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Appetite for Knowledge

New Year, New You

Some of the top ten New Year’s resolutions year after year are to lose weight, stay fit and healthy, and eat better. Of all the resolutions set, over 50% of them have to do with getting healthier and losing weight.

Falling Short

These are all admirable goals and while 45% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, only 8% of those actually achieve those goals, according to a study done by the University of Scranton. Part of the problem is the mindset that people have when going into the New Year.

Setting Realistic Goals

People make a huge list of things they want to change or set unrealistic goals. In this day and age, people are busy, stressed, and have too many competing priorities. They don’t have the time or energy to meet a huge life-changing goal, so they quickly become discouraged. Losing 100 pounds in six months, running a marathon when you spend most of your time parked on the couch, or never eating sugar ever again are often too big of changes for most people. They are good end goals but not reasonable when starting off from scratch. Usually, people find themselves failing too easily because their resolution was just too big. Break your resolutions down into small chunks that are easier to manage.

Is Your Resolution Measurable?

Many people fail because they don’t set measurable goals. Eating healthy and losing weight are great goals, yet how do you know when you have achieved those goals? Another great goal is to start going to the gym, but how many times a week or for how many minutes a day are you going to go to the gym? If the goal is not measurable, then how will you know if you are making progress towards achieving it?

Utilize Your Resources

Also, people don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions because they get busy and forget about them. When you are running to take kids to a practice, picking up the laundry, or any of the other one hundred things you do during your week, it is easy to forget about that goal you made January 1st. People who accomplish their New Year’s resolutions find ways to keep those resolutions at the forefront. Now days, your phone can remind you to go to the gym, keep a food diary, or log how many steps you took that day. As elementary as it sounds, make a chart and give yourself a sticker every day you work towards meeting your goal. Share your resolutions with friends and family that will cheer you on and keep you accountable. Do whatever it takes to show yourself you are making progress and keep that resolution in mind.

Eating healthier and losing weight are great New Year’s resolutions! There are many ways that you can set small, measurable goals to help you achieve these resolutions.

Cook Dinner More Often

One way is to eat at home more often. Homemade food gives you the opportunity to determine exactly what is going into your body. You can make healthy cooking substitutions and use healthier methods of cooking food. You also have greater control over your portion size.

Meal Plan

Plan your meals ahead. The key to eating healthy is not to give into unhealthy alternatives. When you had a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is go home and figure out what to have for dinner. Start using your slow cooker so dinner is ready when you get home. The Internet is full of healthy recipes that take little to no time to get ready in the morning. Additionally, create a weekly menu, do all your shopping over the weekend so you are ready to cook come Monday.

Check Yourself

Furthermore, keep track of what you are eating. Many people wonder why they can’t lose weight until they keep a food diary. They don’t realize exactly how many calories they are consuming in a day or a week. An average woman needs to eat about 2000 calories per day to maintain, and 1500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week. An average man needs 2500 calories to maintain, and 2000 to lose one pound of weight per week. These are just averages, but when you consider a fast food double cheeseburger, medium fries, and a medium pop has over 1000 calories; you could be way over your daily needed calories in no time at all! There are several food diary apps for your smart phone with databases of the nutritional information for almost all foods. They often have reminders set throughout the day so you don’t forget to input what you have been eating. However, if you are not tech savvy, a good old notebook can also do the trick.

Add Fruits and Veggies

Another way to eat healthier is to increase your fruit and veggie intake. The most simplified version of the USDA’s recommendation is to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal and each snack. For those desiring specific amounts, according to the USDA dietary guidelines, an adult consuming 2,000 calories per day should be eating 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit per day. According to the Center for Disease Control, only about one in every 10 Americans eats enough fruits and vegetables.

One Step at a Time

No matter what resolution you set, remember that when broken down into smaller measurable goals, they all are achievable. Take it a little bit at a time, have someone help you be accountable, and have faith, so you will soon be part of the 8% who keep their New Year’s resolutions!


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Extension Educators:
Shelley Balls – (307) 885-3132
Denise Smith – (307) 334-3534
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

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Extension Educators:
Shelley Balls – (307) 885-3132
Denise Smith – (307) 334-3534
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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