How to: Let your new diet plan wilt

Five Ways to Blow Your New Year’s Resolution 

Often, we associate New Year’s resolutions with drastic health or lifestyle changes that we feel determined to stick to in January – but weeks or months later, we burn out. Why? Because we try to bite off more than we can chew.

This week, we’ll share five common mistakes that lead to resolution burnout, and provide you with realistic tips that encourage long-term success.

“Just one more bite… My diet starts tomorrow.”

On New Year’s Eve, you might have enjoyed an extra helping of sausage balls because, like millions of others around the world, you resolved to eat healthier in 2013.

The next morning, you woke up ready to hit the health food store circuit – but not before ridding your refrigerator and pantry of anything processed, non-perishable or laden with saturated fats and sugar. (…Or salt. Or dairy.)

As you combed the aisles for nutrient-rich, fiber-packed oats to replace your usual sugary cereal, you shared a knowing nod with the shoppers around you and said to yourself, “This feels good.” A few hours and hundreds of dollars later, you’ve replenished your recently emptied fridge with all-natural, organic, wholesome eats and drinks from the best health foods stores in town.

And for the next two weeks, it does feel good – until the abundance of fresh produce you bought is not-so-fresh, and it’s time to replenish. You’re feeling good, sure. But your wallet is hurting. Nonetheless, you remain committed – and head to the grocery store for a fresh batch of resolution food. 

One month later, your bank account and your appetite are hungry and the thought of steaming fresh kale, beans and tofu for another  supper is starting lose its luster. That notion arrives just as the Wendy’s sign on the way home enters your view, and minutes later, the Junior Bacon Cheese combo you ordered has you saying to yourself, “This tastes good.”

“Everyone gets a cheat day,” you tell yourself that day – and the next, and the next… and the next hundred days or so. For the rest of the year, tasting good trumps feeling good – and your wallet agrees.

Resolution burnout strikes again.

How to: Eat healthier without starving your appetite or your wallet

Update – don’t overhaul – your diet

For many, healthy eating resolutions imply the need to detox, cleanse or completely overhaul one’s diet. But healthier long-term eating habits might start with a few simpler steps. Rather than wiping your entire cupboard clean, identify and clean out a few particularly unhealthy items you’re willing to forego moving forward (sodas are a good place to start). Then, introduce a few nutrient-rich staples in their place. You’ll begin to introduce your body and appetite to a more well-balanced diet, while allowing you to still enjoy foods you love. Pair new eating habits with an increase in physical activity, and you’ll feel even better.

Strike a budget- and portion-friendly balance

A healthier diet can also benefit from a change in routine: namely, where and how you eat. More cooking-in nights and fewer dining-out nights will not only save money, it’ll keep your waistline in check. And keeping a closer eye on your portion size both in and outside of the home means a dollar stretched – and an inch or two saved.

Happy eating!