Fit 5 On Friday: 5 Things NOT to do this Year!

January 3, 2014By 2 Comments

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Are you ready to change your life?  Become the person you always wanted to be? The BEST diabetic, the BEST person, employee, parent, spouse, etc.  You may think you are, but is that realistic?

One of the most basic, yet ignored pieces of advice I give any clients that I see or classes that I’ve taught on nutrition is to start off slow, with a few simple expectations and goals in mind so as not to overdo it and end up feeling defeated because you have set your expectations too high.  It is not necessarily a bad thing to want to be everything and make all the changes you can all at once, but it’s often one of the top reasons why people fail at improving on themselves.  It is just not humanly possible to succeed at making a million drastic changes, for the better, all at once.  The term ‘New Year’s Resolution’ should really be called ‘Just pick 3’.  If you can just pick three things to work on, or at least start out with just three, then your chances of being successful at sticking to those changes are much greater.

For me, this year, I’m keeping it simple.  I am always working on staying healthy, fit, keeping my weight in check and constantly trying to improve on myself as an individual.  These are vague yet measurable goals, based on my happiness meter.  If I am content and positive in my attitude, it will naturally flow into the way I treat my body and soul and that will reflect on how I respond to others.  The three main things I am working on for the first quarter (those of us who are in sales do everything in quarters), are to:

1-      Drink more water: When I was pregnant and nursing I drank double the recommended amount of 8 cups per day.  Not only was my skin in great condition, but I felt fuller and more energized.  The only downside of course is the frequent bathroom breaks.

2-      Check my blood sugar more often: Sounds simple, right?  For those of us that have the best intentions to do it, it is much more challenging than anyone else can understand.  When you are running back and forth from the kitchen, to the laundry room, to your computer, to the bathroom, to the car, etc, that one extra minute it takes to stop and check is one extra minute you’re not checking something off your to-do list.  That excuse is lame.  I had an A1c of 5.4 throughout my entire pregnancy…obviously without the distraction of a now 10 month old attached to my hip 24/7.  Now that my A1c has jumped up into the 7’s (hasn’t been there in years) I know it’s my fault completely…as I admit I only check my blood sugar about 3 times a day now (I was checking 12-15 times a day while I was pregnant).  WHAT!!!?? That’s pathetic Regina.  I can fix that, and it is my goal.

3-      Eat to fuel my body and my energy – without getting too specific, we can all admit that it’s easy to grab a few chips or candy laying around from the holidays when running out the door or to satisfy a little craving.  I watch how much effort I put into feeding my daughter a very balanced diet of fruit, veggies, and whole grains and not to mention the money I spend on all of this healthy food…and yet I’m not consuming any of it?  How silly!  I will make it an effort to munch on the berries or melon I have cut up in the fridge instead of going for that chocolate and too consume some of the lean proteins (beans and eggs) and whole grains (quinoa and whole grain breads) that I feed her on a daily basis.

While these are somewhat basic goals, they are more than enough for me to work on.  I am not betting my money that I will lose 20 pounds or get my A1c back to 5%.  I am just working on being better at the things I DO have control over.

Here are 5 things you SHOULD NOT do in order to be successful at the goals you have set for yourself this year:

  1. Don’t make unreasonable expectations.  Don’t promise yourself that you will pay off all your credit cards and save more without first analyzing your finances and determine what is realistic for you to accomplish without spreading yourself too thin.  That is just one example, but make sure your expectations can be accomplished without adding stress or costing too much for you financially or emotionally.  If you can’t afford a gym membership (and think that it may be wasted if you only end up going for 2 weeks and then getting lazy)  start off by working out at home, with friends or paying a one-time fee to take a yoga class to see if you really like it before signing any contracts!
  2. Don’t tell many people about your goals!  If you shout from the roof tops that this is the year you’re going to lose all that baby weight you gained 5 years ago or the year you are really going to quit going through the drive-thru at your favorite fast food restaurant… your setting yourself up for a bit of embarrassment.  It’s like when my husband catches me hiding in the pantry closet eating chocolate and I all of a sudden feel like I’m 9 years old again and I’m going to get that look from my mother when the 250 blood sugars pops up on my meter.  If you lose a bit of weight, and then fall of the wagon for a bit while you get a routine down, no one will be any wiser.  But if you go on a crash diet only to gain more weight then you had before, people will expect you to never be able to succeed and you will feel even more defeated.  Don’t do that to yourself! Share your goals only with supportive people; your spouse or maybe a good friend who will be joining you in your weight loss efforts.
  3. Don’t keep your goals trapped in your head!  Write everything down.  The more you document your successes and failures, the more you can learn from your mistakes and create objectives and timelines to follow to help you succeed.  Create simple lists with realistic dates of when you want to accomplish your goals and at least a couple of tactics you plan to deploy to reach those goals by the specific dates.  Many dietitians will have their clients sign ‘contracts’ to hold them to their healthy eating and weight goals.  While it may seem silly, people are more inclined to follow through with things when they feel they have made a binding agreement with themselves or with someone else who is holding them accountable….which brings me to my next point…
  4. Don’t hold others accountable for your failures: It is NOT your job, your bank account or your family stresses that are causing you to fail at your goals; it is YOUR reaction to those distractions.  We all have choices to make, and if you allow these things to constantly get in the way of taking care of the most important person in your life, yourself, then you will always have an excuse.  I promise that if you put yourself first, you will find that those stresses become much more manageable and get in the way a lot less.
  5. Finally, don’t deprive yourself!  One of the top reasons why crash dieters fail is because they take everything all away at once.  I was watching something on the news a few weeks back about a women who was in her 90’s who said she has lived that long by eating a piece of chocolate everyday.  Not a pound of chocolate, but a piece.  We all have the ability somewhere deep inside us for self control, and for some of us it’s just harder to find it.  But if you deprive yourself of the joys of life completely, then you will only feel like you have something you are missing out on.  Allow yourself a little fun in moderation.  The same goes for your diabetes as well, you can have your cake and eat it too, just check your blood sugar and bolus for it!

 

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Comments (2)

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  1. Beth Shapiro says:

    I’m not one for New Years resolutions but I do like the extra water…good idea. Small changes can make big differences!

  2. Veronica says:

    Regina, that was one of your best articles yet! You put things in perspective and made the goals so reachable.

    Thank you.

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