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By: Lisa Belanger, Director, Health Services

Question: According to Time magazine, what tops the list of the most commonly broken New Year’s Resolutions?

Answer: Lose weight and get fit.

I suspect that many readers knew the answer to this question without having to give it much thought because they have
had first-hand experience with this topic. Eating a healthier diet and being more active are worthy goals but sticking to
these broadly stated good intentions is simply not that easy. The American Dietetic Association has noted that most
people have unrealistic expectations when it comes to changing diet and exercise routines. Completely overhauling
what you eat and committing to a strict daily gym regimen is just too hard for most people to do successfully. The
reason for failure is often attributed to a lack of willpower but let’s look at that somewhat loaded word more closely.

Having the power to will yourself into overcoming an unhealthy pattern of behavior is often rooted in the notion of
“shoulds” and deprivation. It’s not only depressing but also tends to be counterproductive and a recipe for failure. It’s
much better to focus on a positive personalized goal such as “I would like to feel better and have more energy”. You are
also more likely to stick to a few, specific, more realistic strategies to move closer to that tailored-for-you goal. What
follows is a list of 10 possible examples –

I will:
1. Take the stairs whenever possible.
2. Drink water instead of sugary drinks and sodas.
3. Wear a Fitbit or pedometer to track and increase my daily steps.
4. Start my day with breakfast to fuel my body/brain.
5. Skip the “clean plate” club and start with smaller portions of food.
6. Ask for a carry-out box before beginning a restaurant meal allocating a portion for the next day’s lunch.
7. Commit to eating a high fiber food (fruit, vegetable, beans, whole grains) at each meal.
8. Eat in the company of people and not in the company of a screen (phone, TV, computer).
9. Drink 8 or more glasses of water per day.
10. Find a buddy or buddies with similar wellness goals to stay motivated and have fun at the same time.
This list is certainly not comprehensive. There are many other ways that you can introduce concrete steps to move
yourself closer to your goal. Be creative. Start with the things that you believe are the least difficult to implement. Once
you have mastered these smaller strategies, a sense of accomplishment might bolster your self-confidence and improve
the likelihood that you will add more strategies over time. Remember: Be kind (to yourself), be positive and be realistic!

Here are a few websites and apps to help you set started.
MaineHealth Let’s Go!
Maine CDC
Weightwatchers of Maine
Hannaford Healthy Living
My Fitness Pal
One Minute Desk Workout


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