounds gained. I like to focus with my clients to use their time off around the holidays to engage in more movement and exercise throughout the day – include your family, your dog, your neighbor – whomever you would like!

2 - Be Mindful One Meal a Day

Research shows that when we are mindful and more focused at mealtimes, the total amount of food consumed is less. It can take our stomach 20 minutes to send signals to our brain that the body is feeling satisfied. This means to SLOW DOWN, enjoy your meal and the company around you. Turn off the television and/or other distractions such as your laptop and cellphone. Sit down while eating and put your fork down between bites. A few simple tricks go a long way when it comes to really being mindful at mealtimes.

3 – Include as many colors as possible in your diet

The typical “diet mentality” follows specific rules on what, when, and how much to eat. Often this is through deprivation or avoidance of certain food groups all together. Eating should be about nourishing our bodies, not depleting them. A simple way to fill up at mealtime without adding a ton of extra calories is by including more fruits and vegetables. Remember, the more color the better! Try to include a serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal – I like the simple challenge to my clients of “fill half of your plate with vegetables”.

4 - Find Balance and Moderation – Go for the Real Stuff!

Fueling our bodies for weight loss doesn’t mean that you only are allowed to eat salads. Including foods with fiber and protein helps keep your body satisfied throughout the day between meals. Incorporate whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread or pasta), lean or plant-based protein sources (chicken or turkey breast, fish, beans or lentils), and healthy omega-3 fats (flax, avocado, walnuts) as an opportunity to try new recipes or enjoy foods prepared in a new way. I like to tell my clients to “Think of what you CAN eat, instead of what you shouldn’t”.

5 - Understand the “Why”

This is referring to the “why am I eating” question. When you reach for a snack or treat, it's important to ask the simple question of “am I truly hungry?” If the answer is no, then what is your reason for eating? Are you bored, anxious, frustrated, or lonely? It is not uncommon to have our emotions make us feel that we are hungry, but if we can get at the real reason for eating, we can find new ways to manage our emotions without always reaching for the pantry or refrigerator. If you are truly hungry, please eat something to nourish yourself. If you are bored, call a friend or go for a walk. If you are anxious, write down your thoughts in a journal to work through the emotions you are having.

Remember, these are some of my all-time favorite big picture Resolutions to help bring about small sustainable change to my clients throughout the New Year. The goal here is to promote improvement, not perfection. In all of my years as a clinical and private practice Dietitian, I preach to my clients to “ditch the ‘all or nothing’ approach and focus on improvement not perfection.” Your eating doesn’t have to be perfect; it just must be better than what it was. The goal is to build healthy habits that will get you to better health.

Happy New Year and Happy Resolutions!

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