The New Year is a great time to make fresh starts in many areas of our lives. One of the most popular resolutions is to improve one’s nutrition. The motivation for this may be to achieve weight loss or fitness goals. Both are great places to start, but in order for changes in your nutrition to stick, the motivation must come from somewhere deeper and long-term. Nutrition habits are hard to break but even harder to maintain. This is why understanding the positive long-term effects good nutrition has on your health will keep you motivated. In order for these changes to be long term, it’s crucial to start small and with purpose. The best way to do this is making SMART goals to get you started
For a goal to be SMART, it must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For example, if you are only eating two servings of fruits and vegetables a day, a goal for you might be to eat three servings a day and continually increase. Or maybe, if you eat out at least four times a week, start by trying to cut down to only three times. Setting goals is great, but it’s no secret that we are creatures of habit, and to drastically change our behaviors—especially when it comes to food—can be nearly impossible to sustain.
Completely understanding your nutrition is a lifelong process. One of the best ways to start understanding it better and to set a SMART goal is to try recording your food intake for a week or two. This will give you a baseline of what you need to work on. If you aren’t sure what you can improve on, I’m here to help! In a personalized nutrition consultation, I can break down steps to take to achieve your nutrition goals. You may be surprised how much you learn about your nutrition once you take some time to analyze it. For many of us, it is as simple as being mindful of our portion sizes. For others, it may be revamping our whole diet. Whichever category you fall into, remember to always start small. It is best to not say, “Starting January 1st, no more sugar for me!” A week later you might be regretting this when you get invited to another celebration and feel like you are cheating by having a treat. Start by not keeping sugary snacks and drinks in your house. Next, you may not have any trouble choosing the fresh fruit salad over the pecan pie. And remember, resolutions are always more fun with someone else. Have a friend or family member join you in improving your nutrition. This year, let’s all focus on making a lifelong resolution to do better with our nutrition rather than a one month stent.
Nicole Carlson, RD, LD
Live Your LifeTM
Bringing Physical Therapy & Wellness to You!
Nicole is a registered and licensed dietitian in the state of Minnesota. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and completed her accredited dietetic internship through Iowa State University.
Nicole has a passion for health, nutrition, and cooking. She enjoys experimenting with and sharing new recipes and cooking techniques with her clients. She is dedicated to educating her clients on how to be mindful of their habits and make healthy changes that will last a lifetime.
Nicole currently works in clinical and private practice settings where she gained experience with diabetes management, heart-healthy cooking, weight loss or weight maintenance, food allergies and sensitives, chronic kidney disease and heart failure.